"The first time that Charlie Daniels competed at Camp Perry was in 1968 when he was a shooter in the National Pistol Championships. Now in 2008, Charlie arrived at Camp Perry to compete in the Smallbore Rifle 3-Position Metallic Sight Championship of the National Rifle Association National Rifle and Pistol Championships. "It's a lifetime sport," said Daniels, who has been a competitor for about 51 years."
That pretty much says it all. Competing at, or even visiting, Camp Perry for the annual National Matches is something everyone involved in the shooting sports must do at least once in their lives. Several bloggers I know have been there in past years. Some made their first trek this year.
It is an event where men and women, and civilians and active-duty military service people, compete side by side in any number of matches -- smallbore, pistol, air rifle, high-power, etc. Where teenagers and elderly men freely mingle, sharing ideas, shooting tips, and more. Where the lessons and knowledge of experience are passed on to youth. And occasionally, some youthful ideas open the eyes of veteran competitors. Where more often than you realize, the teenage girl will fire better scores under the grueling sun, or on a windswept day . . . better than men who have been traveling to Camp Perry for decades.
I have many times been asked "why competitive shooting." What fun can it be? When I note that it is no different than the sport of golf, where you truly compete against yourself and then compare scores with others at the end, there is enlightenment. And it is a safe sport. More people are injured, or worse, each year playing soccer and football than participating in competitive shooting matches.
The 2008 National Matches, at Camp Perry on the shores of Lake Erie, kicked off 22 days ago. There is still time to visit and watch a sport unlike any other.
29 July 2008
Posted by Brent Greer at 5:57 AM