Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Max Michel Website, and Travis Tomasie

I've just discovered that Max Michel has a website.

Among other things, he features a Store, and a Forum.

He's apparently partnered with Travis Tomasie to form a training venture, and you can address questions directly to either Max or Travis on the forum.

I've seen both of them shoot, and they're incredibly gifted shooters. Or "shootists", if you will. But I've never actually met Max.

However, because Travis is from the Pacific North Wet I've been pleased to meet him several times and actually get to know him, a little.

The first time I met Travis was 1997 at a night match at an indoor range in Bellingham,Washington ... I believe the name was something like WSI although I'm not sure about this. The manager was Tim Bacus, and he put on a great indoor match which included at least one "dark" stage. This was the weekend when I met Bumstead for the first time, and he had scheduled us to shoot the WSI match and the next day (Sunday) we would shoot an IPSC match at Marysville Rifle Club.

As I stepped up to the line for the 'dark' stage at WSI, a smooth-faced young man holding a timer stepped up beside me and said: "I'm Travis, and I'll be your RO". What could I say except: "I'm Jerry, and I'll be the shooter". Travis conducted himself like a gentleman (although he couldn't have been more than 17 or 18, tops) and when it came his turn to shoot the stage he SMOKED it! Travis was there with his father, Squire. I had watched Squire shoot the stage, and he was fast, but Travis was FAST. IIRC, Squire won the stage that night because Travis had some accuracy problems ... but he could miss faster than anyone I had ever seen.

He has since corrected that problem, and almost every other shooting problem, to become one of the best IPSC competitors in the country.

In fact, Travis held a 'clinic' in Oregon a couple of years later (must have been about 3 years ago) which I attended. He taught me things about competitive shooting that had never occurred to me.

Some of the lessons he taught were:
* give up some 'split time' and emphasize 'index time';
* When and how to reload;
* moving into a new shooting position;
* moving out of a shooting position;
* shooting on the move;
* how and why to be 'relaxed' when you start a stage;
* some basic practice techniques.

The next year, Travis and Squire showed up at the Croc Dundee "Banzaii Ballistic" match in Oregon, and I was squadded with him. We were on a stage which featured some very difficult targets. I recall taking one very difficult 3-target array on the move, and missing every target. One of the very best grandmasters in the Club came charging up to me after the stage was scored, and roared at me "WHAT the HELL were you thinking there? Why did you try to shoot an move? Even Travis didn't try to shoot those targets on the move, what the hell made you think you could get away with it???"

I learned a lot about competitive shooting that day. Mostly, I learned humility.

Last year I saw Travis at a local Oregon match, just before he reported to the Army. We talked about his career and about his anticipated tenure as a member of the Army Shooting Team. He was very excited and honored about the opportunity, and looking forward to shooting with some of the best shooters in the country.

He has done a fine job of carrying his weight.

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