Debbie and I traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada last week to attend the 2009 USPSA Limited, Limited-10 & Revolver Nationals. We drove together, as my husband was already in Vegas. He had gone earlier in the week for the first event, the Open & Production Nationals.
The trip was quick and Deb and I passed the time talking mostly about family, friends, and shooting. We get along very well, even though we are both very competitive on the range. The trip just gave us another chance to get to know each other a little better.
We arrived at the match hotel and said our good-byes, as we had decided not to stand in the extremely long check-in line. This second National event hosted 322 competitiors, as compared with 426 at the Open / Production match. It seemed, however, that most competitors were trying to check in at the same time. Deb & I hugged and knew that we would see each other tomorrow at the range.
Fast forward 24 hours. I arrived at the range about 12:35 p.m. We were scheduled to shoot at 1:00. Most of the other ladies were already on the stage. I saw Debbie and checked in with her. We try to support each other at the matches. There is something comforting about seeing someone at the Nationals that you frequently see throughtout the year at your “club” matches.
The first stage of a major match like this can be unnerving. Even though we both shoot year-round, there is something different about a National or World Match. They are extremely important events in which we want to perform well. Due to this perspective, we are always a little more nervous than usual. The first stage was not good for Debbie and even worse for me. There were activators, swingers and bobbing targets. We both assessed multiple penalties, which is NOT a great way to start the US Nationals. We comiserated and got through the remaining four stages of the day, though not unscathed.
Day two brought a new perspective. We had both settled in a bit, we were shooting in the morning (which we both prefer), and we stuck to our mantra (have fun, hold on to the gun). It just reminds us that we’re competing in our great sport because it’s so much fun, and that we really need to hold tightly on to the gun. Sounds silly, but it’s a good thing for me to think about right before the buzzer goes off. Incidentally, we both shot well and had much better days! We left the range feeling much better about our performances, and Debbie had actually finished by winning a stage! Day three, however, would not begin for another 24 hours. That’s a lot of time to think, reconstruct, and woulda-coulda-shoulda yourself! Thank goodness there is no shortage of “activities” in Sin City!
We arrived at the range on the final day again around 12:30 p.m. It was going to be a long, hot, dusty afternoon in the Nevada desert, as we had six stages and our largest amount of points yet to shoot. Sporadic cloud cover and a gentle wind helped to reduce the 100+ degree temperatures. We kept hydrated and energized, watched our sights, and the afternoon passed quite quickly. Debbie and I both shot strong, with a few minor hiccups, and finished our Nationals safely, with our heads held high and completely worn out!
By the time the final results were posted, Debbie and I had finished very close to each other. To follow are the Top 8 Limited-10 Ladies:
1 – Randi Rogers
2 – Julie Golob
3 – Kippi Leatham
4 – Kay Miculek
5 – Debbie Keehart
6 – Maggie Reese
7 – Diana Le
8 – Kandi Blick
Congratulations to all ladies who competed at the 2009 USPSA Back-To-Back Nationals. It was definitely an endurance test in the desert, especially for those that shot both matches. Debbie and I are always honored to compete with the Ladies Super Squad. We had a great time (again) this year and witnessed many, many awesome performances. To see pictures, videos, interviews and more-detailed stories of the match, check out womenofuspsa.com/wp. This new website will be posting updates for both matches in the weeks to come.