Have Fun At Camp Perry!
I was 12 years old when I first attended the Smallbore Nationals at Camp Perry. It was the biggest match I had ever been to at the time and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. However, the nerves quickly dissipated, and CP became the highlight of my summers for the many more years. With all the excitement for the return of Smallbore back to Camp Perry, here's some advice to make sure you have as much fun as I had.
- Talk to People- Camp Perry has a different kind of environment than most matches. An ordinary smallbore or air rifle match consists of getting to the range early, rushing to get everything situated, shoot, pack, and go home. That's not how it works at CP. Between relays, go meet people! Hanging out alone in your tent is boring. Walk up and down the line and introduce yourself. We're all shooters so it will be pretty easy to find something in common with them. Many of my friends today are people I met at Camp Perry. You'll see most of these people throughout the year and shooting is way more fun when you know that even if you're on the other side of the country at a match, you'll have friends there.
- Commercial Row Never Gets Old- Most of the stuff we like to buy can't be found at your local department store. If there's something you've been eyeing online or in a catalog, now's your chance to actually see it in person before you buy it. Ben and I will be at the Creedmoor Sports store next to registration so feel free to stop in and hang out. The best thing is, the stores have AC!
- Andy's Party Mart- Wondering where people go after the shooting is done for the day? Go across town to Andy's and you'll see a long line of shooters waiting to get their nightly ice cream cone.
- Cornhole- The real competitions begin once the last shots are fired. Cornhole boards are set up all over the base and it's taken very seriously. I think people check their Natural Point of Aim more often during cornhole than during their kneeling stage.
- The Pier- Evenings on the pier with a fishing rod are a blast. Just try to avoid the bombs dropped by the seagulls. Someone will tell you it's good luck, but don't believe them.
- Stay on Base- You miss out on a lot if you're staying off base in a hotel. Yeah, you might have a pool and be closer to restaurants, but nothing beats cooking out and hanging out with other shooters.
- Bring a Bicycle- You'll be doing a ton of walking that week. Give yourself a break and bring a bike. Watching an MP zoom by in a golf cart while you've been walking for a half hour in 90 degree heat just to get to your friend's hut can be demoralizing.
- Bug Spray- The Mayflies are harmless but make a ton of noise when you walk across thousands that land on the sidewalk. They also smell awful. However, the mosquitos are nasty. Around 7pm, you'll start getting bit and they won't stop. You'll be spending most of your time outside so just be prepared and buy the good stuff.
- Ask for Discounts at Restaurants- You'll see a bunch of signs around town that say "Welcome Shooters!" Be sure to ask if they have National Matches discounts. Port Clinton is very supportive of the events at Camp Perry and I know a lot of you really like discounts.
- Don't Be Worried About Score: Camp Perry is an event of its own. You may be an 1150 shooter but anything is possible with that wind and rain. Just do your best and don't get upset if you have a flyer. There might even be a day where the best shooter is just praying to keep it in the black.