View Full Version : World FITASC - One Man's Review (DAY FOUR POSTED)

08-20-2012, 12:56 PM
First consider the source. I'm a middle aged guy that's smack dab in the middle of "B" Class. I've been to numerous clubs, and shot numerous tournaments, but I've never attended a World Event of any kind. In fact the only time I've ever shot outside the USA was when I was in (BW) Arkansas.

When I heard Northbrook was going to hold the 2012 World FITASC Championship, I immediately made my reservations. There was no way I was going to miss a World Championship just outside of my home town (Chicago).

Even though I haven't lived there in over 30 years, I still have friends and family there, and I'm back there all the time. I've watched Northbrook grow from primarily a trap & skeet club with one sporting clays course, to the world-class venue it is today.

Day one (for me), Wednesday.

I arrived at the club at 3:00pm. Everyone had told me that registration was a nightmare, so I thought I'd get that out of the way first. I found the registration hut, and walked in to find Lois Lessing and Casey Chase behind the tables. There were two guys in front of me, but I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Registration wasn't so bad, (or so I thought). Lois & Casey know what they're doing.

Next up on the list, get a cold beer, hook up with some friends, and get a seat for the Opening Ceremonies. I had arranged to meet up with a couple of Aussie's. We had traded emails, and when I found out they were staying at the same hotel I was, I offered to drive everyday so they wouldn't need a rental car. The only problem was, I didn't know what they looked like.

When my cell phone rang I figured it was one of them. It was Prosper, and he was in the beer tent. When I found him he had an ear to ear grin, and a beer in each hand. Little did I know these Aussie blokes are world class drinkers, and this scene would be repeated over and over the next few days.

The Opening Ceremony was incredible. There must have been 30 different countries represented, all marching in under their nation's flags. It really is an amazing sight to see so many of the world's top shooters in one place.

Afterwards there were some announcements, then it was right back to the beer tent with "me new mates".

As smooth as Sporting registration was, FITASC wasn't. First you need your shooter number. I already had my shooter number, No, not that shooter number, your FITASC shooter number. Where do I get that? It's up on the boards. Then you find the corresponding table, and then you get your packet. Then you find your squad number, next you "try" to find it somewhere on eight pages of info, then draw a line horizontally to get your start times, draw a line vertically to get your parcours, divide by the year your grandmother was born, and you've got your schedule for the next four days. It's a good thing Northbrook had an open bar while this was going on. I think we had dinner that night, but I had so much to drink I couldn't even begin to guess where.

Day two, Thursday.

We arrived at the club at 7:30am to thunder, lightning, and torrential rain. To quote Jackie Stewart (the Scottish racecar driver) T'was a pissin' rain.

Northbrook delayed the start by one hour, which was a good call. By now the rain had stopped, and I was off to shoot sporting. I mistakenly thought shooting only 50 birds a day wouldn't be enough, so I signed up for both the Exchange Sporting event and the World FITASC event. That meant 66 sporting birds in the morning and 50 FITASC birds in the afternoon.

But I'm a sporting clays shooter, certainly I would do better on Sporting then I would in FITASC. Welcome to the White course. What have I gotten myself into?

After lunch I shot FITASC. I had the privilege of shooting with Jon Porter (a local top gun), John Moskal (representing Poland), Rebecka Bergkvist (representing Sweden), Martina Maruzzo (representing Italy), and Don Dutson (another American, that claimed he was injured and not that good, but somehow managed to turn in some impressive numbers). Everybody was very nice and helpful, and I'm glad I was squadded with them. They really made the whole weekend very enjoyable.

We started on the Beretta parcour, The 80 yard midi coming off the tower was crazy, as was the 50 yard rabbit. I shot a 13. Welcome to World FITASC. The White course was a piece of cake compared to this. To say Beretta was stiff was an understatement. It was like Chinese arithmetic in the dark.

Next up was the Remington parcour, it was a little more reasonable, but somehow I only managed a 12. I was so shell-shocked from the white course and Beretta, I gave up way too many birds.

When it was finally over I headed back to the beer tent, because that's where the Aussie's (always) are. It was 4:30 and Haydn was already there, but Prosper was nowhere to be found. We waited and waited (and drank and drank) and finally at 7:30 Prosper showed up. His squad had been delayed due to the rain and a machine malfunction.

He walked up and was non to happy about shooting his last parcour in the dark. I said, "You look like crap", and he replied, "me eyes feel like two piss-holes in the sand". And it was right back into the beer tent.

When we finally left, we had been there for over 13 hours (at the range, not the beer tent).

More to come...

08-20-2012, 1:04 PM
Day three, Friday.

Now the schedule was reversed, FITASC in the morning, and sporting in the afternoon. The fact that Friday was sunny and 75 was a blessing. Things ran smoothly, and everybody was happy.

Well everybody except the people that were trying to get something to eat. Having only one food vendor, just wasn't cutting it. The fact that they were slow, ran out of food, and closed at 3:00 didn't win them many friends. Northbrook made a command decision and opened up their own restaurant.

Chef Paul sized control, and in no time everybody was eating. Who knew 1200 people would want to get something to eat? (Just kidding, it wasn't Northbrook's fault, the food vendor dropped the ball on this one).

My FITASC squad was really starting to click, and everybody including me was breaking some birds. Rebecka and Martina were really grinding up the targets. I guess it's good to have young eyes and good reflexes. The fact that these two young ladies are on their Nation's Shooting Teams, meant this wasn't their first big event. We shot Connecticut and Krieghoff. I shot 16 on Connecticut, but ran the first peg on Krieghoff, dropped four birds on the second peg, ran the third peg, and dropped the last bird on Krieghoff for a 20, so I was happy with that.

Friday night I had dinner in the host hotel with Haydn, Prosper, and a bunch of their mates from back home. After a couple of bottles of Australian wine, I staggered off to my room, the Aussie's headed off to, you guessed it, the bar.

08-21-2012, 4:23 PM
Day four, Saturday.

We were supposed to meet up in the hotel restaurant at 7:00am, but Haydn was curiously absent. When he showed up I knew something was going on. It seems when Prosper went to their room at midnight, he put the security latch on the door. When Haydn showed up at 2:00am, he was locked out. He finally managed to get the door open, but things were a little "cool" at breakfast (it's actually pretty funny to hear Haydn tell it).

We had a quick bite, and we were off to the range. I should mention that with this many people in attendance, Northbrook contracted with the Campbell airport (next door) to let us park there, and ran shuttles up and back from the runway to the clubhouse.

It worked out really well. They also had shuttles running from clubhouse to the parcours and sporting courses. Northbrook is a huge place, and without them you'd be walking a marathon. Jon Porter was using a friend's Ranger, and was kind enough to give our whole FITASC squad a ride every day. Thanks Jon.

Actually, I saw very few empty carts. Anytime anybody was going some place and saw somebody walking, they would always stop and offer them a ride.

Today I shot the Red Course in the morning, and Blaser and Promatic parcours in the afternoon. Steve Knoll from Wern Valley set the Red course (and gave me a ride out there) and I really enjoyed being in the woods (and the softer targets). Steve's a great guy, and if you're ever the Milwaukee area, stop in at Wern Valley. It's a beautiful place.

A word about all the targets this weekend, I think they were outstanding. And when I asked various other shooters, local and world champions, they agreed. The internet goofballs that think it was too soft are way off base.

It's always easy to shoot 100 straight when you're sitting at home in front of the keyboard. Even though Red was soft, nobody on my squad ran it. If I run it, then it's too soft.

Blaser and Promatic were fun, but challenging. I think I managed an 18 on Blaser, and a 20 on Promatic. Things were looking up.

Unfortunately you had to look up to shoot one of the particularly silly-er pegs.

I think it was peg one on Blaser. It was in the pine trees, and there were cut logs in front of you. There were two birds coming from behind high and right, going over the tops of the pine trees and going right into the SUN !!

Talk about blinded by the light. I got one on the way down, but that was it.

We finished early, and I was able to wander around the vendor area. I've got my eye on a couple of guns that I'm sure will help my shooting.

Afterwards a bunch of us were sitting around the round tables in the beer tent, when Prosper asked to barrow my car keys so he could put his gear away.

When he retuned he tossed them to me. They landed in my glass of beer sitting on the table in front of me causing it to spill in my lap.

We all had a good laugh, and one of the Aussie's said, "now you smell like one of us, mate". And I did :)



08-22-2012, 6:46 PM
Day five, Sunday

The finish line is in sight. 50 more targets to go and it’s Miller Time.

Before I jump into my review, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the last four days. I’ve shot (at) 350 targets, drank at least that many beers, made new friends from all over the world, pissed-off old friends I’ve had for years, and answered the question, “Hey, aren’t you that internet guy” dozens of times.

This is without a doubt the best tournament I’ve ever been to, and Northbrook and its staff did an outstanding job.

Today Haydn and I started at 8:00, so I knew we’d be done early. After a quick “brecky” at McDonalds we were at the range.

Up first was Winchester followed by Caesar Guerini. My squad met up at 7:30 and headed out. Winchester was pretty cool, because it runs along the creek. Some of the pegs are above the creek, and one is almost down in it.

As we stepped into the first peg, I was ready (or so I thought).

John M was first in, I was second. After we watched the birds, John closed his gun, it was only then I realized I didn’t have my ear plugs in. A quick check of my pockets revealed I didn’t have them at all.

I dashed back to the cart, and sure enough they were in my shooting bag. By the time I got back to the peg, John was stepping out.

It didn’t get much better from there. On one peg I was looking at the wrong target, and on another I just lost my place. I did enjoy the peg that was down in the creek bed, and the rabbit that was at eye level was pretty cool.

My squad mate Martina had been doing pretty well all weekend. When I checked the stats Saturday night, she was in second place (ladies) 13 birds back.

When she was in peg two she got a warning from the Referee for creeping her gun before she saw the bird. On the very next shot she did it again, and the Ref called it “zero”. She was stunned.

The Ref gave her the warning in English, she speaks Italian. Did she understand what he said? Would that one bird come back to haunt her?

In the end I shot an 16, not too terribly bad, but not great either. Our squad moved thru the pegs pretty quickly, and we were done with Winchester by 8:45.

Next up, Caesar Guerini, nicknamed “The Target Buster”.

Wait, that’s not right, it was nicknamed “The Ball Buster”, and it was.

Even though I did the worst here (I shot an 11) I enjoyed it the most, and thought the targets were by far the best I had seen all week. I even managed to break the battue coming off the tower (once). I would love to have been able to shoot Caesar Guerini for a week straight to figure out what “I” was doing wrong. Because trust me, it wasn’t my chokes, it wasn’t my ammo, it wasn’t the targets, IT WAS ME.

As our squad finished up and loaded our gear into Jon’s cart, I had a tremendous sense of loss. I had been to war with these people, and now it was over.

Would I see them again? Would we meet up in Spain next year? Would that one bird keep Martina in second place?

All those questions and more will be answered in due time.

08-22-2012, 6:47 PM
Just kidding. We were done by noon, so I decided to go visit my dad for a few hours, he lives in Skokie.

I got back the range about 4:00, and now it was Miller Time, cigar time, war story time, lots of congratulations time, and lots of, “well, but you still had fun, right ?” time.

The shoot-offs started at 6:00, and by now everybody knows that Gebben Miles is the 2012 World FITASC Champion. He’s put in a lot of hard work and had been shooting well.

The shoot-off everybody wanted to see was for second place between Ben Husthwaite and Giuseppe Calo. Now I had never seen Ben in person before, but he’s a guy that’s built like King Kong, covered from head to toe in tattoos, and walks around in pink Bermuda shorts, a pink Polo shirt, and pink tennis shoes. And somehow he makes it work.

If you think Caesar Guerini was tough, the shoot-off’s were tougher. The teal from the third peg had to be at least 100 yards, and some of these guys were getting it on the way down.

Husthwaite was crushing his birds, I’m talking nothing left but dust, and in the end he topped Calo by one bird to take the runner up spot.

Well boys and girls, moms and dads, that about sums it up. It was great, I had fun, I’m glad I went, and I’ll see you all in Spain next year.

Stay tuned to hear about day six when Brad takes on the TSA and the Chicago PD.