The new slogan for the Battle for the North Coast should be “expect nothing but the best.” That aspect is in part what draws me back each year to Rome, Ohio, for the Battle for the North Coast match at Crooked Creek Conservation Club. The fifth annual match took place on August 19 to 21 and was fantastic from the stages, to the range officers, to the staff and the awesome food.
Despite the ammunition and primer shortage, along with predicted rain for the weekend, the turnout was 186 shooters. The match consisted of short, medium and long stages, and also featured challenging props such as drop turners, swingers and a low barrel. Bretton Rebol starred as match director and Paul Hernandez as range master. Paul oversaw the training of a new Range Master candidate, Dan Click, who impressed me. While at work, he was all business. He took charge and wore his serious face. When he wasn’t on a stage, he managed to sneak in a smile or a few jokes about being short like me—we both prefer low ports and shooting through barrels.
Setup on Thursday was met with a torrential downpour as staff was stranded for about 30 minutes in a shed while lightning, rain and thunder played an unwanted song on the metal roof. When the rain ceased, staff hurried out to finish the last stage. I was impressed by how smoothly the match flowed despite the predicted rain. On Sunday, Bretton was ready for the rain and planned accordingly. While dodging rain and lightning, Bretton assisted with delivering the competitor and range officer lunches to each stage
Rain was not the only significant happening on Sunday. An unexpected act of natural forces caught everyone by surprise when a bullet from a shooter on Stage 6 hit a perfect yet unexpected bullseye: a bee’s nest. Shooters ran and bees swarmed. Bees were everywhere, and Canadian competitor Ricky Ma was stung five times. The shooting halted for a while as the irritated bees calmed down. Bretton came to the rescue armed with what appeared to be a blowtorch and a big mischievous grin on his face. I couldn’t quite see what he was doing, but it appeared he had gasoline and ignited the nest with a blowtorch—what bravery. I think the bee fry was the highlight of Bretton’s day.
Stage 1 (sponsored by Range Master Steel) was an unloaded start where all magazines came from a barrel. The stage was a 29-round course of fire with 12 IPSC targets, four poppers and two drop turners. The shooter stood inside the shooting area with toes touching a start stick. Upon the start signal, the shooter ran approximately six feet to a barrel where they retrieved their magazines and immediately encountered the first drop turner. Because the drop turner was disappearing and was not visible at rest, the shooter had the option to activate the steel and either attempt the drop turner or move on to the next target without fear of a penalty. The shooter then backed up to the left to activate the second drop turner which was also unavailable at rest. Again, the choice to engage the drop turner was at the discretion of the shooter. Finally, the shooter backed up once again on the left side to engage a double-stack target.
Stage 6 (sponsored by Glock and XS Sights) was a fun memory stage consisting of 27 rounds, 11 USPSA targets and five poppers. The shooter started outside the shooting area with toes touching a start stick. The shooter had the option of engaging the left or right side when stepping into the shooting area. On the left side, the shooter encountered long shots at two pieces of staggered steel poppers. On the right side, the shooter encountered three targets dressed in no-shoots. Back on the left side, the shooter had the option to engage the steel shortly after stepping into the shooting area or move straight forward to the fault line, engaging the steel and a semi-hidden target that could not be seen unless you were standing at the fault line. It was a long shot, but far easier for a right-handed shooter to engage at the fault line. The hidden target could also be engaged at another point in the stage with a hard lean to the left. As the stage proceeded, the shooter encountered double-stack targets through a port and an array of hidden targets and poppers.
Stage 7 (sponsored by Scheel Manufacturing) was an unloaded start with all ammunition coming from a barrel located approximately 12 feet downrange in the middle of the stage. The stage consisted of a 29-round course of fire with 14 IPSC targets and a popper. When retrieving the magazine, the shooter had several options—to shoot straight ahead at targets through a port, or take several steps to the left or right and engage targets on either side of the barrel. Most shooters did not take the straight-on approach of shooting through the port and instead shot the targets through the openings to left or right of the barrel. Once the targets downrange were engaged, the shooter backed up to shoot targets uprange that were hard leans either to the left or the right. The shots were tricky for a pistol-caliber carbine shooter, as the fault lines were close to the walls and difficult to navigate.
Stage 8 (sponsored by IWI and Hunters Gold) was my favorite stage of the match. This was a memory stage with a considerable amount of running. It was fun to make an array out of the hidden targets from certain spots on the stage while moving quickly to the next spot. At one point in the stage, the shooter was practically forced to run outside the fault line to save time.
Before I conclude, I must mention the impressive food presented by the culinary staff at the match. Chefs Patricia Rebol and Scott Stutzman did a magnificent job. For lunch on staff shooting day, there were sizzling sirloin steaks grilled to perfection accompanied by baked potatoes and broccoli. The next day, the pulled pork was a hit with shooters and staff. It was so tasty that you wanted more. On Sunday we had burgers—the best I’ve ever had. When I praised the burgers, Bretton ruined it for me by mentioning that the cows were mooing in the field the week before. I really didn’t need to hear that. I am sure you can tell that the shooters, along with staff and range officers, were well fed.
2022 BATTLE FOR THE NORTH COAST LEADERBOARD
- Patches Reeder
- Mike Weaver
- Ryan Zamberlan
- Joshua Cardenas
- Lane Nelson
- Scott Rader
- Evan Thursby
- Joseph Sauerland
- Joury Diana
- Caleb Smith
- Rameen Salehi
- Anthony Zabonik
Article from the November/December 2022 issue of USPSA’s magazine.