1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Old Friends

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Len in Phoenix, Jul 7, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Len in Phoenix

    Len in Phoenix TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    84
    Today my wife and I drove up to Flagstaff from Phoenix to attend the grand opening of the Northern Arizona Shooting Facility. There were speeches and smiles and lots of handshakes during the lead up to the ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbons used during the ceremony were joined together by clay targets, and a team of shooters fired a volley to break the targets and cut the ribbons.

    This range has been a long time coming.....Flagstaff has been without a clay target range since the '90's and has never had an organized rifle/pistol range. The crowd was an order of magnitude larger than expected - standing room only, park in the field and hike in. Every shooting related organization in the state had representatives at the ceremony.

    It was a bit strange for me to go back to the place where I grew up. So many things have changed. So many old friends are gone. I looked around the crowd, expecting Jack Utley to walk up with his old horse-feed bag full of shells. Ed Hopson should have been there with a screwdriver in his hand. Ray Parent and Joe Winnicki should have been there somewhere, probably talking to Don Finical about dogs and hunting. Walt Fahey and John Blady should have been there telling stories about epic hunting trips. Judge Woo should have been there in that same, old tan vest that he always wore. Bill Headstream should have been there thinking up some new way to be a rebel and make the 'normal people' cringe.

    And among these giants, there should have been a wide-eyed teenage boy. These men were my heroes. They raised me. They taught me how to shoot, how to win and how to lose. They taught me how to behave in the company of men. They treated me like an equal, but in my eyes they were Gods.

    Tim Robb was there, on the other side of the crowd. He and I, along with Steve Long, are the only ones left shooting of the old Flagstaff group. I couldn't help but wonder if he was thinking about old friends too. He had that happy/sad look, just like I did.

    I haven't fired a shot in Flagstaff since 1987. I was 17 and came home from college to shoot in the Thousand Dollar Bill shoot....and I won. My first ever 100 straight came that weekend. I'll never forget how it looked to see those red 25's all in a row, squad 1, post 1, with my name next to them. Somewhere around here I have a faded Polaroid picture of Bill Cain handing me the $1000 bill and a belt buckle with a gold coin in the center. I wore that buckle today. I didn't expect anyone to know what it was, but I knew.

    After the ceremony we drove by the construction site where the trap and skeet fields are going to be and went to shoot sporting clays. I'm not a big fan of sporting clays, but there were going to be birds in the air in Flagstaff and I needed to be there for all the old friends who are gone. As I walked to the sign up trailer, Steve Long was talking with an older gentleman who wasn't sure he was going to shoot that day. It was Bill Cain. We shook hands and smiled a lot and knew that we had to shoot together.

    I don't even remember what my score was. All that mattered was that there were birds in the air and shotguns in our hands. We talked about our children and grandchildren, where we've been, what we've done, and all the old friends who aren't there any more, but we kept coming back to our love of trapshooting and the people we shoot with. It's been 24 years and 11 months since I got to shoot with Bill and it seemed like it was just last week that we were at the old Flagstaff club.

    This whole day has been precious to me, but one thing in particular sticks out. Bill and I were talking about how we should tell everyone that we got to shoot together again, but then we realized that all the people we wanted to tell are dead. Maybe they know......

    To Jim and Hap and Tim and Dennis and all the other old friends that are still here, thank you for making my life what it is. To everyone else who reads this, thank you for listening to me ramble - and be sure to tell your old trapshooting friends what they mean to you the next time you see them.

    Len from Flagstaff
     
  2. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,630
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Nice Len. Thanks.

    I'm planning on shooting the Zone in Flagstaff next year.

    Glad to hear that the new club got a great reception.
     
  3. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,209
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Wonderful! Anyone have any pictures. Can't wait to see it and shoot there.
     
  4. MDMike

    MDMike Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    1,239
    That was a very well written piece about old friends and shooting. Kinda make me think back about all the greats I've been in the company of and found friends for life. Thank you for the revival of memories and what shooting brings to people's lives. Mike
     
  5. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    6,487
    Spent a little time in Flagstaff on a vacation several years ago. A beautiful place and the temperature is markedly different from the desert "floor". Wish I could live there. Best of luck to you.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,640
    Thank you for bringing back old (I'm 71)memories of times & places, way too many not with us anymore. Ross Puls
     
  7. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,715
    A beautiful tribute Len. It was a pleasure to read.

    Doug
     
  8. mette56

    mette56 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,026
    Location:
    Camdenton, MO
    Thanks for sharing your trip "HOME", Len. Well written and kinda took me "HOME" again to see old friends and recall those that are now gone.

    Good luck to the NASF!

    milt
     
  9. 22hornet

    22hornet Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,461
    Location:
    Hanford, CA
    What a great post. I'm going to call some old friends and invite them shooting on my next day off. Time really does fly; doesn't it?
     
  10. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,715
    "These men were my heroes. They raised me. They taught me how to shoot, how to win and how to lose. They taught me how to behave in the company of men."


    These short sentences are huge. I think young people today are adrift because there are so few left who understand what it means to know how to behave in the company of men, or dare to teach it, lest they upset the sensibilities of the youngster's milquetoast parents.
     
  11. bcnu

    bcnu Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,197
    Very well written story from the heart. That is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back to ts.com. For that one tidbit of happines or memory that is a pure pleasure to read. Good job Len.

    I feel pretty much the same way about my old frineds that are no longer with us in body. My dad John R. Johnston, Bill and Brad Lyons, Virgil Pitman, Myron Willoughby, Ted Patterson, John Rose, and Larry Rakes just to name a few that had a great impact on my youth.

    Here is to all of everyones past, present, and future that have left a mark on all of our lives. John
     
  12. Laserwizard

    Laserwizard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Madison, Ohio
    Very nice, heartfelt article. The younger geneeration today, for the most part, cannot appreciate an article like this or the wisdom/knowledge that our elders possess.

    This reminds me of an elderly fellow named Howard Moseley. He was in his 80's and a total stranger to me, but he had come to my place to look at plowing a piece of land for me a few years back. By the time he left he had talked about shooting, hunting and his old friends that had passed. He cried about their loss, his love for the lord and had testified right there in front of me, right there in the middle of the field.

    I appreciate all of the time spent with older fellows like Howard. They've got stories to tell that we couldn't dream up today, and in many cases they are just waiting for someone to tell an old story to. I was that someone that day with Howard.
     
  13. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,228
    Location:
    Mesquite, Nevada
    Just thanks for being my friend Lenny!! Knowing you, those words came directly from your heart and I consider myself lucky to be a friend of you and your family! Well written and said!

    Hap
     
  14. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,518
    To Len: Thanks. So heartfelt. We are enrichened by your post.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.