The 1998 Fun & Freedom Shoot
By Walter B. Kamp II
You are extremely hot. Sweat is beading up on your forehead in little rivulets and streaming down into our eyes, stinging with ferocious intensity. Yet you grit your teeth and hang on.... Just a little bit more elevation...got to remember...lead him... As the big Browning .50 caliber M2 machinegun fires, you smile gleefully, for you have just satisfactorily plastered a Japanese A6M Zero, diving down in a strafing run, from 425 yards.
What? Nobody has shot at an A6M Zero since 1945? HA! Then YOU didn’t attend the 1998 version of the Nebraska “Fun & Freedom Shoot” south of Kearney, Nebraska! Targets included the Zero, (at 55% scale size), a T-72 “Iraqi” desert-camouflaged tank (95% scale), a genuine “Art Bell - type” UFO (100% UFO scale), a silly smiling, 8 foot tall, pink bunny rabbit with a belly drum, and several dozens of barrels, red stars, old car hoods, and various assorted steel objects. I would have included a real black helicopter as another “fantasy” target, to go along with the UFO, but there is always next year, right?
This was the 12th year we have held our shoot; as usual, it was very hot and humid. Still, 422 spectators and 94 shooters attended our 3-day event, which started at 12 noon Friday, August 14th. The range is located on Roger Well’s “WR Game and Recreation” rifle range; which is 5 miles south of the Kearney, Nebraska I-80 interstate exit, 1-mile west, then back north 1 mile. It is a native big stem prairie grass area, 800 yards deep, surrounded by cattle pasture, cottonwoods and the sheer, raw beauty of the plains.
This year’s shooters and dealers brought many different varieties of fun shooting toys. For the first time at our shoot, we had a .308 mini-gun making its appearance (courtesy of Rich Pugsley of R&R Guns and Thunder Valley Gatling, Palmyra, NE). And the crowd really enjoyed watching the mini-gun shoot up a 20-foot long belt of tracer at the Saturday night - night fire. The applause was as if their favorite football team had just scored a game-winning touchdown!
Some of our shooters/dealers included: Klaus Horstkamp (Sate Arms Gun Company, Waunakee, Wisconsin), Don Austen Wagenknecht (DAW, Grandview, Missouri), Dennis Fautch (Denny’s Guns, N. Kansas City, MO), Bob Bowman (Ramsey, MN), Brian Linde (Monticello,MN), Todd Hatcher (Hatcher Guns, Elsie, NE), Dennis Warden (Cougar Arms, Carthage, MO), Charles Emig, (Old Fontenelle Gun Shop, Bellevue, NE). Tom Hoel and James Bardwell also attended, both are known to readers of “Small Arms Review.”
Next year’s shoot will be held the weekend of August 14 & 15, 1999. We will not be changing the format; as we have designed it, we will shoot for 1/2 hour, then cease-fire for 1/2 hour. This allows plenty of time to check targets, reload mags and belts, socialize, let the guns and yourself cool-off. Since the range is linear (all shooting in one direction only), we cannot allow competition shooting over on the left range area to take place during a cease-fire, as people would be downrange. Night Fire will be limited. Tracers may possibly be restricted or even banned due to the grass and the range being a working hay pasture.
Todd Hatcher and John Boyles designed competition events this year along with area IPSC shooters. Their uphill, zigzagged course of fire was setup for combat pistol, shotgun and sub-machine gun. Todd tells me they will setup something similar for the 1999 shoot. Many shooters have asked me for some kind of “sniper” rifle or “assault” course to be setup. I have several ideas, as u$ual, we only lack $ufficient fund$. Plea$e $end me whatever you can $pare. I promi$e a mo$st unique Cour$e. (Sort of an “Alvin York and Audie Murphy” style of rifle course, with a little H.W. McBride and Jeff Cooper thrown in). ANYONE who wants to help design, setup, and then help run this beast, please contact me! (Walt Kamp, 308-236-7854).
For next year’s shoot, all shooters who attended the 1998 shoot will be given first chance to return. I shall send out pre-registration letters by mid-March 1999. Please reply within 60 days or forfeit the position. Position(s) are eight foot wide and 22 feet deep, $40 each and one shooter badge is included. All shooters must have a shooters badge. Additional shooters badges are $20. Tables rent for $20 each, except under the circus tent, where they are $30 each. Spectators are $6 a day or $10 per weekend pass. Camping fee is $5 per person. Campers are reminded to be prepared for primitive camping! No water or hookups are on premises, you must provide your own.
As to vendors and dealers, we are looking for anyone who would like to attend. You can setup their own shade shelter/awning or take a table under the big tent. We need people who sell firearms accessories, ammunition, parts, militaria and the miscellaneous minutiae of shooting. Anything especially unique, rare, or collectible; sell it or show it, come and shoot it! Contact me, please! The vendor fee is $15, tables are extra. Or you can bring your own table, tents - the whole nine yards. Any vendor can also be a shooter, competitor, etc.
Fantasy targets of the future; How about a submarine conning tower? The leaning tower of Pisa? A smiling purple dinosaur (“Barney” fans lookout!) The black helicopter mentioned? See YOU next year!!!
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