This was my first Bianchi Cup since I retired after 32 years in law enforcement. So, I was finally able to get some practice in prior to my trip to Columbia, Missouri, which has been a normal ritual my entire career. In April I won the Crawfish Cup regional match, which is held in Lake Charles, Louisiana, every year prior to the Bianchi Cup. While celebrating the win, I was informed that for the past three years, the winner of the Crawfish Cup had gone on to win the Bianchi Cup the same year. So who am I to break a tradition?
After I left the Crawfish Cup, I did some gun work, booked a flight and flew to Columbia for four days to experiment with my alterations. I got in good-quality practice, and concentrated on my techniques. I flew back home for about 10 days then made the 17-hour drive back to Columbia, the Wednesday before the match. I arrived on Thursday and stopped at friend’s house to pick up some supplies I cache, and then met a group of shooters from New Zealand who had just arrived as well. My normal practice continued until Tuesday when I shot an amazing 1910 with my Metallic gun for the Aggregate match.
Later that day I was given a hug by an old friend I hadn’t seen since last year and she worriedly told me I was “burning up.” At the time I felt fine but sure as could be, that night I couldn't get enough blankets on me. I was sick. I woke up on match morning feeling terrible, and the weather, torrential downpour and cold temperatures, mimicked my ill state. I would consider those not ideal conditions but that didn’t matter, it was time to go to work. I geared up and reported for the Practical Event. Like everyone else that day, I shot in the rain. For whatever reason, for the first time in my 28 years at the Bianchi Cup, my concentration lapsed on the second string of fire and I failed to shoot the correct number of shots, losing 20 points four shots into the match. What a heartbreak for me after having such great practice sessions.
After that I found it very difficult to maintain concentration, but I did my best. I normally place my gun on the ground when going prone but due to the standing water and I couldn't risk putting my gun on top of the gravel that was beneath the water. Nothing went well that day.
Thankfully, the weather cleared on day two and I was able to take a victory in the Falling Plate event, topping the field with a 480-101X. Additionally, my 1910 Metallic score was high enough to garner me second place in the Multi-Gun Aggregate Match.
I set high expectations for myself, so while I should be grateful for these victories, I walked away disappointed. I wanted to not only win the Bianchi Cup, but achieve my ultimate goal of scoring a 1920 with my Metallic and a 1920-192X shooting my Open gun. It's been done in practice. It's just a matter of doing it again in Columbia, Missouri, at the MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup.