Zot and Whoosh!

The weather is what makes, or more frequently breaks, the annual championships at Camp Perry Ohio. That’s what I’ve been told.

And this year, it was a tornado, or close enough thereto, that lent the most drama from my perspective.

We had planned to stay in Fremont, a dozen miles south of Camp Perry Ohio, for the competition but our first night there was also our last.

A tornado, while it didn’t get recorded as such, nonetheless generated very high velocity straight-line winds sufficient to knock down eight steel poles carrying 69-138 kV power to substations where it would then be stepped down to 3.3 kV and finally, via transformers hanging on power poles, to the 110-220 V that runs to homes and businesses.

Officially, the weather service says it was just a bad thunderstorm but, as it passed our hotel, my wife and I looked out the hotel window at what we thought surely would be recorded as tornado-strength winds before we took shelter in the bathroom. The worst was over in ten minutes but the damage was done.

The local power utility estimated it would be 2-3 days before power could be restored to our hotel. By the time we heard that estimate, we were committed to that hotel for that night but we soon discovered that all the windows were sealed shut so that by morning after an evening with no power, no air and only the emergency flashlight I pack for just such a contingency, our second floor room was a stifling oven. With no more than a fitful hour or two of sleep, we bailed and moved to another hotel further south in Tiffin.

(I’m still waiting for the billing from the sweltering hotel in Fremont to see what they think that night was worth and, based on previous experience in New Jersey during a storm with similar consequences, I suspect we will be disagreeing as to the amount.)

Not long after the worst of the storm was over, I drove up to Camp Perry to see how my fellow Arizona Pistol Team members had fared in their travel trailers. I was envisioning the worst and feared I would see tumbled trailers with clothes, guns, ammo, food and cots strewn across the landscape and my friends looking wet and bedraggled or, I feared, worse, much worse.

But the storm had veered away. Everything was fine in Camp Perry and nearby Port Clinton. (Sandusky was not so lucky.)

The day after the storm was the first of competition days; the CMP revolver matches would be fired. Both tired from lack of sleep and the unexpected packing and unpacking, but also pumped with excitement to shoot my first Camp Perry National Championships, my performance was understandably mixed.

And while I will soon forget the scores that day, the tornadic-winds and the sweltering night that followed will be with me for a long time.

The 2013 National Pistol Competition at Camp Perry Ohio appeared to be off to a very characteristic start.

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