Isn't It About Time & a New Catalog

As the Adjutant for my team, I receive all the Skirmish Invitations for our group. When I started Skirmishing in the 1980's, the first club I belonged to went to four shoots a year -- the two Nationals and our two Regionals. That was OK for about one-and-a-half years, and then I wanted more action. I began shooting Individuals at every shoot at Fort Shenandoah, and after getting an Enfield Carbine (still my favorite blackpowder gun of all time), I started shooting pick-up with the Carbine Teams on Saturday at other shoots. Now, I shoot ten to twelve times a year in Skirmishes, and two or three times in NMLRA events in a really good year. Every year, we seem to add a skirmish or two to a vacant weekend at the Fort, and new shoots are added to outlying facilities schedules as well. Accordingly, I have seen an increase in the amount of mail an Adjutant receives.

Recently, I received the schedule for the 99th National Skirmish. It is a standard Wednesday to Sunday schedule, with six Team Matches and various other necessary --Board Meetings, Roll Call - squeezed in. And I do mean squeezed in. Previously in this column, I believe I shared with all three of my avid readers my position that the National schedule was busting at the seams and we needed to make teams qualify for a schedule which included open Individuals and National Team Events which included only the upper and middle echelons of our sport. I am sure Mr. Crawford remembers the phone calls if no one else does.

There just is not enough time in a National Skirmish schedule to allow for everybody, and I mean everybody, to compete in hour- after-hour of Team events. There are only so many hours of daylight available in a Wednesday to Sunday schedule, and there is a lot of competition for those hours between practitioners of the various skirmishing skills.

And, that's why I want to propose that we shift the weekends we hold National Skirmishes one week later and conduct our National Skirmishes on Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend at Ft. Shenandoah.

This change in weekends would allow the participating teams to shoot Individuals all day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday schedules would not change. On the Monday holiday, Revolver Teams and Breechloader Teams would compete. Members not shooting Individuals would not have to take vacation time to shoot Revolver or Repeater Matches. Those bureaucratic assemblies could be held Sunday evening after Phase II of the Musket Match, when there is more time. Additionally, when something has to be added to the schedule, Friday afternoon would be completely free. That is the beauty of this schedule, it is more flexible then our current, tightly choreographed schedule. There is room to add Smoothbore Team Matches (Sunday evening), and it allows the "all must play" precept to prevail for many years to come.

When Skirmishing was young, it wasn't particularly a "family" sport. Until this decade, women were not members of the N-SSA. Historically, our schedule reflected a perceptive and prudent avoidance of infringing upon likely family holidays and weekends. As we have progressed and grown, skirmishing has become a family sport (and a lot of those women shoot better than me!) and is less likely to suffer poor attendance due to a holiday schedule.

This proposal really only shifts Revolver and Repeater to Mondays. The Individuals would still be posted Saturday evening, Musket would still be incorporated into the Sunday routine. I wouldn't be surprised if this proposal actually lets a lot of members use less leave to do their skirmishing, and isn't that a good thing?

Having just competed in the Marriottsville Invitational Skirmish, I returned home to find the new S & S Firearms catalog in my mailbox. The folks at S & S do a great job with the photography in each catalog (I have several) and the new 1999-2000 is the best one yet. If you only shoot, collect or tinker with Civil War guns, I dare say that this catalog might well be the only catalog you ever need. With 150 profusely illustrated pages, the new catalog includes parts for every American martial arm from the Model 1816 Musket to the 1917 U.S. Enfield. The new catalog is easy to read, well illustrated and easy to use. You can get your copy of this fine catalog for only three Yankee dollars from S & S Firearms, 74-11 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale, NY 11385.

Readers will be enjoying the warmth of a new Spring as you read this, and we will only be weeks away from the 99th National Skirmish. Two Regional Skirmishes will occur at Fort Shenandoah in the time it takes to mark-up, layout, print and deliver this issue of the Civil War News. The registration deadline for the 99th will have passed by the time you read this, so I hope you ordered lots of paper targets and your Team is preparing to make great strides at the next National. Until then, mon frier, promote the safe ownership of guns, shoot safe and have fun.

1999 by Tom Kelley

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