Wolfe Publishing Group

    From the Editor

    No Surprises

    In the last issue, I commented on the letter sent to us by black-powder competitor Cody Smith. Mr. Smith raised the question that if the NRA appears to have lost interest in promoting the black-powder shooting sports, it might be time for a new organization to be formed that would seriously address the interest amongst shooters that still exists. It seemed a reasonable observation at the time and one that we received some comment on, mostly “pro” and very little “con.”

    About the time this issue was going to press, we received another letter from Cody informing us of the creation of the Rocky Mountain Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Association and a general description of its intentions in regard to BPCR silhouette competitions. It was interesting to us, to say the least, and presents some unique new possibilities. The fact that there could be an organization that actually listens to the concerns of the competitors and works to promote the sport was very exciting in itself.

    Curious to know what those folks at the NRA thought of such developments, I contacted current NRA Deputy Director for Competitive Shooting Aaron Farmer. After leaving a message with the Competitions Department, I was contacted almost immediately by Farmer and had a good discussion about the future of BPCR shooting.

    I mentioned the unfortunate scheduling at the Whittington Center of the NRA Silhouette Nationals soon after the BPCRA Big Bore Silhouette Nationals. This schedule is going to make most competitors choose between the BPCRA match and the NRA match, given that many shooters will not be able to spend the time or money to attend both. The new COVID-19 restrictions concerning the previously scheduled range for the NRA competition was given as the reason for moving the match to Raton, N.M.

    We also discussed the moving of the NRA Nationals around the country rather than having it permanently located at the Whittington Center. It was, and is my personal opinion that the Whittington Center is still the “Camp Perry” of BPCR shooting and as such, should remain as the location for the Nationals. I also think that having the match at Raton, and at the same time every year, were huge pluses that could work in the NRA’s favor if they truly wanted to increase participation. However, this was just my opinion, which was duly noted by Farmer. He also expressed his feelings that a new BPCR Association would simply serve to dilute the attendance of all major BPCR competitions to the point that they all suffer. On that topic, time will tell.

    Having done a fair bit of BPCR shooting, my feelings as a previous competitor are that the Rocky Mountain Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Association represents, at the very least, some healthy competition. Nothing makes a business run more efficiently than an aggressive competitor and I think that concept applies here as well. I know there will be many opinions amongst the shooters themselves on this issue and we would be more than happy to publish those views within the pages of the “NEWS.”

    That being said, I would advise anyone that wishes to express an opinion to think very carefully about what they send in to be presented on a public forum. We have, for too many years, fertilized what was a fairly simple problem and succeeded in growing it to a full-blown spectacle of ego indulging and negativity, all the while being foolishly oblivious as to how we were viewed by those outside of our own little circles. This is where the real damage to our sport has occurred; in the turning away of those who would like to participate, but are disillusioned by displays of bad manners.

    If we are serious about revitalizing the BPCR sports, we need to start by honestly looking at ourselves, correcting some less than enviable behavior and going forward with a positive attitude and demeanor. I truly believe that if we can do this, we will return to the high levels of participation that we enjoyed in the past.

    - Gut Ziel

    Wolfe Publishing Group