As I headed out Saturday morning, the car thermometer read 56℉, and the temperature never got above 68℉ through the morning. With clear blue skies and low humidity, it was a near perfect day to hit the range. The match consisted of 6 relatively small stages, for a round count minimum of 80, with a mix of paper and steel targets. The majority of the stages this month were shot from a single shooting location, but with one or more mandatory magazine changes stipulated.
The first stage I shot was fairly simple, with six paper targets arranged in a "V", with a mag change required after the first three targets. It was a good warm-up stage, to get me back into the groove. The next stage had three target groups, each consisting of two paper and one steel plate, with a mandatory reload between each group. The stage was also shot from a single shooting box with no movement. A mix of no-shoot and black "miss" zones, along with the staggered plates meant careful aiming.
Next up was another simple stage with two paper targets and 3 steel plates set in a group, and a second group of one paper and two steel plates. The two groups had about a 90° swing between them. Adding to the "fun," the single paper target had only the head and a small slice down the side that was not covered by a "no-shoot." As a twist, the stage requirements stated all three paper targets had to be engaged first, followed by the five steel plates, with of course, a mandatory mag change between the two groups. The fourth stage I shot consisted of a row four paper targets, with a falling popper set at each end. After engaging the steel and each paper target with one hit each, the shooter made the mandated mag change and put one more hit on each paper. It took a bit of concentration to break from the habit of putting two hits on paper before moving to the next target.
The remaining two stages required movement. The first started with six targets to be engaged, three from either side of the barricade. Next the shooter moved forward to an exceptionally wide barricade, that had a falling popper on either side. Some of the more nimble shooters shot the two steel targets from one side of the wall. I opted to take the slower, but less back-stressing option, and take my shots one from each side. The stage description mandated at least one reload during the course of fire.
The final stage added an IDPA-ish twist into the mix. The shooter started seated in a chair, and upon the start signal ran to the opposite end of two folding tables where the "911 phone" was placed. This was a box with three buttons that had to be pushed, switching on three lights, before the shooter could begin shooting. After engaging a group of three paper targets, the shooter moved back to the position where he started and engaged another three targets. The final movement was downrange to a third position, where three targets where required to be engaged under a low bar. In keeping with the theme of the day, at least one reload was mandated sometime before the last target.
Between the interesting, out-of-ordinary stages, and the beautiful weather, it was a very enjoyable morning on the range. The events at Cedar Mountain are not sanctioned USPSA, or other, matches. Being an independent event, the match directors have the opportunity to set up some scenarios that don't fit USPSA, or IDPA, rules. They are however run according to all the usual strict safety requirements, and use USPSA targets for scoring.
The point of these matches is to have good, safe, fun while raising money for the Cedar Mountain Youths programs. It's a low-pressure match with fun folks who are also there to enjoy themselves. There are always a few new shooters in attendance, since it's a great opportunity to introduce folks to practical pistol shooting without the stress, and expense of a larger match. For me personally, it's close to home and I enjoy sleeping in (it's all relative) and getting home in time for lunch. I've been to several Cedar Mountain matches and I look forward to the next one.