Ambush at Cavern Cove 2001

January 11, 2021

The year 2001 would see a lot of changes for the North Alabama Regulators. Since 1996, the North Alabama Regulators made their home on a farm located near Cathedral Caverns. It was on that range that the Annual Ambush at the Caverns was born. However, the club would move in April 2001 down the road a bit to its 5th and current location. The move brought with it many opportunities and changes, including the match, now in its 5th iteration, changing its name from 'Ambush at the Caverns' to 'Ambush at Cavern Cove'.

Before I get too deep in the match, I would first like to thank Will Reilly. When I was given the all the shooter's books for Ambush, I went about the task of sorting through and taking inventory of them. When I went to put them all together, I found 2001 to be missing. I called many of the 'old timers' from NAR's past and folks who I thought might have one and struck out trying to find a copy of the book.

I found myself shooting at Wartrace one weekend for their monthly match. It was great getting up there and shooting with a lot of folks that I had not had the chance to shoot with in a while. Will and I were talking about this series I was putting together, and asked him if he might have the missing shooter's book. While he thought that he probably didn't, he did get a chance to look and actually find one! Not only that, he was the one who took the time to scan it in and send it to me. I am grateful for that.

So, the 2001 Ambush at Cavern Cove Shooter's Book does tell us a lot about them match. While I know that it was held October 6-7, it is missing a schedule. It is also missing a detailed listing of side matches offered during the match. So, I cannot tell you anything about side matches this time.

While the club made the move with props and targets from their old range, many of the new stage fronts they were adding to the range were in various stages of construction when the match took place. No one seemed to mind it, and they incorporated much of this into their stories for the match with a theme focused around you, the new range, and many of the characters who called the range home.

The 2001 Ambush was another 10 stage affair, however you will only find 9 stages listed in the shooter's book. Two years prior, the 1999 Ambush at the Caverns included a team stage that was not printed in the shooter's book. However, the 2001 Ambush would including the return of the "Mystery Stage" that would remain an Ambush staple through 2008. For those of who who don't remember the days of the Mystery Stage, I suggest flipping through the Shooter's Book and reading stage 10.

While the 2000 match was the first to require the use of two revolvers on each stage, it didn't require all three guns on each stage. The 2001 match was the first that required the use of at least 2 revolvers, rifle, and shotgun on each stage. I say at least because one stage required you to borrow a revolver - in a caliber not matching your own - from someone else on the posse. Don't ask me how this worked in reality, especially if there were an odd number of people on a posse, if you shot cap and ball, or if you shot revolvers in two different calibers!!!

Round counts for the 2001 Ambush at Cavern Cove were 106 pistol, 87 rifle, and 70 shotgun. Yes, they averaged seven shotgun rounds per stage in 2001. Six shells were required on six stages (with the mystery stage being listed as 6+), eight shells on three stages, and Stage 5 required a whopping ten shells. Now I remember why I still keep a slide on leather cover for the barrels of my side by side in my cart even though I have not used it in ten years or so. And we have still to find out first 10-10-4 stage at an Ambush.

I hope that you enjoy this historical look at another Ambush - albeit the newly retitled Ambush at Cavern Cove. We still have several more to revisit before we get to this year's match - where I hope to see you on The Firing Line.

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