Eagle Scout fundraiser

The daughter of a long time Boomershooter has a daughter working on her Eagle Scout project and needs some money to complete it.

Here is her GoFundMe pitch:

Hello, everyone! My name is Elysia, and I’m a Scout from Troop 498. I want to be the first female Scout from my Troop.

For my Eagle Project, I want to build a eagle-perching pole on Eagle Island in Eagle Lake. A previous Eagle Scout put a pole on the island for our local eagles to perch on. It was there for many years, but it was made from a fallen tree, and eventually it rotted, and it fell during a winter wind storm. The community has wanted to replace it with something better, but there are a lot of projects they want to do, and not a lot of people that want to take charge. They were very happy when I said I wanted to do this!

My plan is to get a 35-foot aluminum flagpole and mount it in a concrete foundation on the island. At the top, I will put a lightweight triangular perching structure to replace the usual ball at the top of the flagpole. I will build the perching structure out of aluminum pipe and aluminum sheets, welded together into support arms, with some hardwood dowels for the eagles to actually perch on.

The flagpole is the most expensive part of the whole project at about $3750, but we need a pole like that because:

  • We need to transport the flagpole to the island by rowboat, and it comes in two 75-lb pieces. Wood utility poles would be too heavy to transport, even if they float.
  • The island is only 20-feet in diameter, so the pole needs to be light enough for a few people to lift it into the foundation socket without heavy equipment
  • Wood will eventually rot away, but we’re using only aluminum pole, aluminum screws and aluminum parts for the perch, so we won’t get galvanic corrosion between different metals.
  • The pole is rated for 60mph winds with a flag on it, so that should stand up to windstorms even with the perch at the top
  • It should be strong enough for 12-lb eagles to land on, but too wobbly for them to try to build a nest on it.

I hope to build the concrete foundation for the flagpole in August while the weather is dry and the lake is low. Then I’ll get the aluminum parts together to build the perch assembly, and some of the volunteers from my troop know some Boeing engineers with the right kind of equipment to weld aluminum. (I have my Welding merit badge, but welding aluminum is not like welding steel!)

About me:

  • My cultural background is Peruvian, Texan, English, and Cantonese, and my dad is a US Veteran.
  • The Hamlin Robinson School is the best school for kids with dyslexia and language development difficulties. They really helped me! I hope they can help someone you know.
  • I am learning American Sign Language, and I hope I can earn my Translator patch soon.
  • I help my grandma at the Shelton Community Lifeline, when I can. If we raise more money than we need for this project, and my local community agrees, I want to use any extra to help the homeless shelter.

After my $50 donation she has 3,920 of her $4,500 goal. Can you guys push her over the top? Donate here.

Quote of the day—PeacefulMountain

YOU DIDN’T MENTION THIS CACHE WAS DOWNRANGE OF A 3 DAY EXPLOSIVES FIREARM EVENT!

I was in Pullman on business this weekend and I made it my goal to find all the old caches in the area. I wasn’t planning on going for any caches today but when I realized I still had 2 hours of sunlight left in the day I made a run for this cache, and I was not prepared. I had only 1 primitive map downloaded, and no nearby caches.

But I insisted anyway, and I made it to the area just in time. When I turned down the paved road I discovered that there was event today, and I could practically drive straight up to GZ. But what’s with all these signs that say Boomershooot, and this line of gun stands? And what looks like a firing line. Turns out they were in the middle of a firearms and explosives event and the cache was downrange.

Luckily they were just all camping, drinking beer, and telling questionable stories about Seattle life.

I found the cache easily, and signed the log just as the sun was setting.

Thank you Joe Huffman for the cache!

PeacefulMountain
May 1, 2021
Via email from geocaching.com.
[I try to make my Geocaches a little more interesting than most.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Gene Econ

Joe, I’m going to keep coming back here until you and I can take a position on Saturday for Field Fire and then on Sunday and shoot all day without worrying about anything but enjoying ourselves.

Gene Econ
Boomershoot Precision Rifle Clinic Instructor
May 2, 2021
[Gene has been the Boomershoot Precision Rifle Clinic Instructor since the second Boomershoot event in 1999.

As he was about to leave after shooting Boomershoot on Sunday he approached me to say good-bye. In addition to saying good-bye he pointed out that we are getting to the point, “We won’t be able to do this forever and need to get some younger people to take it over.” He shared his plan for his side of things and I shared my plan. We independently arrived at the same conclusion and developed independent plans. After my sharing he told me what I now have above as the QOTD.

As I haven’t shot a long range boomer in nearly 20 years that sounds like a good plan to me.—Joe]

Boomershoot target production

Wednesday afternoon Tim, TJay (mostly) and I began folding boxes for the targets. The boxes come as flat pieces of cardboard cut and formed in all the right places to be easily folded into a box. Here is what things looked yesterday morning:

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That is perhaps half of the boxes. Kim, Jacob, and I folded more boxes this morning. Others folded still more boxes during the day.

This was the target production crew this afternoon:

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This was the result by 5:00 PM:

20210501_164126

I think there were three more crates of targets I added after this. With the addition of those additional crates there are over 830 targets with nearly 1600 pounds of explosives.

And this doesn’t count the nearly 700 targets already consumed yesterday and today. Boomershoot is, literally, a ton of fun.

Quote of the day—Kim

Gun powder and sunshine make me nostalgic.

Kim
April 29, 2021
[Daughter Kim was at the Boomershoot staff dinner last night. At the table with us were Tim and T.J.

Tim told a story about his mom making homemade bread and he didn’t really appreciate and realize big of a deal it was that she did that. When he was young he didn’t want to eat it because he wanted bread just like the other kids at school had. When he was in the last couple years of high school he liked it because it tasted so good. His mom died on the same day he graduated from high school. Because he was still young and wasn’t fully aware of how special that homemade bread was he had never told her that he appreciated it.

Kim then asked me, “Do you remember how when I was young you would take me to the matches at the Lewiston Pistol Club?”

“Uhh… yeah.”

“Well, now, gun powder and sunshine make me nostalgic. I told someone at work about this and they said I need to tell you. I hadn’t done it yet. Tim’s story reminded of that.”

There was a bit of a pause and then T.J. said, “She’s a keeper.”—Joe]

Quote of the day—Barb L.

It will be glorious!

Barb L.
March 31, 2021
[Last Friday I took the day off from work and drove to Idaho to purchase something for Boomershoot. It was delivered and installed on Monday.

It will primarily affect some of the staff making their jobs easier. It’s amazing how you do something a particular way for years never realizing how much faster, easier, and just smarter a simple change will make to your work flow.

For example, for years we made the reactive targets on a folding table (or two). Our backs hurt from bending over the tables for hours. Then one day either Ry or I realized we could put concrete blocks under the table legs and raise the table top up to a height that allowed the target makers to stand straight. Wow! Why did it take so long to think of such a simple improvement?

Another example. For the first couple of Boomershoot events the targets were placed directly on the ground. Even though the grass wasn’t very tall you couldn’t find the target from 300+ yards away. And at the end of the event we couldn’t find them as we walked the field looking for the left overs. Leaving explosives around is almost certainly frowned upon by the ATF and the neighbors. We tried double stick tape to attach them to stakes. It rained that year and the wet stakes were not stickable. The next year we make somewhat elaborate target stands out of milk cartons which were stapled to the stakes (scroll down to the fourth picture). They were time consuming to make, the staples tended to pull out, the targets would be blasted off the little stands by nearby detonations and it was hard for shooters to distinguish the target from the target stand. Finally, I realized a single #64 rubber band to hold a target on a stake worked great. It was cheap, quick, and easy to attach a target.

Those are just two of many things we have made dramatic improvements in the work flow and experience of the participants that were “obvious” in hindsight. And so it is with the latest improvement. It is a bit on the expensive side but the Biden/Harris administration (ironic, huh?) was a big help.

I’m not going to spoil the surprise for staff, but it’s going to make event setup and breakdown/cleanup a whole lot easier. Barb is correct, “It will be glorious!”—Joe]

Boomershoot 2021 apparel, mugs, etc.

The Boomershoot 2021 shirts, mugs, water bottle, drinking glass, etc. are now available for sale here.

Even if you can’t be there as a participant or even a spectator you can have a mug to remind you to prepare for next year and advertise to your friends who will want to join you next year when you partake in one of the greatest shooting adventures in the world.

Here is the image used:

BoomershootShirt2021

Don’t you just have to have a picture of Brandon realizing he was too close?

Kim du Toit and Boomershoot 2021

I have been meaning to send an email to Kim du Toit asking if he was going to make it to Boomershoot this year. He agree to be the dinner speaker last year and when we canceled it almost everyone, including Kim, agreed to just roll their entries over into next year.

I hadn’t gotten around to sending the email to verify his attendance and then, just today, he posted on his blog that he plans to attend and is in the process of preparing.

I think Kim attended Boomershoots in 2004 and 2005. I delete my registration lists after about a year for privacy reasons but I found this picture in my collection of Boomershoot pictures from 2004:

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And I found this blog post from 2005.

That was sixteen years ago. Wow! That’s a long time to go without a Boomershoot.

Boomershoot 2021 – sign up soon!

Boomershoot 2021 is a go. But will you be there?

The last day for entry is April 23rd, this is six weeks away. But the Precision Rifle Clinic and Field Fire registration closes at midnight on March 31st. That is just two and a half weeks from now!

After having so many restrictions for the last year it’s time to get out and makes some noise with the rest of us!

Sign up soon so you don’t miss out:

Some things never change

Communists will be communists and do what communists do. The following newspaper clippings came from my hometown paper of almost 104 years ago. Via Brother Doug:

IWW_June_29_1917

Click on the picture to get a high resolution image that you might be able to actually read. Or better yet, download it and open it in something you can enlarge it still more.

This was my great grandfather’s response:

IWW_Frank_Carey

As Brother Doug pointed out (I would add cities to the list of things they want to destroy):

The leftists were just as destructive 100 years ago as they are today. 
Back then they wanted to burn the crops.  Today they want to destroy the dams.  “IWW” stands for Industrial Workers of the World.  Grandpa Carey said, “boys and girls will patrol the entire section on horseback.”  His oldest son was only 16 at the time.  His oldest daughters, Ada, 23, Sadie, 20 and Pet, 18, were likely part of the patrol.

Sadie was my grandmother. At that time she, Ada, and Pet owned the land where Boomershoot is held.

Quote of the day—Powerwagon

Went to Boomershoot … with my son. He shot my .223 with my ballistic tip prairie dog loads while I shot a .243 also with ballistic tip bullets. What an amazing time. The .223 was killing the 375 yard targets while the .243 was in the thick of it at 600 to 700 yards. The next year, it was my son and me along with three of my brothers. The year after that, we added my son’s wife and my wife. What a fantastic family experience. It is really difficult to put into words the exhilaration that comes with successfully hitting those targets but is it ever fun!

Powerwagon
February 2, 2021
Comment to From a first time Boomershooter
[There are bunch of things about Boomershoot that have to be experienced to be appreciated.

Yesterday Keith mentioned:

700 yards is so far that you can bring your eyes up from your scope, see the detonation, and let out a holler of joy before the sound reaches you.

When you are shooting a paper target you don’t fully appreciate the time of flight involved. A spotter with a good spotting scope and watching the trace has a clue. But most people don’t have that experience either. And still the whole, pull the trigger, lift up your head, then see the column of dust and smoke erupt from the ground and then wait nearly two seconds to hear and feel the explosion is something quite different and remarkable.

Time of flight for a 700 yard target with a .308 Winchester shooting a 168 grain bullet is about 1.1 seconds. The sound arrives back at the shooter after another 1.93 seconds. From trigger pull to sound is a full three seconds.

Another thing which must be experienced is the thump to your chest. You feel the explosions as much or more than you hear it. Windows rattle and buildings shake miles away.

That’s for the one and two pound targets 375 to 700 yards away. I’ll let you imagine, if you can, what the 35 pound charge used to lift 30 gallons of gasoline into the air is like from 30 yards away:

Boomershoot 2019 Fireball from Joe Huffman on Vimeo.

Or, you could experience it for yourself.—Joe]

From a first time Boomershooter

I made a few minor technical corrections. Other than that this is word for word from an email I received from Brian K. about his first visit to Boomershoot:

“Go ahead, shoot a few rounds!”

A kind offer from the Boomershoot attendee I was spotting for.

His spotter had to cancel last minute, so I had the novel pleasure of walking this gentleman in at 700 yards.

Now he was spotting for me!

“I should start at the 375 yard targets,” I attempted to wimp out.

“I’m already sighted in at 700 yards. Just go for those” he insisted.

Remembering everything Appleseed taught me, I fired my first round at a 7″ explosive target almost a half mile away.

Miss. But less than 10 feet off, so not terrible.

Miss. Miss. Miss. Am I going to hit *anything*?

Miss. Miss. Hit!

700 yards is so far that you can bring your eyes up from your scope, see the detonation, and let out a holler of joy before the sound reaches you.

I scored a few more hits at 700, including a single first round hit.

I learned two things at my first Boomershoot:

  1. I am capable of far more accuracy that I know
  2. I need to practice far more than I do

Thankfully Boomershoot is just three months away and there is still space on the Sunday firing line so you can discover how well you fare vs small explosive pizza boxes at half a mile.

Imagine Boomershoot 2021

To the best of my knowledge Boomershoot is the last publicly accessible “dynamite shoot” in the country and perhaps the world. For 40 years there were one or two each year in Gateway Colorado. June 8, 2019 was their last one. Cancellation details are here.

There were a few shoots in Missouri back in the 2006 timeframe. But they have been gone for a long time.*

There are some explosives and fireballs at Knob Creek each year. But there aren’t 1,500 or more targets consuming over a ton of explosives.

Via “(no attribution, please)”:

Imagine:

On July 4th 2021, Congress passes the America’s Freedom From Fear Act.

It prohibits all gatherings of 5 or more people when shooting firearms, outside of sanctioned shooting range events and licensed hunting events.

You would now risk jail time if you went to Boomershoot in 2022, and Joe would risk far more jail time to host the event. Boomershoot is toast.

How will you feel about how you spent April 30th to May 2nd 2021, The Last Boomershoot?

There’s still space available.

Don’t wait.

We’ve had a surprising number people sign up this month. There was nothing since at least early April. Then starting on January 3rd.through today there were 11 different positions reserved or people added to existing positions,

There are still 28 positions left and if the weather cooperates I can make space for a couple more. If you are thinking you might need an opportunity to hone your long range rifle skills this is the place and time. The earthshaking, echoing, thunder of a Boomershoot target is most pleasurable feedback I know of for connecting your bullet with a target.


* There is a very sad story to go with this. It’s not really appropriate Internet material but I’d be glad to share if you ask me about it face-to-face sometime.

Lost classmates

Long time Boomershooters didn’t know him but they had plenty of reason to appreciate him. Terry Thornton owned Portogo Portable Toilets and delivered them to Boomershoot until 2017 when he sold the business.

We weren’t close but we had a fair number of connections. I went to High School with Terry and when I lived in Moscow Idaho he lived about a 100 yards down the street from me. I would occasionally see him at the grocery store and other places around town. His wife was a chemistry teacher at the high school and taught all my kids. One time she called me about Xenia. 

On December 1st Terry died:

Terrance “Terry” Thornton passed away Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Yuma, Ariz., from complications of COVID-19.

He met his wife in Moscow, and he and MaryAnn Kallas were married March 4, 1979, in Spokane. They enjoyed traveling, watching their daughters play sports, watching their son ride in motorcycle races, riding their side-by-side, hunting, boating, golfing and gambling at their favorite casinos. He also had a love for riding motorcycles, dirt bikes and his Harley-Davidson. He was always in search of Bigfoot, and we wish him well on his quest to find “The Foot.” He was happiest when he and MaryAnn were traveling and his theme song was “On The Road Again,” which he sang loudly and off tune.

Terry never met a stranger. He would say hi and wave to everyone. His friends and family described him as funny, charming, the kindest soul you could ever meet, he lit up a room wherever he went and always had a smile on his face, kindhearted, good man, excellent husband and father, one of the good ones, wonderful laugh and warm hugs, caring and loving and hero to many. He could go into a room of deaf and blind people and come out with friends.

This is the second former classmate I’ve lost in the last month. Kathy (Farbo) Deyo died November 13th:

Kathy attended the one-room school at the Yaak until the family moved to Butte and then later to Orofino when she was in the third grade. Kathy made lifelong friends while attending school in Orofino, graduating as a proud Maniac in 1973. Kathy was the editor of the high school newsletter, editor of the annual and instrumental in organizing class reunions that are held every five years.

Boomershoot infrastructure improvements

I was at the Boomershoot site this last weekend. I had two main tasks. The most important was to bring the explosives magazine up to ATF spec. The shrouds around the locks on the explosives magazine were inadequate:

image

Many years ago I received a variance from the ATF on them. I recently changed the ownership and the ATF license from my dba FlashTek to  Boomershoot LLC. With that change, for some reason, the old variance did not transfer (I know, but remember, it’s a government rule. It doesn’t have to make sense). In the mean time there were additional rulings on the use of this type of lock. They clarified the requirements for the shrouds. I needed to improve them. I bought a cheap welder that could be operated by my 3kW generator and the steel to reduce the gap by 2.5”. I made the changes on Saturday without setting anything, or myself, on fire. There weren’t even any burn holes in my pants or minor skin burns.

The other issue was the top of the shipping container was in danger of developing leaks again. I strongly considered building some sort of covering over it myself but eventually decided I would rather have a professional take care of it in a more permanent manner. I received one bid by someone who proposed a sloped roof over the top which would have cost more than I originally paid for the container. Then another guy from Lewiston suggested a layer of plywood with TPO over the top and bid $1,700. I accepted and it was installed this weekend:

image

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It should last 15 to 20 years as long as it doesn’t have a tree fall on it or something.

It is such a relief to get that done. It was really tough to even find someone to return my calls and now it is done before the fall rains and the heavy snow arrive.