BEND, Ore. -- Yes, this is a pic of my arm. And yes, I am an incredible dork for using a dateline in my blog.
See that little bruise? That came from a couple of shots out at the skeet-shooting area of Lake Houston. OK, it was more than a couple of shots.
I was flat awful. (But, in my defense, I can't ever recall shooting any kind of gun ever. But, admittedly, that provides only a little cover.) With every new twist to the exercise, I came in dead last.
Quick backstory: Lake Houston is a huge chunk of property that my wife's uncle Jeff - he of Robberson Ford fame - is a part-owner of. It's a wonderful swath of land, as tranquil as can be; and there is an actual Lake Houston too, a very-much lake-sized body of water. Jeff and his wife, Margie, and family friend Muro were heading out to the lake to do some training exercises with their dog, Bella, an expert hunting dog. So we met them out there.
After Bella retrieved a few decoys from the lake, Jeff offered to let us shoot a few clay pigeons. We were game, so we made the drive from the log cabin through a considerable herd of cattle (a farmer rents the land from Jeff and the others) to an isolated area a mile or so away.
We loaded up Jeff's truck with all the necessary equipment and headed out. As we were setting up, Jeff realized he hadn't gotten the necessary ammo. So he and Bob, my father-in-law, headed back to retrieve it, leaving Muro, my wife and me.
Muro brought along his .22 (I think that's what it was), used mostly for small game like rabbits. He set up a target about 60-70 yards away, and we took a few shots at it. Muro, as to be expected, needed like one shot. My wife needed only a few; I needed a lot more. I did finally manage to hit the target, only after cheating a bit and resting the barrel on the clay pigeon shooter; though I later did hit it standing as well.
By that time, Bob and Jeff had returned and we brought out the big stuff. After a quick lesson in safety, we took aim.
As you can probably imagine, most of the clay pigeons were safe with me at the point.
We all took turns: Jeff and Muro consistently hit dead-on. Bob was a little less consistent, but still solid. My wife hit one of her targets pretty early on, leaving me as the only 0-fer. Yet she failed to inspire me, and I kept missing.
"I can go as long as you want," Jeff told me, "but I do get a little antsy around cocktail hour."
After a few technique adjustments, I was still batting .000 but feeling more confident. We had two different shotguns, an automatic and an over/under. Finally, with the automatic, I scored my first hit after about 25 tries or so, though it felt like 700,000.
I also managed to nick a pigeon later on as we were rolling through the last few shells. But hey, that counts.
The kick wasn't nearly as bad as I expected; I guess I didn't know what to expect, but I figured it darn well might knock me over. Still, it was enough to leave with me a considerable bruise as you can see; yet I'm proud to wear it like a badge of honor.
Later on this morning, we'll see how it affects my golf swing. Then again, I'm bad enough that it'd be nearly impossible to tell the difference between my injured swing and my healthy swing. Suck + suck = suck.