By Tank Hoover
June 16th, 2018, Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain, a 67 acre spread, surreptitiously hidden in the rolling hills of western Maryland, was the scene of yet another Shootout. With smoke wafting through the air, numerous heavily armed vehicles responded to the property infamously known for gunfire!
As more vehicles went on-scene, the smoke grew thick…only this smoke was different, even aromatic, you may say, setting salivary glands into overdrive, as the succulent smoke led to lots of drooling. Head camp cook, Terry, was cooking pork sausage, bacon, eggs, taters and toast, to perfection to stave-off “grumbling stomach syndrome.” A large cauldron of coffee was also present, to keep the “grumpies” at bay and jittery nerves neutralized for this grizzled group of gulpers.
Terry cooks as the shooters respond.
Lunch is smoking away while we enjoy a hearty breakfast.
The firing line, complete with tents, at the ready.
Mess tent, complete with table and chairs.
You guys know Bill by now. He’s my buddy who’s living the dream living on top of his own mountain. Here are a few stories to refresh your memory.
Bill’s a retired state trooper and has been hosting a “Shootout” of sorts the past 23 years. Each year he manages to outdo himself. What started as a casual get together, blasting water jugs, has grown into a well orchestrated symphony of steel targets, catered breakfast and lunch, complete with tents, tables and chairs, to souvenir ball caps and coffee mugs, acknowledging this “Shootout of Friends.”
Bill will be turning 76 by the time you read this, but he has the attitude and sense of humor of a mischievous teenager. He is rich in friends and enjoys sharing his property. For years, he allowed the Boy Scouts to camp on his property, earning merit badges along the way. He aptly named the area “Scout Hill.”
Many of these ‘scouts now attend the Shootout themselves, as adults. Many have gone into law enforcement or the military. One shooter I met this year is an Army helicopter pilot and actually landed his craft on Bill’s property during a training run. Bill was tickled to say the least, then jokingly told him to “get this thing off my lawn, you F%#)*&^# #^$*&%@_+?” in true Bill fashion.
Old Glory, waiving in the breeze!
Shooters, young and old alike, are welcomed.
The line is hot!
The Master of Ceremonies, Head Honcho and Host… Bill!
Cast Of Characters
Most of the attendee’s are long retired state troopers Bill worked with, along with other cops he met along his way. The locals are also well represented, as well as the grown scouts I mentioned, and now, a second generation of shooters from some of the original cast.
This is great to see, the perpetuation of our chosen obsession. It’s also interesting to see some of the new gear, gizmo’s and gadgets the younger set is into. It breathes new life into us who have been around awhile. Learning new things, especially pertaining to what we love, keeps one alive, interested and up to date.
While the younger set is into Glock pistols and AR platform rifles, a noticeable shift is taking place with suppressed long-range rifles. These guys are plenty comfortable plinking at itty-bitty targets a long ways off. Many shoot at 1,000 yard ranges to test and challenge their doping and shooting abilities. Pretty neat stuff!
Ready to shoot!
Rifles of all types were well represented. Here’s a Ruger American in .308 that shot exceptionally well.
Overview of the camp compound.
The view from 400 yards.
Eat, Shoot, Repeat…
Only eating, or story telling interrupts the shooting. Around 1 o’clock, a cease-fire is called for lunch. Again, Terry displays his culinary skill with smoked pork loin and beans, sausages and an array of sides that complement the main course.
The look of contentment…
Lunch is served.
Souvenirs from past Shootouts — may there be many more!
What It’s Really About
When you get down to it, hanging out with like minded people, who enjoy the day shooting guns of any make, style, action or era, while eating good food and telling a few stories or two, is what it’s all about. This kinship refreshes the soul, making us proud to be shooters, as we relish the camaraderie.
As Bill sarcastically stated, he’s amazed at how far and wide his friends will travel for free food, drinks and a place to shoot. I’ve noticed, as we all get older, we seem to shoot less, while enjoying the company more. We tell stories, catch-up and savor each other, talking of course about guns, our families and future plans. Sure, we still enjoy shooting, but now we have different priorities.
Lessons to be learned here are if you have a place large enough to shoot on, invite some friends over and have your own shootout. Add a grill, some meat and beverages and make a day of it. Life’s too short not to enjoy your friends — we never know when the last trigger pull will be for any of us. Don’t fret, enjoy each and every day, while you can. Take it from Bill — he’s got his priorities in place.