Major Match Reports

WFTF Worlds Match-Ebern Germany 2013

Firstly I must once again express my extreme gratitude to The Hollywood Rifle & Pistol Club for assisting me with the financial support that I received….this made the trip that much more affordable.  I would also like to thank JSB Pellets for supplying their awesome JSB Express pellets, Pyramyd Air, Mac 1 Airguns, and Starlight Cases for their sponsorship of Team USA. 

I returned home on Monday afternoon after the most grueling week-end of competition I have ever encountered. The three day match started with sighting-in at 7:00am and the match ended at about 3:30-4:00pm each day. Talk about a marathon walking up on down those hills carrying all the heavy gear. I have learnt more about FT this past week-end than I learnt in the previous three years. This, my first trip to Europe was a very gratifying event. Sonia and I had a wonderful time.

I had the very pleasant experience of meeting some really awesome felt like catching up with old friends. It was a very jubilant would hardly believe that we were here to compete against each other for the title of Worlds FT champion.

On day one of the competition I was amazed at how difficult the course was. Eighty plus percent of the course had the targets placed either up or down hill... I missed my first three targets. You can imagine how demoralized I began to feel. I had to put myself back in the moment…one shot , one match. Being told what to expect and actually experiencing it is two different things. I was using muscles that I never knew I had. Leaning back to take an uphill shot while sitting on an uneven ground that is sloping downhill to your left requires a certain amount of flexibility and dexterity. On some shots I was sitting with my feet higher than my butt while leaning back to take an uphill shot. These steep angles forced me to change my shooting style from off the arm (pretzel style) to off the knee. This position allows one to open up more for the angles....I was learning as I went along. I need to improve my core strength. I ended up with a score of 31/50 on the first day. 

The best analogy I can come up with to describe  this match for myself is: Picture a person learning to surf in four foot waves on Miami Beach, just about perfecting his game then showing up for a surfing competition in Hawaii where he encounters twenty to thirty foot waves. Sheesh!  

I went back "home" that night and I am sure you know what I did for about an hour…yes…I practiced as best I could holding at extreme angles from the ground aiming up and from the top of the dining table aiming down while adjusting my butt plate up and down as needed…something I saw being done at the match by my competitors.

Second day found me with renewed confidence… I upped my score to 37/50 but I needed an additonal piece of equipment to make the steep angled shots that I was told that I was going to encounter on day three possible. Here is a link to a post that I made on the FT forum about this piece of equipment:… I had my best score on day three 39/50.

In summary I had a great time, missed a few "easy" ones but at the same time I got some really hard ones. With an aggregate of 107, I placed 130/216 in PCP class. This experience was priceless.

Click here for Final Scores

Click on these link to see more pics of my trip to Germany:

Worlds Pics

Pics of WFTF match Ebern Germany

These are fromShooting-the-Breeze and posted by Bert_2 

2011 Nationals As I Saw It

I was blessed with getting the opportunity to shoot my second Nationals. The plane ride from South Florida to Nashville, TN was uneventful (just the way I like it). I picked up my rental car and drove the very pleasant eighty plus miles to my hotel and then headed for Roz's Hollow. I saw familiar faces and after a little meet and greet, I registered and decided to do some sighting in. The wind was blowing hard in every which direction. Looking at the flags, the near flags were blowing to the left and the far to the right. If I held on target at fifty five yards, the pellet would land on the bull of the adjacent bull high at eleven o'clock. After a few shots I decided that this was an exercise in futility because after the flight I could not really determine what my zero was in these conditions....was it shooting like it did back home or did something shift on the flight here? The weather was predicted to be calmer on Saturday morning so I decided that I would get to the range early so that I could do a proper sighting in.

Kevin, Lonnie, Hector A. and I along with some other shooters went to a Chinese buffet for dinner. It was quite pleasant food with good company.

Saturday morning came and I was up and ready to go. I stopped at McDonalds to get my morning jolt of caffeine. On the way to the meet, I also picked up some apples and bananas to keep me nurtured on the lanes. The weather conditions were as predicted all the wind flags were limp. On the sight in lane I took my first shot at fifty five yards and the pellet was hit smack into the center of the target. I then took one at ten yards and I was ready for the games....bring it on my USFT #28 was ready and I was mentally and physically ready also.

After more meeting and greeting, our gracious host Roz, called the shooters meeting at approximately 8:15am (nothing like being on time). After the meeting I linked up with my squad mates Ivan Copo (Puerto Rico) and Stan Lipinski (MD). We were off to the white course. The order of shooting was: Ivan, I then Stan. Ivan cleaned the first lane, I dropped my first point on the first shot of the second is just amazing the calm that came over me after that first missed target. IIRCC I dropped my three shots within the first five lanes then cleaned all the rest to end up with a first day total of fifty seven. I was very happy with my performance. Day one was in the bag. It was time to forget about day was no guarantee that day two would be as good.

After a good nights sleep it was day two. I(57) was squadded with Doug Miller(58) & Walt Roller(57). I guess this was so that we being the top three Open PCP shooters from the previous day could keep and eye on each other. I must say that I felt intimidated being the "new" kid on the block with these two veteran FT shooters. I had to remind myself that we all put on our pants one foot at a time happy.gif. We started on lane six with Walt shooting first, followed by me and then Doug. All was going well and when we got to lane fifteen I did a quick check of our score cards only to discover that I was leading Doug by one point overall and Walt by I think two or three. We had lane one through five to go on the red course. I was tasting victory....I could see it now...Donovan Taylor, 2011-2012 National FT Champion. Keep your cool, its not over til its over. Then it nemesis the wind showed up. Now I knew firsthand what Harold was talking about after the previous days shoot. He said that the Red lane is the luck of the draw...if you got lane fourteen through five early in the day you had a better chance of not being faced with the challenge of dealing with these exposed lanes when the winds showed up. After coming into lane one with two points down I dropped five points on lanes one through five. This is what separates the men from the boy. Doug did not skip a beat he got all ten hits on the final five and I think Walt got eight or nine.

Congratulations to Doug and Walt for a course well shot and thanks for the assistance and tips that you both freely imparted to me. I am most grateful to have spent the second day in your company. I must also congratulate Paul Plauche on placing second by out shooting Walt in the shoot off.
When the smoke cleared I finished in fourth place in the Open PCP Class.
Donovan receiving 4th place award from Robert Ray
Congratulations to all the victors in the various divisions and all the competitors who made the effort to participate in what was an amazing meet in near perfect weather conditions at a facility that is second to none.

Thanks to the organizers for putting this most pleasant meet together. From where I sat, everything went like clockwork.
Hopefully I will make it to Oregon next year.

Here is link to the full results:

2010 AAFTA Nationals Competition

I made the journey to Mt. Airy in Maryland ( about 35 miles from our nations capital) on October 16th to participate in my first major Field Target competition. Nationals are held once per year to determine the top shooters in the various classes of FT competition. The drive from DC to Mt. Airy was quite pleasant because I was for the second time witnessing the beauty of trees in the fall. With the various hues of brown, gold, green & purple it was a pleasant and quite dramatic sight to witness. The temperature was in the mid sixties with a slight breeze. I went straight to my motel located in Fredrick (twenty minutes from the range) where I met up with my shooting buddy Roger from Port Charlotte.

We then drove the twenty minutes to the range to get registered and sighted in for the beginning of the match on Saturday morning.  There were quite a few shooters registering and milling about. It was nice to meet the friends that I had only met through the forums on line. After checking in with the registration table we made our way to the firing line we were greeted by twenty mile per hour winds. On the sighting range we had to be holding approximately approximately one and a half inches off the target in order to score a hit. The weather was forecast-ed to be even windier on Saturday. I figured that there was no point in trying to find my zero because it would be different on Saturday. I began to get real anxious because I was about to thread into unfamiliar territory.

After a restful night, I woke at 5:00am to prepare for a day of FT shooting. The temperatures were in the low forties and the wind was steady at about 20 to 25 mph. Having lived in South Florida for the past 29yrs, this was not exactly what I would call great shooting weather. On a day like this we would have canceled our match. On arriving at the venue, I heard comments like how wonderful the weather was for field target shooting. I thought to myself, “Are they kidding?” I had on an undershirt , and two sweaters plus my shooting coat and I could feel the cold wind penetrating my bones. On the sighting lane, the wind was steady at about 25-30 mph with higher gusts. Gradually the confidence that I left home with was making way for a slight panic attack. I was in uncharted territory at the biggest FT match for the year. How would I fare?

At 9:30 the shooters meeting was called to explain the rules of the match and the usual safety precautions. We were then squadded in groups of three and headed off to the fifteen lanes of two targets per lane. The course of fire was

two shots per target for a possible score of sixty. On entering the shooting area, I quickly realized that we were going to be shooting at targets placed in the thick woods. Were was Motyka’s neatly manicured lawn and the covered firing line? It is 40 plus degrees with 25-30 mph wind and now I am being thrown into the woods. What the heck did I sign up for?

In order to get a feel for the conditions, I opted to shoot last. Soon enough it was my turn. I assumed the classic FT seated shooting position and addressed my first target. After carefully range finding the target and setting the corresponding elevation on my trusty Leupy scope, I took a few deep breaths, exhaled half of the last and let the first pellet fly. My aim was true and I had my first hit. I cleaned the first lane....I had four points on my score card. My confidence was back. The second lane brought me back to reality....the first target of the lane was ranged at 14.5 problem. Got them both. The second target was out to about 45yds and I could see the wind flag holding horizontally at three o clock. I held off to the left by about one inch and broke the trigger with just a thought. I heard the clang of pellet against face plate and the target stood proud. I had my first miss at nine o clock on the face plate after holding over by an inch. Addressing the target for the second shot I held over by about two inches and gently squeezed the trigger. The sound of pellet hitting paddle was a joy. The target fell and it felt good. At the end of the day I ended up with a score of 41 out of a possible 60. I was disappointed initially but when I thought about the unfamiliar conditions that I was shooting in, I decided that I should not be so hard on myself. The top score for the day was 54.

On Sunday the weather was warmer and the wind was calmer, but it was now a head wind instead of a cross wind. What’s up with the wind in this place? I got a crash course in wind shooting for the two day match. I shot a score of 44 for a two day aggregate of 85 placing me in seventeenth position in the Open PCP class. The winning score was 111.

The camaraderie and experience gained was priceless. I was humbled by the shooting conditions. In preparation for my next Nationals, I plan to shoot in all weather conditions, except maybe a hurricane.


The official 2010 Nationals report can be read here.
A You Tube video with a snippet of the shooting conditions; take note of the wind indicator on the rifle.