3-Gun Nation’s latest blog comes from 3GN Pro Nick Atkinson.
When I arrived in Tulsa for the 3-Gun Nation Pro Match #3, I had no intention of being involved in any of the elimination rounds. My style of shooting lends itself to consistency and deliberate actions. However, a couple of slip ups in the new format and it doesn’t matter how solid of a shooter you are, you better get ready to fight for your competition life.
The day started with interviews and practice. At the match, I had three goals: First, make it past stage one, so I did not have to re-qualify for next year. Second, make it to the final two. Finally, win the match. To achieve my first goal, I spent most of my practice time on stage one, practicing “The Death Star.” My practice could have been a little more evenly distributed, and may have been part of the reason I had a scramble for my spot all night.
Stage one rolled around and I felt like I had a somewhat solid run. Ironically enough, I didn’t run “The Death Star” near as solid as I did in practice. The results of the stage put me in the bottom 3 by .05 seconds! Yes, five-one hundredths, not five tenths. While I was getting my gear ready to shoot the eliminator for stage one, I made a nervous joke to Rob Romero (3GN Director of Competition), that I should just go to all the eliminators, so I could get my money’s worth and more exposure for my sponsors. Rob quickly reminded me that, that would be fun … as long as I won them all too. I put in a solid run in the eliminator and was able to move on to stage two.
My lack of practice showed on stage two and about half way through my run, I knew I was going to be in another eliminator. In the second eliminator, I shot one of my best arrays of the night and moved on to stage three. Stage three felt a little more solid, but only the top time moved on, without having to go to the eliminator. You may have guessed by now, that I was also forced into the stage three elimination round. Suddenly, my joke with Rob wasn’t so funny anymore. Luckily, I was able to lay down another smokin’ run in the 3rd eliminator, and moved on to the finale.
In the finale I put up a good fight, but couldn’t pull it off. It wasn’t until after the finale, that I realized I had accomplished two of my three goals for the night, and my fellow competitor and friend, Andy Peterson, pointed out that I was the one responsible for sending everyone else home. Nick “The Eliminator” Atkinson, my nickname that lasted for about fifteen minutes … but it sure felt good and made for some fun shooting. For a short match with only a few competitors, I learned a lot. It was an exciting night and I can’t wait to do it again.