Yesterday I gave you the walk-through for the first five stages of the Croc Match, along with a representative photo of each stage.
Today, I want to finish the walkthrough. Later, I may be able to give you some of the background and color of the event, even though much of it may be of interest only to the people who actually attended.
(Don't say I didn't warn you that this was a don't-miss-it match. VileBill and Mr. Completely are already kicking themselves that they weren't there, and while I'm not going to give you the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V, if you missed it you will never be able to say "I was there". Maybe next year, eh?)
Stage 6 (Bay 5) Combat Rock
49 rounds, 21 IPSC, 5 PP, 2 plates ... 245 points. Course Designer: Shaun Hescock
Starting the stage with a grubby, slimey diddy-bag in front of you is never an auspicious start. In this case, dozens of grubby, slimey IPSC shooters have probably chosen to grip a flap of the bag (filled with bubble-wrap, not a weight issue) in their teeth in order to free their hands for shooting some significant portion of the first 24 rounds in this 49-round stage. (Yes, Virginia, some of the stages DID require less than 50 rounds to complete them . . . but not by much!)
Here, you had the opportunity to engage a forward-falling popper to activate a bobber, and if you were really fast you could also engage the backward-falling popper before engaging the moving target. You could even shoot at the first two IPSC targets visible from the start box, even though it provided no advantage for those who weren't limited by a ten-round magazine capacity restriction.
Eventually, though, you had to carry the bag downrange, and there were one or two 4-target arrays to be engaged while carrying the bag . . . depending upon whether you were able to get rid of the bag while shooting these two arrays.
While I was working as the Range Officer for part of my squad, Robbie (a 15-year old shooter from Red Bluff, California, who was there with his father Tim) came up to the line. He obviously planned to move downrange with the bag held in his teeth. I asked him: "Does it bother you that dozens of grubby, slimey IPSC shooters have probably run this stage with the grubby, slimy diddy bag in their teeth, and have doubtless slobbered all over it?"
Robbie replied: "No."
A man don't get no more eloquent than that.
Still, I offer in evidence the Grubby, Slimey Diddy Bag after four or five squads had had their way with it. The bag started out a uniform washed-out brown color. The black part is the flap where several dozen Gurbby, Slimey IPSC shooters had slobbered all over it as they held it in their mouth.
I wouldn't bite this bag. When I ran this stage, I held it delicately before me betwixt thumb and forefinger . . . and I washed my hands when I was finished with the stage. SWMBO, who was taking lots and lots of excellent photos, tells me that the Super Squad members didn't hold it in their mouth, either. Some of them even threw the bag from the starting position downrange to the brass-colored bucket where they were required to deposit it before engaging the last target array.
Maybe that's how they got to be on the Super Squad. Maybe it's a matter of Survival Instincts. All I know is, most of my squad took the . . . er . . . bag between their teeth and ran with it.
We were not the Super Squad.
Stage 7 (Bay 6 . . . The Pit) Goin' To The Grammy's
57 rounds, 26 IPSC, 3 USP, 2 plates ... 285 points. Course Designer: Bill Marrs
Bill Marrs designed this stage. Anonymous Geek-Blog handle: Barsoom (for reasons which should be obvious who ever read the "John Carter of Mars" novels of Edgar Rice Boroughs ... yes, the same EE Boroughs who wrote the TARZAN series of books. But I digress.)
I never liked the man. He has this EEEVIL streak in him, and once again his stage rose up and bit me in the buttocks.
Okay, so I do like Bill. It's just that I can't shoot a stage designed by him without driving home sitting on one ham.
This one was no different.
Starting out sitting in a "Limo", there is one IPSC target (Hardcover on both sides, naturally, at 50 feet distance) and an 8" plate below it, which can ONLY be engaged by leaning far out of the window of the "Limo". Wouldn't you know it, when/if you hit the plate, it pops up a target.
Wouldn't you know it, the target is a No-shoot. I don't have the numbers to tell you how many people were fooled by this little Barsoom-gambit. I don't think many were sucked into shooting the no-shoot. Still, it gives you a creepy feeling to hit a plate and pop up a no-shoot. From that point on, you just KNOW that the stage designer has been plotting for months to screw you over.
(John Weil, "Big Dog", is shown here engaging targets through the window of the 'Limo'. Click on the picture to see a hi-res version which actually shows the targets very well.)
Ha ha, Barsoom ... I didn't shoot the No-Shoot! (Well, I may have shot AT it, but if I did, I missed it. Did I mention it was a long distance from the awkward shooting position in the Limo?)
After you shoot (or don't) those targets, there are a lot of other targets you can shoot from that awkward position. However, if you merely climb OUT of the Limo, you find that you can get a lot closer to the targets and shoot them in a more comfortable position. Just another way that Barsoom provides entertainment to the spectators, as they watch you (the shooter) hanging half out of a 'Limo' window to take long-distance shots at targets that would be easier engaged elsewhere.
As soon as you climb out of the 'Limo' ( a cramped, confined prop), you get to shoot four really close targets. This is where I got my single miss on this stage . . . it was one of four IPSC targets about four feet from the muzzle, and I got a Delta-Mike on it. Maybe I lost the dot in the sun, maybe I was a little excited.
There were plenty of targets to run past.
The shooter is Luke Britain, in a typical pose where he is grabbing another magazine. Luke showed up with only six 10-round magazines, and ran out of ammunition on at least two stages. He's a good shooter, but when the round-count on a stage is way above the 50-round mark and you have a series of 8-round (minimum) target arrays, and some of those targets are awfully small and awfully far away, it's obvious in retrospect that you need to be packing serious bullet-weight on your belt to get through these high-round-count stages.l
Luke will be back next year, with several more magazines. Luke was talking to me on the last stage (see below) about the Croc Match. He said: "People have been telling me about the Croc Match. They say 'Oh, yeah, the CROC MATCH! I'm going to be there for sure!' I never understood what they were talking about until now. Sure, I wish I had had more magazines, but I don't really care. It's a fun match, you can shoot until you run out of ammunition, and I've never SEEN so many targets all together in one stage before."
Well, actually, you didn't really run past the targets so much as run past the very narrow window through where you could engage them . . . bounded by vision barriers which were built of snow-fencing. They wouldn't let you engage them from close distances, but you could still see them sitting there, mocking you through the snow fencing, which was declared hard-cover/impermeable. We have a technical term for this shooting situation. We call it "Nanny Nanny Boo-Boo, you've just screwed yourself!"
Big Dog has The Perfect Squelch . . . on the back of his shirt.
Stage 8 (The Croc Bay) Graffiti Bridge
54 rounds, 24 IPSC, 6 plates ... 270 points. Course Designer: Trevor Ott
Now, I use to like Trevor. He's a young man, a school teacher (we should honor our teachers), and I don't at all mind that he's a sandbagging son-of-a-gun because as soon as he starts winning in a class . . . he changes division. Always looking for the challenge, Our Trevor, and he certainly presents a challenge on this stage.
This stage was sited katty-wampus on an L-shaped bay. There was a 'bridge' that defined the 180-line, which was actually at a forty-five degree angle to what you might usually consider the perpendicular to the A-line of the bay. The result was an Oregon Vortex, where each shooter experienced more or less confusion about just where he or she was, depending upon how locked in they were mentally to the conventional way of thinking.
I'm a little un-locked, so this was my best stage of the match.
There were two four-target arrays on either side of the Bridge, and you could start on either side. After dumping the 16-rounds (or more) on the relatively close targets, you get to step UP onto the Bridge and walk its parlous planks as you engaged to more close-range 8-round arrays of IPSC targets, and also a 6-plate rack sitting much farther away. It was a classic stage of speed up / slow down / speed up again. Competitors who got carried away on the speed-up portions of the stage couldn't slow down for the more difficult plate targets. Those who got too deeply into the slow-down plates, didn't speed up again for the hoser-arrays (the other two 4-IPSC-target arrays on the other side.)
In this stage, experience counts. Knowing when to minimize your losses counts. Being able to hose the close targets, and still be an accurate shooter when engaging the plate rack in the middle of the stage . . . was critical.
What a RUSH!
The whole darned match was just one gigantic extended adrenallin rush after another, and after two days pushing the Hormone Hosermatch the was nobody who didn't want to do the whole thing over, and nobody had the energy left to actually shoot another stage.
Well, maybe SOMEBODY did, but certainly none of them were Super Seniors!
December 8, 2005
Photos and Videos (!) from this match are now available at Jerry the Geek's Shooting Gallery.