Metallic Sights Phase of competition ends in flurry of rain, lightening and birds in Ohio
Port Clinton, Ohio - I should have known better.
For as soon as you start talking about weather at Camp Perry is when weather rears it's ugly head. And it's been appearing like madman over the past few hours. Lightening, thunder, and rain coming down in barrels full of buckets. Scattering to shelters, tarps, cars, and vans was every form of life from birds to insects to humans.
Luckily, the fireflies, gnats, dragon flies and bees that shared my shelter (a Highlander with the back flipped open) were so happy to be out of the rain that they kept to themselves.
But what punched the brakes of the final relay in the Metallic Sights portion of NRA's Smallbore 3-Position Rifle Championships was the lightening.
"When we see a lightening strike, we ask competitors, spectators and our fellow officials to evacuate the range," explained Robert, a referee from the northeast. "There's a lot of metal out here."
Though there was some concern by the crowds, what cleared the area was not the fear of Zues' mighty electric thunderbolts ... it was the rain. Rain so hard that tarps fell, tents waned and roofs echoed like rifle shots. High caliber rifle shots. Either way, the round was put on hold before most could call it day.
"Luckily I finished my run before the cease fire was called," said 2012 Smallbore 3-Position champ Tarl Kempley. "I could see the clouds rolling in and started shooting a little faster so I wouldn't break up the relay."
Most, however, were not so lucky. More than half the crowd returned to the firing line once the weather gave way. With soggy targets and a ground filled with puddles, they found their kneeling position for a second time, aimed, and fired. Puddles down range puffed and rippled as the smallbore shot traveled from the barrel to the target to the ground. Call it a double tap.
Dropping their jackets, rolling their pads and grabbing their guns, shooters left the line in a one by one fashion. Refreshed by the recent rain, smiling to their friends and dodging the newly formed puddles on the way home. Day One is complete. All that's left are the scores.
NRA National Smallbore 3-Position Rifle
Metallic Sights Championship