Over Memorial Day weekend Brandon and I flew down to the Dominican Republic to watch a childhood friend of mine get married. It was a sentimental moment for me, as I’ve known this friend since the day she was born. (Though I don’t really remember that day as I was only four or five years old myself!) But, what I do remember, and what I chuckle about when I recall it now, is how much time I spent at Jennifer’s house as a child doting on her. I braided her hair, changed her into different outfits, helped her hunt for Easter eggs, and taught her crucial skills like how to throw a decent tea party. Every time the thought occurs to me that we are both in our 20’s with husbands, I get a little bit of a shock. Weren’t we playing in the yard, like, yesterday?
The wedding weekend went down at a resort called Casa de Campo, set on over 7,000 acres on the coast, complete with a marina, golf course, and shooting center. Their slogan is “the sporting life” and you can live it here. On the day of the wedding, the groom’s last hurrah was a shooting tournament at the resort’s shooting complex.
(He very well may have intended this to be a guys’-only activity.)
We were divided into two teams and given six shots apiece in each of the two rings; whoever had the best scores out of twelve continued to the next round.
Round 1 went ok for me and I shot 4 out of 6 of the targets.
After that, things went downhill. The clays were flying so fast and I couldn’t see where they were coming from or where they were going, adn by the time I did, they were out of range.
I felt a little discombobulated and I only hit two out of six that round.
Sadly, a total score of 6 kept me out of the semi-final round by ONE BIRD. One stinkin’ bird. Not only did I not make it to the finals, I didn’t even make it to the semifinals.
And it’s totally fine! It really is no big deal. It was just a fun little competition! It really doesn’t mean anything.
Seriously, I’m not bothered one bit!
Ok, maybe I am….just a little bit. Maybe I should just stick to what I’m good at: teaching people how to throw a decent tea party.
The next morning, after staying at the wedding reception until way too late the night before, I drug Brandon out of bed at the crack of dawn and we headed back down to the shooting range. I was going to redeem myself.
The shooting complex at Casa de Campo is beautiful and world-class. Over 200 shooting stations on a course that winds through the countryside, top of the line guns, and beautiful facilities. The Hemingway Safari bar is adorable and I’m sure it would be a great place to cool down after a long day of shooting.
When we got to the complex, we were given guns, two guides, and ammo, and we hopped in the golf cart with the guides. The different shooting stations are connected by a series of trails and we drove to each.
The machines that throw the clays were hidden behind bushes and sent the clays flying into the air in a different angle each time–scurrying across the ground, flying straight up in the air like a rocket, straight at us, away from us, from the left, from the right, and at different speeds.
One of my favorite stations was Fur and Fowl, where the disks rolled across the ground mimicking bunnies.
It was pretty tough, actually, but I actually managed to hit a couple! Good to know I could survive if I ever had to live in District 12.
I bet it was all that practice I got hunting rodents on Oregon Trail as a child.
At one station, a huge tower sent clays a hundred feet overhead. This one was hard. I don’t think I hit a single one.
But it was the most thrilling station!
At another station, we were situated in a shallow bunker and the clays were thrown towards us. I got a sweet shot of Brandon smoking it at this station. (Translation: being so on-target that the clay turns to smoke.) Go Brandon!
By the end of the day, I had hit many more clays than the day before and my spirits were lifted. Blowing clay disks into a billion pieces can do that for you! I still contend that shooting sporting clays is better for blowing off steam than yoga.
If at first you don’t succeed..shoot again.
PS. I would like to ask for forgiveness for the horrid sight that is this vest. The staff at the shooting center made me put it on, and when I tried to protest, they mumbled something about not speaking English. Vests like this are one reason I started this blog in the first place—to try to show how to properly dress for outdoor pursuits. Don’t follow my lead here.
PSS. I hope this encourages all you ladies who think you’re not a good shot. Just remember, I have taken one heck of a lot of shooting lessons in my life and I even have a God-forsaken blog about this topic. Even I screw it up.