When the United Shooting Sports League’s Surefire World Championships Multigun event scheduled for last weekend in Colorado fell apart, it didn’t look good for one of the biggest competitions of the year.
“They do four a year,” Park County competitive shooter Dane Austin said. “They normally do one in Idaho, one in Las Vegas, one in Colorado and one in Cody.”
With a delicate political environment in Colorado surrounding high-capacity magazines and sponsorship unease, the world championship event found itself in need of a venue, and quickly.
“They had one in Cody a month ago,” Austin said. “Seeing as how the equipment was already here from that last match, they decided to have it here. We had three weeks to throw it together.”
The Cody Shooting Complex, as one of the few ranges in the region with the resources available to host such a competition, welcomed the sportsmen back with open arms.
The world-class, top-level event is a 3-gun shoot designed to test a competitor’s skill, accuracy and speed utilizing a rifle, pistol and shotgun throughout a variety of stages.
The weekend featured three days of shooting, plus a night shoot.
“It’s run-and-gun and transitions from one to another,” Colorado-based competitor Jared Carlson said. “Sometimes you can use a shotgun or a pistol on certain things, some things you go rifle or pistol. There are a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of different plans people come up with.”
It also takes a lot of decision making, time and effort just to set up such complex courses, and that’s where Austin and a few other local shooters helped out in crunch time.
“I shoot the Heart Mountain 3-gun range, and the organizers reached out to us to help out with this match,” Austin said. “I helped out from Tuesday through Sunday afternoon.”
Given such a short time frame, the sudden change of venue and the fact most local outdoorsmen already had plans for the week and weekend, it didn’t leave much room for error or a whole lot of help in setting up a major, top-level match.
“Safety is the number one, main requirement with everything,” Austin said. “You have to line everything out to make sure it’s the safest possible.”
With safety always a key, it’s important to set up stages that also challenge some of the most accomplished shooters in the country.
The various stages are timed with penalties assessed for a complete miss of a target, hitting a penalty target, breaking a stage or safety procedural and more.
Penalties range from deductions to disqualifications for breaking safety procedures.
Well over 50 shooters from around the country managed to scramble to cancel reservations in Colorado, and then find available accommodations during the busiest time of the year in Cody.
“It started out as kind of a disaster, and it somehow worked out extremely well,” Austin said. “For people to go through that kind of aggravation to shoot, and shoot here, tells you something.”
Of course, Colorado would have worked out well for Carlson, but he didn’t hesitate to make a return trip to Cody to do a little more shooting at the Cody Shooting Complex.
“I love Cody. It’s a cool town,” Carlson said. “Things have been going remarkably well here. We shot a bunch of terrain stages on Saturday, just running around up in the hills and stuff, and today we are doing a bunch of the stage shooting. ”
It didn’t hurt that the complex has the capability to host competitors who might haul around their own temporary places to stay.
“That’s another nice thing about the Cody Shooting Complex, they do have camping available,” Austin said. “That was really helpful.”
The USSL rents the complex for its events, according to membership coordinator Katie Brass.
Austin said the USSL would like to have an event at the Cody Shooting Complex for at least the next two years as part of its series, and locals will probably have a little more notice before the next big event.
“It was put together really quickly, and it came out really well. We made it happen,” Austin said. “Everybody had other plans, so we had a limited crew and worked our butts off. I was worn out come Monday morning.”