Ambush at the Caverns 2000

December 21, 2020

Let me start this post off wishing you a very Merry Christmas and hopes of a blessed, and calm, 2021.

As we turn back the clocks to September 30 - October 1, 2000 for Ambush at the Caverns, I am reminded that we did survive Y2K, just as we will survive 2020. With the fears of the year changing to a new millennium and bringing about a post-apocalyptical world behind them, the fourth annual Ambush at the Caverns looked to improve a match that was already well on its way to being great.

The fourth annual Ambush also had a special incentive for the winners as it was also playing host to the Alabama State Championship. This was billed as the second Alabama State Championship. As records are a bit thin, I don't know who hosted the first one, nor who won either of them. I do know that Noah Fence took over as the President of the Regulators and Match Director, continuing the legacy of others who went before him.

While the previous three Ambush matches were all eight stage affairs, this year's match included ten stages of Cowboy Action Shooting fun. Whether it was a sign of the changing times, or a requirement needed in order to host that year's state Championship, the expansion to a ten stage match is something that many of us take for granted today. The match paid tribute (loosely) to the westerns of Clint Eastwood with each stage representing one of his classic western films. The Shooter's Book included stories and disclaimers preceding many of the stage instructions.

While the match was still held over two days, the inclusion of two extra stages both lengthened the match and shortened the number of side matches offered. The only two side matches offered that year were long range and the five-shot man-on-man.

With ten stages, the round count increased. This was the first Ambush that required the use of two pistols for all stages. However, there were still stages that did not require a rifle or a shotgun. The match required 102 pistol, 66 rifle, and 27 shotgun rounds. One memorable stage (stage 10) included you engaging a blind pistol target for five rounds. Each miss on the target that you could not see was still a 5 second miss penalty. If you moved to where you could see the target, they just added 30 more seconds to your time for the effort.

What many folks may not have known was this was going to be the last Ambush at the Caverns at the site that the match called home since its humble beginning in 1997. In April of 2001, the North Alabama Regulators would move to a new home, but we'll talk more about that next time or when I see you next on The Firing Line.

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