Includes contributions from Ray Apelles and Harold Rushton
Crosman’s “A” Team recently traveled to Italy as part of the Team USA contingent for the World Field Target Federation (WFTF) World Championship. Crosman prostaffers Ray and Hans Apelles along with Harold Rushton and Greg Sauve, respectively the 2010 and 2011 Northeast Regional Field Target champions, were joined by Ian Harford for the 3-day event on a brutal course in the mountains of northern Italy.
“You had to be half billy goat,” said Ray when speaking about the course. Harold Rushton explained, “…the rally point for the pre-match meeting was a half mile walk straight up a mountain…the course was estimated to extend over one mile up, down and around the mountain.” Winds, terrain and angles all played a major role as did concerns over equipment, making the mental battle a significant factor. Navigating the course was one thing, shooting it was another. Many of the targets required holds of 45 degrees or more, at distances up to 55 yards. Ray recalls one lane in particular that illustrated the difficulty of the course, “It was a greater than a 45 degree downhill shot over a small cliff to a relatively close target, yet the cliff edge was not so close you could see past it and shoot from a seated position, you were forced to kneel.” Using the terrain to force uncomfortable positions coupled with the treks between lanes made for a long weekend. Countering his instincts to protect his Marauder between shots, Ray opted not to carry his heavy gun case after the first day and created a sling from an extra belt. “We were not prepared for the exhaustion and fatigue of walking the course,” he stated, and that means something as Ray is quite fit.
As the 3-day event progressed, the angles and wind continued to play havoc. Shooters were allowed three minutes to fire their two shots per lane. ”Plenty of time,” explained Ray, “Figuring out the proper hold was difficult but actually supporting the gun was the challenge” due to the angles.
Harold noted that a round took five hours to complete so he made sure to keep water and snacks handy. But this was Italy. “As we were shooting, volunteers would come by the lanes with boxes of hot pizza for anyone that needed to take on some extra fuel,” he added.
The event included 150 shooters with invitations extended to regional governing bodies around the world (AAFTA is the RGB for the USA). Those RGB’s then determine qualifications to attend the world championship and direct the WFTF as to who will receive the invitations and thus represent the country.
Scores for Team USA (Day 1/Day 2/Day 3//Total):
Greg Suave, 42/40/41//123, placed 18th overall, 17th in PCP, 1 in Veteran
Ian Harford, 41/34/41//116, placed 35th overall, 36th in PCP
Harold Rushton, 33/43/40//116, placed 36th overall, 35th in PCP
Ray Apelles, 35/27/32//94, placed 100 overall, 92 in PCP, 8 in Veteran
Keith Knoblach, 17/22/27//66, placed 177 overall, 15th in Springer, 18 in Veteran
Alan Otsuka, 9/23/22//54, placed 191 overall, 158 in PCP, 21 in Veteran
Hans Apelles, 26/16/0//42, placed 201 overall, 166 in PCP, 23 in Veteran (Did not shoot last day due to weather)
Team USA, BEST FOUR, 151/144/154//449; TEAM, 186/183/176/545, placed 8th among 16 countries