Progress on Manny’s force-fetch training under blue skies, with a big mug of espresso-strength coffee on the fence post. This is gonna be good, I thought. What a weekend. And, by guacamole-and-merlot time, it was.
In fact, it only got better as the clouds built to a muddled gray mass, heavy with rain. Here’s how:
The new Fausti DEA SL 20 ga. had languished unshot in the safe since arrival, mocking my office work. The imagined laughter finally shamed me into a couple calls, a frantic search for ammo and batteries for my electronic earplugs. Central Oregon Sporting Clays was the destination, Spence Tabor’s labor of love that has exceeded shooters’ expectations in all respects.
I chose to walk alone, the beautiful desert course winding among dense junipers. The sandy soil reflected last night’s critter traffic, and for a bit mine were the only shots. By the third station I was dialing in the DEA, and actually hitting targets consistently. It’s a lithe, light and stylish gun, all of 5-1/2 pounds. While it takes work to hit the long crossers, instinctive shots through small windows between lava rock and juniper limbs are its forte. The wood and case-coloring are stunning as it settles comfortably into the gun rack at each station, and I’m again struck by the aesthetic sense of Italians … so organic, so elegant, yet practical in every respect.
I was gobsmacked at the variety of targets Tabor has wrought from rock, sand, and gnarled junipers. A featureless desert, it’s not: cliffs, knobs, twists and turns in the topography make for a creative course that measures up to many “professional” courses the big boys compete on.
The first shots not from my Fausti came from several stations over and as I walked toward the pair of shooters, I was hailed by one, a member of our training club. Pleasant Surprise #3. We shot the bulk of the course together, enjoying an easy camaraderie that comes when scores aren’t kept.
Drops started at the second-to-last station, tumbling in earnest onto sandy soil, making miniature dust clouds. We were squeezing the last targets out of our shot card when the deluge let loose. Another lucky break in a day full of them.
Settling up in the office, I was invited on a quick walk to the house where a box full of day-old field-bred cocker spaniels became the icing on a cake full of what the Cajuns call “lagniappe,” little extras that when totaled, will be recalled with a sigh many times in the days to come.