Ambush at the Caverns 1999

December 07, 2020

With attendance improving at the 1998 match, organizer's looked for more ways to improve the quality of the match as it entered its third year. The match, held October 4-5, was still improving while keeping much of what made it a success to this point the same.

Montana Ray, having lead the North Alabama Regulators through their first two annual matches, stepped aside while Rip Ford took over the reigns as the President of the club.

During side matches, sadly the outhouse funnel shoot (still trying to figure out what that was) did not make its return. Neither did the 22 shoot. In addition to the traditional long range shoot, gunfighter stage, a 5 round man-on-man shootout, and a pocket pistol and derringer side match, a new side match was added where competitors tried to see how fast they could load and shoot one round out of their pistol and/or rifle.

For the first time, Ambush had a 'theme' as the eight main match stages looked at some of the highlights from John Wayne' career. The Shooter's Book for the 1999 Ambush at the Caverns included a history of The Duke's life and career in addition to the instructions for the eight stage match.

I hope that you read through Stage 3. Paying homage to True Grit, the stage instructs the shooter to don an eyepatch, bite down on the reigns, and fill your hands as you face Ned Pepper. While shooting in the gunfighter style was an option for everyone, wearing the eye patch and biting the reigns were not - and noncompliance for either would score you an additional 10 second penalty - EACH! In this new 'post-COVID' world, I shudder to think about everyone sharing eye patches and biting onto the reigns. I just hope that everyone had a fresh length of rope they were using for the stage!

During the main match, there was not a single stage where you shot two pistols, rifle, and shotgun. Instead, your shotgun got no love on stages 1, 2, 3, and 5 which featured just pistols and rifle. Stage 4 was a shotgun and rifle only. Stage 6 featured 1 pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Stages 7 and 8 were pistol and shotgun only. They added a 9th stage as a 'posse stage' which shooters came to the line without any real idea of what was going on. Then, everyone hoped you kept it a secret from everyone else.

Round count for the eight stage main match totaled 72 pistol, 54 rifle, and 28 shotgun. You also needed 2 Pistols with LOTS of rounds, Rifle with LOTS of rounds, and Shotgun with LOTS of rounds for the team stage.

We still have not seen the first 10-10-4+ at an Ambush yet. Heck, up to this time, we are still shooting static shotgun targets - meaning golden bb's and no make-ups. Just goes to show you that all kind of things can happen when it is your turn to step up on The Firing Line.

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