So, I did it! I still can’t believe my friends talked me into shooting in one of the most prestigious competitions not only in the US, but internationally! Bucket List Item #116 – check. 🙂

I had a great time, hung out with some awesome people, and learned a few lessons. I am so happy I got to do this with my friend and fellow blogger Kelli Sampsel (I’m sure she’ll post some reflections of her own soon) – I literally couldn’t have done it without her! Here is how I did:

Diana Hufstedler shooting the Barricades Event at the 2013 MidwayUSA NRA Bianchi Cup

Me shooting the Barricades Event at the 2013 MidwayUSA NRA Bianchi Cup. I was extremely nervous but I’m glad you can’t tell from the back. 😉
Photo courtesy of Ralph Horne

 Score: 1689, 89X

Practical: 432 – 15X

Barricade: 442 – 19X

Mover: 425 – 16X

Plates: 390 – 39X

I consistently shot about 20 points less than at practice (except the Plates – I messed those up pretty bad, plus had about 3 low hits and the plates didn’t fall) but overall I’m happy I survived, didn’t do anything stupid, and even walked away with an award! How cool is that?

Receiving my First Time Shooter Award from Larry & Brenda Potterfield at the NRA MidwayUSA Bianchi Cup

Receiving my First Time Shooter Award from Larry & Brenda Potterfield. I took second place in the Women’s Division and was really happy because there was really stiff competition this year!

Here are some random observations in a nutshell:

  1. It is extremely nerve-wracking: Fellas, this Championship is no joke! It is literally like being in the Olympics. Now, I’m usually a little nervous just out of pure excitement but I’m never really that invested so I wouldn’t say I felt any pressure. Yet, somehow all the hype and cameras get under your skin and make you feel like a little girl (even if you’re a 200 lb man). The best advice I was given was “breathe and squeeze the trigger” and really – that’s all you can do. I should have read my own advice beforehand here.
  2. The people make the event: I’ve watched this competition for many years but I will tell you – it is a whole other experience when you participate. It makes you realize how important people are in creating a memorable event – from fellow competitors, pros, staff and volunteers, to sponsors, vendors, media and spectators – they all bring in something unique and special to the Cup. I will forever cherish all the friendships I made at the range, the fun times, and everybody’s kindness.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice: My biggest mistake was not practicing enough but for everyone that knows me – this is by no means a surprise. Aside from a local match I shot cold without practice (you can read about that experience here), I had exactly 6 days and 1500 rounds to both learn how to shoot Action Pistol and improve from 1077 to 1689. I learned a lot during those 6 days although I can’t say I took it too seriously – after all my main goals were “Don’t shoot anybody and don’t drop your gun”. 🙂
  4. It is not easy: Like many other people, I always assumed 2 things – that the courses of fire are easy and that shooting in Open class is a piece of cake. Nope – there are tricks to both and I only wish I had realized that sooner so I would have practiced more (and practiced correctly). However, lesson learned: if I even shoot again, I’ll start practice sooner than the Wednesday before… I think.
Kelli & I after we finished shooting our last event at the 2013 MidwayUSA NRA Bianchi Cup

Kelli & I after we finished shooting our last event – we survived!

All in all, I had a great time. It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad I did this along with all my Bianchi friends. If I could borrow another gun and came across some ammo – I’d gladly do it again next year (only I might practice a bit more)! Until then – off I go with my local buddies to the IL State IDPA match this weekend. Wish me luck!

XOXO

Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Special thanks to the following people:

My husband – for loving me despite all my flaws and not being too pushy

My girls Beth Cowgill and Kelli Sampsel for talking me into doing this

My mother-in-law for watching my daughter while Dave & I shot

My mom & dad for saying they’re proud of me despite the fact they think I’m crazy

My friend Steve Weiss for loaning me his gun and just being all around awesome

My friend Simpson for practicing with me

My friend Ralph Horne for some awesome pictures – I’ll cherish the memories forever

My German buddies as well as Tony Holmes for showing me how to hold my gun at the barricade

Bruce Piatt for telling me how to go prone and getting a squib out of my gun at the practice range

All female competitors, especially Helen Jeavons and Jodi Lyall, for giving me strength. Also Julie Golob & Vera Koo for being such awesome role models, even though not present this year

Safariland Group for my awesome red ELS belt – it made me feel fabulous

All staff and volunteers – wow, you guys rock

MidwayUSA for their generous support and for my $1500 winnings

All my local shooting buddies for coming over to support me – it meant the world to me

The media – while your presence terrified me, I really appreciate all you do to help popularize shooting sports

I sure hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have – please forgive me, I’m a bit of an absent-minded dork…