The 2012 Bianchi Cup: A Slice of American Recreational Shooting

   05.25.12

Day two of the Bianchi is a busy one. Opening ceremonies are over and the ranges are settled down and getting the stages fired. Most competitors have two stages to fire today. I had the mover at 8:53 a.m. and the Falling Plates at 3:00 p.m.

My go at the mover was much better this year than last. I was calm and collected and visualized shooting sporting clays rabbits with my XDM. I was relaxed and it was really fun; so much fun, I’d have liked to have done it again. Once again, my score was not going to cause anyone to worry but I far exceeded last year’s performance, so I was jazzed.

The Falling Plate stage was a little tougher. Before I went out there I got a good coaching from my friend and pistol trainer, Chris Cerino. Focus on one plate, the one you’re shooting. Hit it before you move on to the next one. It was good advice, though like a lot of advice, hard to follow in the heat of the moment. As I stood on the ten yard line with my hands in the surrender position, I wondered if my gallery of my wife, Cherie, Chris, and Colton Cerino were noticing the little shake in my hands.

Iain Harrison and Chris Cerino of Top Shot fame get into the zone for the Practical.

Performance pressure is an interesting thing. Mentally, you can simply brush it off, but it comes back. I took a big breath and waited for the buzzer to sound. The awareness of the sound found me going for the gun with of another piece of Cerino advice, move fast and shoot smooth. The sights lined up and the first plate fell, then the second and suddenly, there was only one left; I missed it. I missed it because I was thinking about how I was going to clean the stage and didn’t focus on the shot. Great advice, given just before going down, ignored in the heat of the moment.

While some might think this would be frustrating, the fact is, it was both fun and invigorating. I didn’t do as well on the plates as I thought I would but my first two matches had been better than I expected. The opportunity to improve was dazzling and as I gathered my gear, I was thinking of all the ways I could have improved in this match, alone. If shooting like Rob Leatham, Doug Koening, or Bruce Piatt was easy, there would be no attraction. My score wasn’t as good as I wanted but it was better than last year. In fact, everything I’ve shot has been better than last year demonstrating the value of experience in any shooting discipline.

A great example of poise in action is Molly Smith. Molly is shooting her third Bianchi Cup this year at the age of 15. Molly probably weighs about 75 pounds but she shoots a revolver like a pro and I followed her through the Practical Match. Both fast and demanding, the practical begins at just ten yards and ends at fifty. Molly proceeded through all the stages like a pro and like the teenager she is, she finished and came back for a hug from Mom.

 

Molly Smith and her mom. At 15, Molly is a fixture at the Bianchi and her bubbly personality makes her a favorite.

From the pros, to the kids, to the old men like me, the Bianchi is a slice of recreational shooting America. As diverse a group of Americans as you’ll ever see, brought together by the love of shooting and sharing ideas, advice, and friendship. That’s what the Bianchi Cup is all about.

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