I have to admit I have made a lot of new friends since joining the shooting community. Dealers, instructors, competitors and many who just enjoy shooting or occasionally hunt. It’s very interesting to see how each and every region of our country differs as far as their favorite firearms, the type of animals they like to hunt and the competition some participate. In my home state of Wyoming the hunters almost always prefer bolt action rifles with larger calibers and almost exclusive choice for the personal carry is any variation of the legendary 1911. Florida, the state where I also spent significant time, is very different. Anything tactical will do a job at the range, home, farm or the hunt. No surprise there, animals are lot smaller and much closer than in Wyoming or other western states. I also shot in the northeast, Midwest and California. One thing is constant throughout not only USA but also Canada. Most gun owners are far more responsible citizens who cherish their individual freedoms. There are very few bad apples in every bunch but they will not ruin it for everyone. We will not allow that to happen.
We, the responsible and law abiding citizens need to fight media’s portrayal of people who commit crimes with guns in their hands as “gun owners”. They are not gun owners, they are not even reliable citizens of any law abiding society for that matter. And that is the difference. They took themselves out of the community by deciding to break the law.
I will finish this rant shortly but one last thought that crossed my mind recently. Some areas or regions of this country and their representatives of federal, state or local government along with the media will not only tolerate, but sympathize(providing excuses)for illegal drug users/abusers far more than stand up for law abiding gun owners and their constitutional rights. Where are we heading as a country by punishing, blackballing or just constantly trying to restrict and regulate people who exercise their second amendment? We give up here and other amendments will follow. And do not think it cannot happen.
The reason, in my opinion is most gun owners are independent, self-reliant people who see government must only play very limited role like national defense against external threats and overseeing fair economic environment for everyone to compete in.
Now let’s talk about meeting some of those great friends during our July event in Colorado.
The idea of “Try Me Station” is not my invention. I became familiar with it during the Maverick shoot for the Colorado Youth Outdoors. The set up could be few temporary stations like at Maverick, Five Stand at a local clay course or designated trap and/or skeet station like we had at Colorado Clays. Our version of try me station was a joint idea of my Denver area bird hunting friend and me. It took us more than a year to actually make it happen but once it did, we all had fun and learned a lot.
Colorado Clays is located 30 minutes east of Denver along creek bottom like many shooting ranges in metro Denver area. The mature trees and seasonal creek make it an ideal set up for Sporting Clays course simulating a good bird hunt. Their trap and skeet stations are as well cared for as any I’ve seen. Once you turn on the main switch all their controls are voice activated. Great feature, especially if you like to shoot by yourself as I do at times. There is time to enjoy good company and there is time to practice. The staff could not be more helpful keeping everything running safe and smooth.
CZ-USA provided us with variety of six shotguns. Redhead Deluxe, Canvasback, Upland Sterling and the Sporter. All these were 12 gauge over/under. Wildfowl Pump 12 gauge and CZ 920 semiautomatic 20 gauge. My favorite gun out of this bunch is the Sporter. Ironically I did not try any of the hunting shotguns as I was too busy keeping everyone in my group orderly and safe. It was interesting to hear the feedback from mostly beginner shooters. Initially everyone drifted towards the lighter versions of shotguns but soon realized the multiple rounds of clay shooting mean dealing with repeated recoil. We had about four hours on the trap and skeet stations for everyone to truly experience CZ shotguns and they did. The Sporter became a favorite amongst men in my group. When it comes to shooting clays it handles the recoil throughout its frame better. The 920 20 gauge semi auto got its workout shortly after ladies and the youth shooters found its comfortable performance. The more bird hunt oriented shotguns were admired by the group of more advanced shooters for the quality, performance and overall feel. The quality and performance is the manufacturer’s responsibility. The feel is the shooter’s responsibility; he or she has to find a gun that fits them, not what they have heard or seen. My motto for most beginners is if it does not feel good you will not want to pick it up and have it in your hands as often as you should to practice. It applies to shotguns, rifles and pistols too.
Very good friend of mine approached me about the possibility of our own version of try me station more than a year ago. Scheduling conflicts, finding a club that would accommodate us and just putting it all together took longer than anticipated. No problem, we would rather took our time to do it right than throw it together for the sake of doing it. I always emphasize the youth should be part of the event too. Any adult who wanted to come was encourage to bring a son, daughter or child they help mentoring. They would be fully responsible for them. Two reasons for this self made policy are teaching safety/responsibility and giving an opportunity to bond. I must say Colorado Youth Outdoors program was an inspiration for this policy and will guide me in the future event planning.
We spent the day shooting, talking about firearms, hunting and getting to know each other. I had such a good time sharing my knowledge of the CZ products, shooting sports or just life experience especially with the younger crowd that I almost forgot to eat lunch.(I said almost).
The honorary mention
The staff at Colorado Clays and the club itself could not be more friendly and accommodating to our group. Their generosity, kindness and professionalism pretty much guaranteed my return for couple rounds of clays as soon as I’m back in the Denver metro area.
Bill Binet. Bill and I have become friends over the last couple of years as he is the CZ-USA sales representative for the northern Rocky Mountains and pacific Northwest. I started to plan this event without ever realizing it could not happen without Bill. He not only represented the products well but he also brought special fatherly presence over all of the activities of the day. I have never seen anybody give better, more thorough safety presentation than Bill. I’m honoring Bill and must say I benefitted from his presence that day as much as anyone else.
Lastly I would like to thank to everyone who participated for coming out, following the safety rules (it’s always more fun that way) and enjoying themselves. Special thanks to my friend Michael who helped organize the event and bring great people together. We’ve become closer friends planning the Try Me Station. We both believed it was a very successful event. Looking forward to plan more days like we had that beautiful July Saturday in Colorado.
The last note
I was finishing writing this blog the day before my first official pistol class. Naturally I’m getting my range bag ready with ammo, ear muffs, glasses etc. While cleaning my CZ 85 I realized how easy CZ pistols are to take apart, clean and put them back together. Having said that I do not believe many shooters writing the reviews or commenting in different publications how much they enjoy cleaning the firearms of any type. I understand it’s necessary to maximize the performance and extend the life of a given firearm.
Maybe I am just hanging out with the wrong crowd but none of us likes cleaning that much. We much more prefer shooting or talking guns than cleaning them. I keep mine in very good shape because it is the right thing to do.
This has been a confession of an amateur shooter, hunter and occasional author of a hopefully interesting blogs. Please response to our email address on your cleaning habits so I can feel guilty about mine.
Thank you, Bobby Holik