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Thread: World Muzzle-Loading Championships - Updated

  1. #1
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    World Muzzle-Loading Championships - Updated

    2010 World Muzzle-Loading Championships – Getting There is (Not) Half the Fun

    Braga, Portugal, 15 August 2010

    The U.S. Team has arrived in Portugal for the World Muzzle-Loading Championships.
    We left Newark, NJ, Thursday night. Checking in was not too much of a problem. We answered the usual questions. The TSA rep inspecting the guns was not terribly freaked OR weirded out…which is pretty good going, considering that we were bringing flintlock and matchlock arms.
    The flight over was not TOO bad…for a commercial airliner. We flew TAP, the Portuguese national airline. About a 6.5 hour flight, as we had a good tailwind. I just hope we don’t have to buck it on the way back.
    We arrived at Porto Friday morning. Porto is about 200 miles north of Lisbon, about three-quarters of the way up the country, and is right on the ocean. We didn’t get over land until we turned on long final for the airfield. Not a terribly big airport, either.
    Clearing Customs was not overwhelmingly difficult. They did check our paperwork, and all the guns, but not all the serial numbers. It could have been much worse.
    The Canadian team, which arrived earlier in the week, had a horrible time. The Portuguese have very restrictive firearms laws, and wanted to charge a deposit of €150 for each gun – to make sure that any firearms brought into the country went back out. I’m told the organizing committee chairman had to be contacted and signed his shooting federation up to cover any fees.
    After getting our hardware through Customs, we boarded a coach for our hotel. The country here is rather pretty, very reminiscent of Southern California except that it is greener. And, of course, everything is smaller. Europe is like that – a ¾ sized world that takes getting used to.
    One thing that I noticed on the way in (but was unable to photograph) was a billboard advertising the match. Apparently, the World Championships will be a Pretty Big Deal around here. We’ll see.
    The U.S. and Canadian teams are staying at the Comfort Inn in Braga, about 10 miles from the range. We checked into the hotel (complete with 2-person elevator) around 1300 Friday. Most of us took a 3-4 hour nap at that point, having been on the go for 24+ hours.
    Saturday was spent getting acclimated to the local conditions. Weather is running hot but dry, with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. It’s bearable if you stay in the shade. We located a small supermarket and the local equivalent of a Dollar Store within short walking distance. Don’t laugh…we all need munchies, and some of us prefer to pick up cleaning supplies like soap on the local economy instead of packing it.
    The food so far has been good and inexpensive. You can get a decent meal for $15 or less, a far cry from the trip I took to Vienna last November. Gorgeous city, but expensive.
    Language has not been as much of a problem as I had feared. Many of the local people speak some English, and most of us are equipped with Portuguese phrase books. We manage.
    Sunday we got our powder and a first look at the range. It’s a nice facility, recently expanded – apparently for this event. I’ll try to get photos up.
    The range was supposed to be open and guns inspected at 1000, but this slid to 1500…so a lot of us figured that it just wasn’t worth it to try to get the guns through inspection and do some practicing at that hour.
    Which brings this up to date. We will go back out to the range tomorrow morning and start the formal practice/training sessions. Updates will be less frequent than I would like, as I’m having to pay through the nose for WiFi time. Hopefully I can find a free wireless hot-spot near the range.
    Support the USIMLT! Help your fellow Skirmishers go for the gold! www.usimlt.com

  2. #2
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    Re: World Muzzle-Loading Championships First Report

    World Championships Part 2 – Home on the Range

    Fervenca, Portugal, 18 August

    We’ve spent the last two days practicing at the range in Fervenca, Portugal.
    The range is owned by a gentleman who owns a construction company, and is quite wealthy. He built himself a range – and while it’s in his backyard, it’s a lot bigger than the usual backyard range. As in 30+ firing points at 25, 50, and 100 meters – each. A dedicated air pistol range. Plus shotgun fields. And a clubhouse with it’s own restaurant. He had to organize a club just to help run the blasted thing. I didn’t see Olympic Rapid Fire bays, but the target setup is big enough to handle them. A truly beautiful establishment.
    The only problem has been the light – the targets on the pistol range are under a shaded cover, which means that they do not get a lot of light. If you are accustomed to shooting against a bright target, as many of us are, it can be quite hard to see the sights.
    Practice scores have been only fair…the light is an issue, as well as the jet lag.
    Opening ceremonies were held in the town center of Barcelos. This was a lot like Lucca, Italy, in 2002…we were marched through the town center to the opening ceremonies. In 90 degrees of heat both times. There were a few spectators, but I don’t think this sort of opening is a good idea. It boils too many points out of the team.

    World Championships Part 3 – First 2 Days of Competition

    Fervenca, Portugal, 20 August

    The results from the first two days of competition are in, and they are rather disappointing.
    The good news is that Tim Thorne took Bronze in the original division of the Pennsylvania offhand flintlock rifle event. Our team took Silver in the Pauly team rifle match. And I managed to eke out a 7th place finish in the Mariette repro percussion revolver match…which, in a field of 144 competitors, is nothing to sneeze at.
    On the other hand, there were a lot of problems. My own scores were very disappointing. The whole team has had problems. These matches are very difficult. Not only do we have to fight off jet lag, but a typical day looks like this:
    0600: Wake up
    0700: Breakfast
    0730: Board bus for range
    0800: Arrive at range
    0900: Start shooting
    1400: Lunch
    1730: Finish shooting
    1900: Start award ceremonies
    2100: Finish award ceremonies
    2110: Board bus
    2140: Arrive back at hotel.

    It’s a fourteen-hour day…plus whatever time you spend cleaning guns, measuring charges for the next day’s shooting, and maybe even getting some food before you go to sleep. It takes a toll on your shooting.
    Support the USIMLT! Help your fellow Skirmishers go for the gold! www.usimlt.com

  3. #3
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    Re: World Muzzle-Loading Championships First Report

    World Championships Part 4 - Headed for Home

    Fervenca, Portugal, 22 August

    Well, the 24th World Championships are over, and things took a considerable turn for the better with the third day’s results.
    The U.S. Team took 3rd in the Grand Prix de Versailles, the combined smoothbore and rifle-musket aggregate. Quite a feat, considering the powerful European teams.
    But the real outstanding performances were turned in by the ladies. Shannon Boyce lost gold in the replica division of the Whitworth 100m prone percussion rifle match by a scant millimeter – but a “mere” 99 in Whitworth is quite a feat.
    Betty Peloquin did a bit better in the original division of the Walkyrie ladies’ match – she won it outright, providing the United States with it’s only gold medal of the World Championships.
    Overall, it’s been a challenging match. The German team was still powerful – but the French have put together a shooting program to match it, and even better it in some disciplines. French, Spanish, British, and Czech pistol shooters are setting the standards, not the Germans.
    The overall U.S. team performance was only fair. The economy prevented some of our best shooters from participating. Unlike some other countries, which receive large subsidies from their governments and national shooting federations, the U.S. team pays its own bills…which is why we so desperately need to raise funds. There are shooters in the United States who OUGHT to be here, but can’t afford to pay $3,000 or more to make the trip. So we keep listening to other country’s national anthems at the awards ceremonies. Instead of our own. It’s frustrating.
    I’ll try to get photos up on the U.S. Team Facebook page. More when I get back to the USA Monday.
    Support the USIMLT! Help your fellow Skirmishers go for the gold! www.usimlt.com

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