On September 19, 2021 we had 6 members of the Jerome Jr. Rifle Team signed up to travel to Akron, Ohio to compete in the University of Akron’s Zippy Open.
We were all a bit worried about night-time noise when we saw our hotel was hosting a Wedding and a High School Class Reunion.
This year we gathered at a very nice hotel near the campus of UA on the evening before. Unlike our 2019 hotel…this year we all had a good nights rest and a good breakfast before heading out to the college. The wedding throng and reunion folks were pretty quiet. Next stop the Zips Range.
We unloaded Barry’s Big White Van and started into the facility to set up our gear for the .22 Small-bore and .177 Air Rifle events. With two rifles each and our gear bags, we take up a lot of space.
The Zippy Sign-in Desk is always a bit crowded and some of our team members buy extra Zippy Open T-Shirts.
Zach, Maryssa, Emily, Nicole, Ruby, and Elissa all had a chance to get in a photo with the Zips Head Coach, Newt Engle.
Barry met with Coach Engle prior to the start of the match to catch up on the events the Jerome Jr. Rifle team had been involved with over the past season.
The Range Safety Officer gave a brief talk about the rules and the electronic scoring system, then he started the official clock.
In addition to our Jerome Jr. Team and the Zips Rifle Team, there were other individuals and teams from PA, VA, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut and Maryland in this competition.
Coach Engle kept a close eye on the shooters and even took a few photos and video clips along the line.
The competitions at the college level brings out the best in our shooters, even though some have never shot in such a high pressure match. Unfamiliar surroundings and shooting with a new and different scoring system can rattle the most experienced Rifle competitors. Still the 10’s were abundant.
The target box has a computer generated image instead of a paper bullseye target, the shots are recorded by sound waves. This box is adjustable in height to relate to the 3-positions that the competitors shoot from.
Waiting between the air rifle and small-bore events gives the team time to relax, meditate, eat or take a nap. Some rest while seated, the rifle cases don’t seem very comfortable.
One classroom is set up for spectators to view the scores for both Small-bore and Air rifle and it’s nice to follow the progress of your team. Some shoot much faster than others, or much slower.
Parents need a break during the match, too. Some can follow the shooting activity on a live feed from their cell phones.
The Air Rifle event is conducted in a smaller range as the distance to the targets is half of the Small-bore event. The only position in Air Rifle is standing, and after shooting a full round of 22-Small-bore this match can test the overall endurance of the shooter.
During a match the Coach can be called on for a problem like a jacket malfunction. Maryssa got her gear re-adjusted and her next shot was a TEN.
The last 60 shots from the standing position, makes for a long day.
Elissa and Ruby met with Coach Engle for an overview of what it’s like to be a member of the Zips Rifle Team. Coach Engle covered a lot of questions and answers often asked by High School Seniors. After the meeting they toured the campus guided by the Zips Rifle Team members.
There weren’t many students roaming campus because the Zips had a home football game at their Stadium.
As we were leaving we heard the roar of the crowd, not for us, just another Touchdown was scored. That’s the stadium structure above.
All the results of the match are not in because the “Zippy Open” runs for two consecutive weekends. More information will be posted later.