Ambush at Cavern Cove 2003

February 08, 2021

Held October 2-5 the 2003 Ambush at Cavern Cove again played host to the SASS Alabama State Championship. With Fannie Lee serving as Match Director along with assistance from Sawyer, president and CEO of Sawyer's shooting school, so much more was packed into the festivities that they needed to stretch it into four days.

I always noticed that in today’s championship agreement, championship level matches agree to NOT sell free misses. Although I never had the opportunity to shoot in a match that offered the chance to buy one of those free misses, after flipping through the Shooter’s Book, I see the going rate for a free miss in 2003 at Ambush was $5!

I also read some of the Rules and Regulations, not knowing if some of these were SASS rules, or club rule. However, as long as wore at least cowboy boots, cowboy hat, jeans and long sleeve western shirt, you met the minimum dress requirements, I guess. Apparently, in the old days, hats were mandatory, and allowing women to wear short sleeve shirts came later? don't ask me, I don't know...

Thursday was a quiet day with the biggest draw being the RO Class offered that morning. Friday opened up with side matches consisting of a shotgun match, Man on Man, gunfighter stage, pistol and rifle long range, and a fastest 3-gun. Each chance at a side match would cost you $1. Exact change, please.

Saturday and Sunday were, of course, reserved for the main match. This year’s theme, "Stars of the Old West", brought many famous gunfights and gunslingers from the silver screen to the stages. In addition to the stories from several films dotting the pages of the Shooter’s Book, it also included some lengthy biographies of several western film stars.

The match was back to a 10 stage affair, dropping the two extra stages from the year prior. There was also an additional posse shoot. Round count included at least 90 pistol, 81 rifle, and 38 shotgun. You also needed some rounds for the Mystery Stage, although I cannot tell you how many as it was not recorded. You would have also used another 10 rifle rounds in the posse shoot where you split a board in twain. Stages still included static shotgun targets, so be sure to remember to load your golden BBs.

The old bottle rack was used back on stage 7. I tried using that rack in a Christmas match back in 2019 (pictured above). These are truly beer bottle sized targets. I was about run up the nearest tree when I brought it out. I hope the shooters were able to handle their hostilities a bit better back then.

Stage 5 introduced the original Ned target to North Alabama. While many folks marvel at the large Ned target at the range today, you might be surprised to learn that our current Ned is actually the second sheet of 4x8 steel that the North Alabama Regulars cut into an asymmetrical giant of a man. The original nearly eight foot Ned was cut out of some milder steel and was retired after a few years, but he was introduced here at Ambush in 2003. Folks still take pop shots on him, every now and then, preventing him from rusting in peace on the hillside.

I hope you enjoyed another flip through the pages of history in our look at the Ambush at Cavern Cove 2003. I hope that you can join us on the range soon, where we will make some new history on The Firing Line.

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