Friday, May 9, 2008

Have Guns, Will Travel

Whew! Let me catch my breath! It's been a crazy week. After being away this weekend we hit the ground running. DD had her Piano Guild on Monday, Piano lesson and errands and DS had his college class on Tuesday, DD got her braces off on Wednesday (BIG day for her! Jump on over to her blog to read about it. She practically declared it a national holiday! Grin!), baby shower on Saturday and our Spring Works start on Monday so I've got to stock up on groceries. So that's the short version. However, this post is not.
This past weekend, the kids and I packed clothes and food and guns and ammo and chairs and sleeping bags and just about anything and everything else you could think of

and headed north to Raton and the NRA Whittington Center for the 4-H State Shooting Sports Competition. We left on Thursday and returned on Sunday evening, happy and tired - very tired.

The competition didn't begin until Saturday but we left a day early in hopes of getting a little extra shooting in and making a trip into Colorado to look at the renowned Trinidad Gunsmithing Program.

Before we even left the dirt road DD hollered, "Wait! Stop. I can't get my seatbelt out."

DS commented, "Oh great! We've driven exactly .4 miles and we already have to stop."

Think he's taking after his father who is a point A to point B traveler. DS learned that traveling with 2 females and a point A to point B passenger, makes for an interesting trip. Grin!

We arrived at our destination and eagerly looked forward to hitting the bunks. Alas, it was not to be. We were registered for cabin 3, but the key would not cooperate and try as we might, we could not unlock the door so we drove the 3 miles back to the front gate and were given a second key. No luck. Back to the gate. Lets try cabin #5.....or 9...or 10. Arrgh! After 7 trips from one end of the Whittington Center to the other, in the dark, we still were unable to get into a cabin. Roger told us to go on into town and get a bite to eat and he would try to get in himself. When we returned, he too had been unsuccessful. I told him that we would gladly sleep in the gift shop. We just wanted a place to unroll our sleeping bags for the night. He was very apologetic and said that he couldn't believe how jovial we were about the whole situation. We were laughing about it. I mean, what are you gonna do? There wasn't any sense in getting upset. He said that he had a Founders Cabin available for just that night and we grabbed that right away and we were thrilled! And completely spoiled! These were our accommodations on Thursday night:

We were so excited that our desire to hop right into bed was forgotten and we all reveled in 20 minute showers in these luxurious bathrooms. Compared to our cute little rustic cabins:

that sleep 10 with no heat and sparse amenities, these were quite extravagant. Can you tell it doesn't take much to entertain us?

We slept like babies that night
and dined like kings the next morning ~ in swivel chairs with a view!

The kids let me snap a few photos while we savored the crisp, morning, mountain air:

Then DS shot 3 rounds of trap and 3 rounds of skeet that morning,before we loaded back up and drove 20 miles north into Colorado where we shared plates of yummy Mexican food at a place called Tequilas before meeting with the director of the Trinidad Gunsmithing School. What a cool place that is! We met people like Tank and Lurch and Speedy Gonzales (who happens to be a professor) , and spent over 2,very interesting, hours immersed in the engineering of building guns. We were completely fascinated.

Then it was back to the Whittington Center where they were frantically working to get keys made for all the cabins. Apparently the locks had been changed over the winter, but keys had not been made. They were completely booked for the weekend and were trying to get everything in order.

We met up with the rest of our team and drove into Raton and K-Bobs for supper before turning in for an early night. We know from experience that Saturday is a long day. The kids shoot all day long. They shoot air gun first (3P and silhouette), followed by .22 (3P and silhouette) and then Shotgun (trap and skeet). They've got to save some energy for the dance that evening as well.
Usually we all shoot all year at the New Mexico Military Institute, but they are remodeling the building this year so the kids really only shot 4-5 times this year, with the exception of shotgun, which DS shoots on his own. So taking that into consideration, I though they did quite well and they should be very proud. The team didn't place well, but individually DS and DD shot well. DD shot air and placed 9th in the state.

Oh, by the way, just for your information, I'm a trouble-maker. A rule-breaker and a non-compliant citizen. Who knew?! I was ousted from this building just after taking this photo because my flash went off. I honestly thought I had turned it off, but like me, my camera must have a rebellious streak and I was told in in no uncertain terms and a rather gruff manner to NOT take any more pictures. Okay. I apologize, but goodness, he could have been a bit less combative. Humph!

Both kids shot .22 and DS placed 9th and DD placed 14th out of 114.

DS placed 10th in the state for shotgun. They both thought they could have shot better and set goals for next year, but they shot personal bests and should be proud.

Now that everyone has completed their shooting, it's time to kick back and let the stories fly:

And everyone knows that wherever teenagers gather, food (large quantities of food) must be present so the pre-meal ritual must take place:
and the eating can commence:

On Sunday morning, DS and Dakotah went back to the shotgun range to shoot a few more rounds and a group of us headed up the mountain for a morning hike. We walked up to the old abandoned ghost town and coal mine. It was absolutely amazing and I became extremely homesick for the mountains.

And what's left of the stables. Stepping back into time like that made me realize just how spoiled we are. I cannot imagine blasting all that rock and hauling it in order to build this:
The deer are always inquisitive:
and venture close enough that you can almost reach out and touch them:
And we discovered a strange, new species during our morning trekk.

They're lovable, feisty, comical, fiercely independent and always hungry all at the same time!

So here's to coaches who put up with both kids and parents all year, to kids who make it all worth while, to parents who support them in their endeavours and to an amazing program called 4-H!

So that concludes our weekend. Now we're getting geared up for a busy couple of weeks ahead so please be patient with me if I become remiss in posting. Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day!


Paula Yaussi said...

What a fun weekend! Congrats to the kids for such a fine job!! Isn't it amazing how much food kids can put away!

Hey - I have my own stories of rebellion and breaking rules! Glad I'm not alone!!

Ranch wife said...

Sounds like yall had a great time. Boy how nice to have spent a weekend in the mountains. Made me green with envy!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Great photos and story, Karin!

Rebekah said...

Looks like sooooo much fun!!! I stumbled across your blog and really enjoyed my visit. Have a wonderful day!

Shelljo said...

I find it interesting that you all are finished with 4-H shooting sports--or with your major competition, while here in KS, we are finished with rifle and pistol, but shotgun and archery don't have their state competitions until October! We had our first match of the season last weekend!

agent713 said...

Sounds like a fun weekend! That ghost town would be a great place to hike to.

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