(I’m catching up on a few old posts. This post originally appeared at Tarheel3gun.com in April.)
For the fourth year running, what has arguably become the East Coast’s most popular 3-gun match went off without a hitch. The 2015 Bushmaster Tarheel 3-Gun Challenge was held at Woody’s Hunt and Rifle Club in New Hill, NC from 15-19 April. Historically just a two-day match, the original Saturday/Sunday schedule sold out so quickly that the Tarheel crew opened up a Thursday/Friday option to accommodate all 320 shooters who signed up. It was another solid event presented by Tarheel 3-Gun.
The Tarheel 3-Gun Challenge has been hosted at Woody’s since 2012, but this year competitors really saw the difference a bulldozer can make. Range owner Damon Woodall has spent countless hours (and money!) into expanding the existing Woody’s facility into something even better. Competitors used a new range entrance to access the facility, and their first stop along the way was a brand new zero bay with berms from 100 to 400 yards. This was a convenient way for competitors to confirm that TSA hadn’t man-handled their gun cases too much and ensure everything was in working order. One of the stages was located in a newly constructed 50-yard bay that added a bit of “hose it down” flavor to the otherwise natural terrain match. I’m excited to see what Woody’s will have become by the time next year’s Challenge rolls around!
Even prior to getting to the range, the Tarheel 3-Gun staff made it easy on the competitor. Match registration, payment, and squadding were entirely online, making it simple for you to track your details and squad up with friends. Match updates were also centrally located on one page on the Tarheel website, which meant that your inbox wasn’t cluttered with information in disparate emails. Simple is good. So is not having to mail a check, because let’s face it, I never have a stamp when I need one!
An interesting twist on the weekend was the return of more outlaw-style stages, a distinct reversal on the recent sport-wide trend toward shorter, faster courses of fire. At this match, rifle targets ranged from 50 to 400+ yards, and were not in short supply. The targets were well backed, making them easy for competitors to spot, but I found that hitting them wasn’t nearly as easy as seeing them! Additionally, flying clays, buckshot targets, and more slug shots than you could count challenged the full range of a competitor’s shotgun skills. The Tarheel 3-Gun Challenge certainly lived up to its name.
Sponsor support for this match was headlined by Bushmaster and its sister companies, Remington and DPMS. DPMS hosted a side match and showed up in full force with their very large semi-trailer showroom. Support from Tarheel 3-Gun’s season-long sponsors, including Benelli, Leupold, Vortex, Lancer, and TRU-SPEC was evident at the generous prize table.
If I had one gripe about the match, it would be that it rained. Again. It seems like it didn’t matter what schedule you were on, you were going to get wet. Word from the ROs was that they shot the majority of their match in a downpour on Wednesday. The Thursday/Friday crew had rain on Thursday. The Saturday/Sunday crew had a steady, soaking rain all Sunday afternoon. This is starting to become a trend a Tarheel 3-Gun events – every single major match since last season that Charles Sole has directed, there has been rain. Lots of rain. The good news is that Charles and the Tarheel crew are pros at this by now, and have mastered the art of making sure stage conditions remain safe and fair for all competitors in spite of the unfavorable weather conditions. Now if only they could master the art of dry weather…
All told, the Bushmaster Tarheel 3-Gun Challenging was another distinct success by the Tarheel 3-Gun team – even in spite of the raindrops. Many thanks to all the sponsors, staff, and ROs who put so much effort into this event. I’m already looking forward to next year!