Ambush at the Caverns 1997

November 09, 2020

Even before we pulled the last pieces of steel down from the 2020 Ambush at Cavern Cove, preparations had already begun on next year's event. While I am unsure of any pressures that a continuation of the COVID pandemic may bring us, what I can be sure of is that the 2021 Ambush at Cavern Cove will be a special one.

In 1997, the first 'Ambush at the Caverns' took place with temporary facades and stages that started a new tradition that, while it has evolved over the years, continues to be a date circled on the calendar and looked forward to by shooters from across the southeast. It built a tradition that I am proud to help continue today.

As I look forward to celebrating the 25th Annual Ambush at Cavern Cove next year, I especially appreciate how it has given me an opportunity to explore the history of this great event and the wonderful people who have worked to make it the success it is.

So, as we begin a series looking at the history of the match, we turn the calendars back to October 4-5, 1997. The game was a bit different back then. Many monthly matches in the area consisted of only three or four stages. A 'big' match may have you shooting five stages. But the 1997 'Ambush at the Caverns', as it was called back then, had participants shooting eight stages over the course of two days.

Back then, the club was guided by Secretary May Lillie, Vice President Hawk Spivey, and President Montana Ray.

The shoot attacted 78 registered shooters. The top cowboy was Duel Chambers of Hernando, MS who shot the eight stages in 419.70. The top cowgirl was Harmony Jean of Senoia, GA who shot the match in 693.93.

So, what was the shooting like back then? Well, to say that it is a bit different than what we are used to would be an understatement. These were stages from 'the good old days' with pistols reloaded on the clock, some stages requiring only one pistol, others with no rifle or no shotgun, and not a single 10-10-4 amongst them. You shot all eight stages with a total of 60 pistol, 50 rifle, and 36 shotgun rounds. Read the stages from the 1997 Ambush at the Caverns and see for yourself!

I hope to continue to bring you retrospectives telling the history of Ambush each month. And, for some of you old timers, perhaps give a chance to relive some of these classic matches as well.

I am missing one piece of that history, however....If you made it to Ambush 2001, please take a look around your reloading room and see if you can find a shooter's book from the match. It is the one piece of history from this match that we are missing from our archives. If you have a copy of it, please let me know!

We'll see you on The Firing Line.

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