You might think a sockdolager with all the shooting industry Big Cheeses at some hotsy-totsy gin mill might lead to some Chicago typewriter trouble. Heck, some hard boiled heavy might have his torpedos pinch his biggest competitor and take him for a long ride. But no. While there was plenty of giggle water at a swanky speakeasy, the 2015 Shooting Industry Masters was all Ritz.
The Roaring 20s themed event brought together a group of employees, executives, and competitive shooters all for a great cause. The purpose of the Masters is to raise money for two keen shooting programs: the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s First Shots and the USA Shooting Team. And raise dough they do. At this annual event, driven by FMG Publications (American Handgunner and Guns Magazines), the industry bands together to raise some serious heavy sugar, over $100,000 per year.
This year, some of us Gun ‘Riters decided to band together to enter the first “all writer” team – The Rough ‘Riters. Our folks, together with the crazy chicks from Women’s Outdoor News, got together with the support of sponsors Volquartsen Custom, Remington, CrossBreed Holsters, A Girl and a Gun Shooting League, The Well Armed Woman, Diva WOW, and Gun Goddess to help generate serious dough to grow the shooting sports.
What’s so great about the Shooting Industry Masters? Let me beat my gums for a minute to tell ya.
Each team of four completes four different stages over the two-day event. Each stage might involve trigger pulls from a variety of guns. For example, the rimfire event, Roscoe Retreat, required competitors to fire for speed using four different guns: a Ruger 22/45 Lite, a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact, a Ruger 10/22 and a Smith & Wesson 15-22 rifle. The best part? Since the event was a 1920s gangster theme, competitors had to lug around a canvas sack of money between each gun station, then pass it off to the next team member to continue the relay.
Individual speed alone won’t make a team the cat’s meow. One of the four events is Team Tactics. Using full-auto Airsoft guns, the team runs a wilderness target course to spot and shoot bottles of rotgut and the occasional gangster. Leapfrogging techniques and team communication carry the day.
Fortunately for Team Rough ‘Riters, the FMG folks create two broad categories of competitors: Industry and Open. Teams are placed in each division by FMG staff, so there is no gaming the system. Professional shooters compete with each other and the rest of us palookas can race for the bottom amongst ourselves.