Boomershoot capacities

For the last two years I have been trying to increase target production and once I felt I had excess capacity I was going to get the cat (bulldozer) out there to expand the shooting line so I could handle more shooters.

This year we finished target production with more targets per unit time than ever before. And we had many targets left over after the event even though we had more shooting hours than usual. And I shut down target production at 1500 on Saturday. We finally have the target production up to a level where we could handle more shooting positions.

That was the plan. But it turns out there are other limits to our capacity that became (more) obvious this year.

  • Target placement. Even after doubling the space at the tree line we have room for about 500 targets there. That is just barely adequate. We had 350 targets on the hillside which was about right. I don’t think we can safely expand either target location without moving a lot of dirt.
  • The Saturday night dinner maxed out the Ponderosa last year with about 65 people. They claim they can handle 100 but with our setup for the raffle 65 was crowded. The VFW building had more space but we had 93 people sign up for dinner this year and we maxed them out too. There is one other place in town that has more space but they are already booked for the last weekend of April 2010. It might be that we can rent the high school cafeteria or some such place but I haven’t looked into that. I can also get the caterer to set up tents and tables and do it on-site for a fairly reasonable charge. But cringe at the thought of trying to do that in a 30 MPH wind with snow and hail coming down like we have had some years.
  • The caterer for the Sunday lunch asked if we could break the shooters into two groups, say positions 1 through 38 and 39 through 76 and send them to the roach coach about 30 minutes apart and take 90 minutes total for lunch. There are just too many people for them to handle in a timely manner.

After talking to Barb about it for a bit (she is the one that attempts to inject some pessimism/reality into my visions) I think expanding the shooting line capacity would be the wrong thing to do. I should improve the experience for the existing shooters instead. The most obvious thing to do in that regard is to make improvements to the shooters berm. It is too uneven and doesn’t have enough depth in places.

Another possibility is to make it easier to quickly put up more dingle berries. Many more…


10 thoughts on “Boomershoot capacities

  1. Do more than one a year. That way nothing else needs to change really and it sounds like it’s working OK atm.

  2. Do you know how much time it takes Joe and our son-in-law and daughters to make this happen once a year? Do you know how much vacation time Joe uses over the year make this event turn out? Do you think that I enjoy picking up trash and cigarette butts late on Sunday? I enjoy seeing people have a good time but once a year is enough!!!!

  3. It was a job well done Joe.

    Btw, while I’m at it – major thanks in particular to:
    – Joe, Barb and the extended Huffman family for hosting this and making sure everything was run in a safe and enjoyable way. And for tolerating us 🙂
    – Dave and Vance – your generosity was greatly appreciated.
    – The other Dave (.22LR Winchester on the friday clean up)
    – Ry for making the b@stard targets.
    – The guy next to Ry who was shooting the .50 cal. We had an interesting conversation about the ammunition he was using.
    – The cooks!
    – The two motorcycle riders who were at Boomershoot for keeping me company on the way back.

  4. Yes. Many Thanks to all involved.

    Barb; We love you for it. And yes, the neighbors might not appreciate it either.

    That said, you could install an air strip, and four-star hotel with swimming pool and multiple hot tubs, paved outdoor dining area with covered tables, a riding range with horses, a 15-lane bowling alley, shopping mall, gun store with resident gunsmiths, motorcycle rentals, helicopter flight tours…well, you get the picture.

  5. First, why is ANYONE having to pick up cigarette butts? I have no issue with smokers who smoke where I don’t have to smoke along with them, but anyone who creates work by not taking care of their own garbage needs a serious talking to!

    Joe, maybe a new rule about leaving the place better than we found it is in order? I know that we tried to clean up all our garbage, all the wrappers, bottles, etc. around our area. We even picked up quite a few that were left by clinic shooters around the two “blue tops”. Barb, I apologize for those who were so thoughtless, and I will do my part to remind them to pick up after themselves!

    Second, Joe, this is a premier event, as you well know. The facility is amazing, and the work you have done so far is spectacular! Yes, the berm could be improved, especially for the long, tall guys like Monte and I, who tend to continually slide backwards down the berm. But part of fun is taking something that isn’t perfect, just like the old time shooters had to do, and making it work for us! I even saw someone bring several bags of sand to level and cushion their spot on the berm!! I hope it never reaches the point where there are permanent coverings, concrete, or other permanent emplacements over the berm!

    As far as a bigger field of fire, is the area to the direct right of the current long target area not useable? I’m talking about the area between the current area and the plowed area. And splitting lunch won’t help much, because the target gnomes have to set new targets at lunch, don’t they?

    So, for me, the work on the berm makes sense, and maybe enlarging the upper target area if possible and if lots more dirt doesn’t need moved, but keep it reasonable, and take Barb for a real vacation!!

    Dinner was fun, and maybe the High School cafeteria makes sense. Surely they have more room?

    Finally, I can’t thank you and your family, Ry, and all the others that make Boomershoot possible enough!!

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

  6. Barb, Joe writes about the work he does and I agree it is a lot more than I could ever commit too. However, this post sounded like he was looking for making it bigger and thus even more work anyway. I was just suggesting an alternative option to resolve the issue over numbers. Making it smaller and spread over more days sounds easier to me but I stand corrected.

  7. One more comment. The size of the boomer should be inverse to the size of the “boom”. A 3″ target should make a BIGGER boom than a 7″ target. The harder to hit it is, the bigger the visceral reward should be!! Figure that one out, though!!


  8. Joe, here’s a thought: why not add more steel silhouette targets and/or pop-ups on the right side of the firing line? Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the sound of boomers in the morning, but if the goal of Boomershoot is to make people better long-range shooters, surely “clangers” would do as well as “boomers”?

    I for one (assuming I can ever get the cash/spare time to attend again) would happily consign myself to steel instead of to boomers — I’ve touched off boomers, but I found the last time that I got almost as much pleasure from ringing the gong as I did from a splody. Certainly, the Son&Heir felt likewise, and I’ll bet some of the old-timers would agree.

    Also, it would allow people to shoot “non-boomer” ammo (i.e. of lighter caliber) and still get a result.

    From an organizational perspective, steel targets would also require less effort from you and your staff (blessings be upon you all).

    Am I completely off base, here?

  9. At this time the number of targets isn’t really the limiting factor. We had excess targets this year. The most obvious limitation is the number of shooting positions.

    And we do have a fair number of steel targets out there. And, as you might imagine, they are very popular.

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