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Interesting Perspective

Standing Stone 3 Experience

This is why we need you to stay in touch via e-mail. I got an e-mail from a friend this morning. He'd been to Standing Stone 3, read my recent post of comments regarding SS3, and offered the following perspective and suggestions: I'll paraphrase the Spirit of the mail ...

"It may be beneficial to offer more "Milk" and emphasize less "Meat" at Standing Stone. In other words, spend more time and effort providing folks with the plinking/tinkering experience - sharing our rifles - providing better targets for plinking - not separating out the plinkers to a different range. Less emphasis on tournaments.

On Sunday, we closed the main tournament ranges to plinkers and asked them to go to the gravel pit range - evidently alot of people expressed negative comments, and my friend was one of those as well. It was said that the range was too far from the air supplier to be convenient - suggested that perhaps the shuttle should have dropped off air tanks for the plinking range. It was said there were no targets provided so people plinked at soda bottles.

It was pointed out that big bore especially, is new to folks and they need an introductory to it. Once they see it - experience it - they want more. It was pointed out that; by my friend sharing his rifle with folks, they were all smiles when they smacked a plastic bottle on a stick at 38 yards with a big ole slug - and using open sights at that! However; there was no air and folks waiting to shoot his rifle could not do so.

It was suggested that there are those who are at the top of the game, and that's respected ... but there needed to be more just plain "Milk" to enjoy.

Well. Sure shows you how things can get screwed up in a hurry. Let me address some of these things....

I suppose, first ... I should offer that Van (Airhog) was at the show to provide free air and tanks for participants to use. It was the same drill as last year - Ask and receive. The shuttle ran by the gravel pit range every ten minutes or less all day long. We also had steel targets sitting around everywhere. There was no need for anyone to be without transport, air, tanks, or targets. There were at least a dozen steel targets on the main range which had been used for plinking - seemed clear they could be taken for use if needed. You simply cannot know what is being misunderstood if it's not brought to your attention.

Regarding the plinking at the tournament ranges: During Friday and Saturday, we all tried to co-exist - Tournament shooters and plinkers. It was understood that folks needed to check their zero - get loosened up - etc. In practice, what we had was this: Every time we'd turn around, someone would want to know if they could shoot the targets which were set up for the tournaments. Every time we'd go out to score a tournament or reset the targets, several people would follow us to set up plinking targets, measure out distances, drive in little distance sticks, even post paper on our game targets. We'd have to gather these folks up and get them all back in order to continue. We were all having a good time - there was no real trouble - it just gummed up the works.

By Sunday, it was clear that the system was not working and that those plinking weren't just checking their zero prior to joining in the games. They were quite content to go on plinking. Shooting benches were all covered with stuff and the owners were elsewhere. We needed a different system. We posted that the two main ranges would be to used run the tournaments, plinkers please go to the gravel pit range.

Regarding folks being introduced to shooting. Here's what we spent the entire three days doing: As fast as we could load our rifles, folks were invited to slide in under them and shoot them. We talked them through, filled the rifles with air, loaded the rifles, cocked the rifles, explained the scopes, pointed out the targets. Our rifles, free air, our lead, our targets. We saw smiles all weekend. We walked folks around the wood's walk courses - had them shoot the tournaments with our rifles.

Now; here's what we saw when we turned around. Some of the tournaments were rather dramatic. One I remember (obviously I was part of the staff at the big bore range) ... dramatic tournament. Steel silhouettes flying and tumbling in the air. Lots of lead and action. We had a tie. Needed a tie breaking shoot off. The shoot off proceeded thru four additional rounds of shoot off - wow - out to 155 yards! Absolutely amazing. When we turned around ... about three people were watching ... the rest were plinking and fiddling. It was something you could not duplicate in a lifetime ... and only a few saw it ... AND ... they were even at Standing Stone when it happened!

All the tournaments ran pretty much that way this year. I shot a 50 yard multi-face bull target of ten perfect ten's in a row with a brand new 45 PCP I'd had to the range once. About three people saw it. Take my true point ... nobody is obligated to stand and watch me shoot. However; since we'd spent quite alot of time, money, and effort to provide the Standing Stone experience ... and folks actually took the time to come ... it did seem a bit odd they'd spend so much time doing only what they could do at home.

I told my friend this morning ... it seems a bit like this from our side of the thing: Sort of like you went to a carnival, and then, instead of riding any of the rides provided, you asked if you could set up a 55 gallon drum and a plank in the midway for a seesaw. It seems that there were quite a number of folks who were trying to run a parallel festival - desiring duplicated venues - and running simultaneously with the actual festival we'd spent the year preparing.

We sure never desired to offend folks. Especially those who'd bothered to come to the Festival. We put our heart, our backs, and our wallets into providing the infrastructure for people to have a unique experience that they could not get elsewhere. I suppose it will always be so ... that when you jump thru hoops to get a kid a special gift, all they will really want to do is play with the box it came in.

So, we live and learn. Everything was there for the asking. Jim and I could not be everywhere at once. What we were aware of, we had the staff and we dealt with it immediately. We dragged our sorry butts out of there absolutely exhausted once again after four very long days on site. But - it was a good time and we hope most of you enjoyed it. Many of our regulars could not attend this time due to conflicts. The crowd would have been far better had it not been for the hurricane news.

We'll keep you posted regarding next year's activities.