Wolfe Publishing Group

    From the Editor

    A Way Forward

    It’s really not surprising to anyone, who even half-heartedly watches the news that the NRA is having some serious problems, many of which appear to be self-inflicted. I’m not going to launch into a discussion about that situation because at this juncture it is not appropriate, and would also be negative “piling on” that solves nothing. The controversy will be resolved one way or the other, and we as gun owners first, and NRA members second, will assess what kind of organization comes out of the ashes. Whether or not we chose to continue our support will most likely be a personal decision, hopefully based on actual performance and not promises. ‘Nuff said.

    What I would like to talk about is how, as competitive shooters, we can chart a way forward. I was involved in the early “boom” (no pun intended) of BPCR Silhouette, which was the initial idea of James “Doc” Carlson and Al Hill. Early on, many influential personages in the black powder world lent support to the competition and it grew to large proportions at both the local and national level. The involvement of the NRA gave a sense of seriousness and legitimacy that before had not really been present in local black powder cartridge shoots. We all had our home club matches, but the “big time” was going to the Nationals at Raton, New Mexico. I enjoyed those competitions immensely, as did just about everyone else who attended. They were well run, nice awards were handed out and many shooting records were set. If you didn’t have a chance to participate in them, for whatever reason, you certainly missed a good time.

    Now we are in a period where I think even the most optimistic of us would have to say that anything like the big national championships run by the NRA at Raton are going to be a long time coming back. But, far from saying that our sport is just going to molder away, I feel that we have a unique opportunity to solidify the Black Powder Cartridge sports, both Silhouette and Target Rifle. There are still many good local matches, large regional events and even international competitions that are not dependent upon support from the NRA. By promoting these matches with both participatory and logistical support, we can insure that BPCR competition stays alive and well.

    In this current economic climate it also makes good sense to shoot locally. For many of us, there simply isn’t the money available to travel extensively to matches all around the country. However, when I looked at various local clubs’ 2024 match schedules, I realized that I could shoot at least one BPCR match every month without driving more than 150 miles from home. The summer months ran that tally up to two matches per month, and this is not counting local weekly small-bore shoots. I can stay active with me shooting and not break the budget. The biggest benefit is that I’m supporting my local clubs and am presented with the chance to help new shooters have a positive experience in black powder competition. To me, this is a “win-win” situation.

    It’s entirely possible that in the future, we will again see national BPCR competitions at the Whittington Center with participation at the level of the late 1980s and 1990s. I would be one of the happiest guys around if that were to come to fruition. Until then, I’m going to do what I can in my own backyard to make sure that BPCR shooting remains a healthy and viable sport, attracting new shooters and keeping seasoned competitors active.

    Gut Ziel

    Wolfe Publishing Group