Saturday, October 27, 2007

UPDATED: Richmond Airgun Match this weekend

I've been slow to update and keeping busy with life, training, practice, work, etc.

I'm shooting at a local competition in Richmond, BC on November 2-4. The event is being held at Sportstown BC and both relays are completely full and a wait list has been started.

UPDATE: I got my numbers wrong... there are 30 positions available and 58 competitors registered for the competition.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finished 3rd at the Western Canadian Air Gun Championships

I went into the Finals in a tie with Edmond Lee at a score of 1114 / 1200. I shot a 95.8 in the Finals which gave me a total score of 1209.8 which left me short 0.7 points behind Edmond who finished at 1210.5.

The best part of this weekend was seeing my average go up. Shooting more 10s, fewer 8s and an overall tighter grouping. I shot many 9s which just missed the 10 ring.

Stan Wills shot way ahead of us with a combined score of 1241.1. I remember shooting in the early 90s and seeing Stan shoot some amazing scores. I still have yet to beat him... I will do it in 2008. :)

Later that afternoon I went to the Calgary Firearms Centre with Dorothy Ludwig and Lynda Hare to meet up with Jason Caswell to try skeet shooting. Jason is one of Canada's best skeet shooters and went to the 1996 and 2000 Olympics games.

Al Harding and Jason Caswell
Skeet Shooting with Jason Caswell

Jason gave us a quick overview of what Skeet Shooting is all about. It was definitely a great experience being able to shoot a shotgun and get tips and advice from one of the best in the sport!

A great weekend in Calgary, beautiful weather, experienced so much and had an incredible time. I can't wait to come back next year. My next competition is on November 2-4, 2007 called the Hibernation Match being held in Richmond, BC in the same building I train in.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Arrived in Calgary for the Western Canadian Air Gun Championships

I arrived in Calgary Friday morning and ventured into downtown to see what Calgary is all about. I haven't been here in many many many years, actually I don't think I've spent much time here other than at the airport.

Visiting downtown Calgary
Medal ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics were here

I started out by checking out the Calgary Tower and the various parks and buildings left over as legacies from the 1988 Winter Olympics held here. The Tower is pretty cool, then again I'm a huge fan of buildings and man made structures. I particularly liked the glass floor of the observation floor. Freaky!

Calgary Tower
Looking up at Calgary Tower

Glass floor at the Calgary Tower
Stepping on the glass floor of Calgary Tower

Later on Friday I met up with my friend Lynda Hare who I was staying with and we got to the range and went through equipment check and had about 6 minutes to practice. It felt good. The range is well lit and the target carriers are electronic.

On Saturday I was on the last relay so I would be shooting at 11:00 am and then again at 5:00 pm. The first match went well with a score of 560 / 600. I can definitely tell the training and practice is starting to get me back to my old scoring range.

In between matches my friends Lynda and Dorothy and I ventured out to the Canada Olympic Park. This was something I really wanted to see while here as I always missed getting to see it on my other visits to these parts.

Canada Olympic Park - September 2007
The Canada Olympic Park is buzzing with activity year round

We didn't have long but I got to see and experience what I wanted to see. I definitely want to come back in the Winter time. It's neat seeing the park so active in the Summer.

Al Harding rocks the bobsleigh at COP
Good thing this wasn't actually on ice... I'd probably hurt myself. ;)

The Ice House at Canada Olympic Park
The Ice House at Canada Olympic Park

The indoor training facility called the Ice House is a pretty cool facility. Literally. ;) Apparently it is the only indoor training facility in the world for sliding athletes. We got to see bobsleigh athletes training on the indoor track.

Back to the shooting range, the second match started out well but my endurance for shooting so much in one day is not up to where it needs to be. My first 3 strings were 94, 95, 93 and it got harder and harder to lift the gun for the last 30 shots. I'm going to be working on this over the next few weeks as I have a local competition coming up in November where 3 matches are shot over 2 days.

I'm currently tied in 2nd with another BC shooter and will be shooting in the Finals tomorrow morning. I haven't shot in Finals since Nationals in 1995 when I shot in the 8th position. I was still a Junior at the time but shot high enough to shoot with the Men that year.

Finals are shot to the decimal point so shooting a perfect 10 is worth 10.9 points. BC shooter Edmond Lee and I are currently tied with 1114 points each.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Flying to Calgary Friday

I wasn't able to attend the match this past weekend. I've been getting out to practice when I can and the recent changes I've made seem to be working out well.

Who would have thought moving and super busy work schedules could be so time consuming! ;)

I fly out Friday morning and will be home late Sunday night. I'm going to try and find some time during the weekend to post up event photos and scores. Stay tuned to

Friday, September 7, 2007

Vancouver's BC Top Gun match this weekend

It's been a chaotic last few weeks with a hectic work schedule and with moving. I've moved to downtown Vancouver to be closer to work, clients, etc. I'm still trying to get things sorted out in order and on top of that the BC Top Gun match is this weekend.

This weekend will be an early indicator of how recent modifications I've made to my grip, trigger, and stance are all working. I probably should have only made a few minor changes and seen how the changes worked but I've been super excited since getting back from Nationals and putting some new ideas into practice. :)

Next weekend I'm flying to Calgary, Alberta for the 2007 Western Canada Air Gun Championships. Once I get back from Calgary I'll shift into training mode again and I have a few goals I'm going to work towards. One of my top priorities will be giving this website a bit of a design change. ;)

I'm only competing on Sunday morning and need to finish moving and organizing a bunch of my boxes so I will send an update again after the match is over and the results are in.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Registered for two competitions in September

I've submitted my registration forms for two matches in September. I'm excited that I have the opportunity to attend two matches only a week apart. In Europe I could probably compete every weekend if I wanted to, but here in Vancouver there are only a few matches every year.

The first match I'll be attending on Sept 7-9 is the 2007 BC Top Gun Match. It is a 5 gun event, but until I get my firearms license paperwork finalized I can only shoot Olympic Air Pistol. This is okay though as it is my favorite event. :) I will definitely be writing about the experience of navigating through Canada's firearm laws as I go through the process.

The second event is the Western Canadian Air Gun Championships, this event will have two matches with the combined score used to determine the winner.

I'll be making some modifications to my training over the next 3-4 weeks. I'll be adjusting my stance a bit and working on my grip and trigger control. For my stance I'll be shifting my feet around so that I'm raising my shooting arm more in front of me instead of out towards my side. In the image below my shooting arm goes out directly to my right.

Al Harding Pistol Shooting Stance Changes
The new stance brings the left leg forward and rotates the right leg

As you can see from the shoe prints it isn't a major change, but the slightest change in foot position can actually make a big difference in a precision sport.

My busy work schedule is starting to pick up so I'm hoping to get out to train enough before I leave for Calgary.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

14th place finish and 3rd place in a team event

I finished the match in 14th place. Good, considering there were close to 50 male competitors and I was shooting with most of the top 10 back in the early 90's. These guys have been shooting awhile... several of these guys are on the National Team.

One of the BC Team's we entered was for the Air Pistol event. Our team placed 3rd so we got the bronze medal for that. My teammates were Edmond Lee and Mark Johnson.

I'll be shooting two matches in September, one is in Vancouver and the other is in Calgary. I'm hoping that a few more matches will help me get back to my 94% range. Getting all of my firearm paperwork will also be helpful as I'd like to be shooting 50m Free Pistol again.

Long travel day tomorrow. 2 hr drive and two flights... :) It will be good to get back to Vancouver.

2007 Canadian National Junior Air Pistol Finals

The Air Pistol Junior Finals just wrapped up with both Junior Male and Female shooting Finals at the same time. It was cool to see all 16 competitors shooting. The girls dominated the Finals.

2007 Canadian Junior Air Pistol Finals
10m Air Pistol Junior Male and Female Finals

Junior Male 10m Air:

1Matthew HendrySK554, 56194.51209.5
2Philippe TousignantQC543, 55491.81188.8
3Stuart KrantzSK539, 54793.41179.4
4Ryan WardON531, 54394.41168.4
5Jordan SamoilaSK548, 52284.11154.1
6Matthew KaoON528, 53292.71152.7
7Timothy HildebrandAB525, 53192.41148.4
8Tuo SuBC523, 53784.21144.2

Junior Female 10m Air:

1Danielle MarcotteYK356, 36897.1821.1
2Alix FindlayON365, 35694.0815.0
3Catherine ThwaitesBC365, 35790.1812.1
4Amy StewartAB360, 35887.5805.5
5Christine KingSK362, 33892.8792.8
6Shvawn ChristensenON351, 34691.9788.9
7Bailey TeitgeAB341, 34189.9771.9
8Ashley ParkerON334, 33284.0750.0

Awards banquet is tonight and then tomorrow I drive south to Saskatoon before flying home to Vancouver tomorrow.

2007 Canadian National Air Pistol Finals

Results for the 2007 Canadian Nationals Air Pistol Finals are in.

Men 10m Air:

2007 Canadian Men Air Pistol Finals
10m Air Pistol Men's Final

1Yuri MovshovichON56497.9661.9
2Steve MalyNS56694.7660.7
3Scott IllingworthAB56298.7658.7
4Jesse OlsenSK56098.2658.2
5Stan WillsAB56294.9656.9
6JP HuotPQ56294.1656.1
7Oscar DiPillaPQ55993.3652.3
8James SandallAB56091.1651.1
9Glenn OhlmanMB51891.8609.8

Women 10m Air:

2007 Canadian Women Air Pistol Finals
10m Air Pistol Women's Final

1Dorothy LudwigBC38293.7475.7
2Kim EaglesBC37797.5474.5
3Charlene JohnsonBC37697.0473.0
4Avianna ChaoON37295.7467.7
5Ena WardON37194.3465.3
6Lynda HareAB36396.7459.7
7Jana StiebSK36790.8457.8
8Filiz CakmakON36393.8456.8
9Karen Van NestON36194.2455.2

Junior Finals will be online shortly.

Monday, August 13, 2007

BC shooters at 2007 Canadian Nationals

I came out to Saskatchewan on my own but several people from British Columbia traveled out here to represent BC at the 2007 Canadian National Pistol Championships.

Kim Eagles
Alison Fox
Curtis Hampton
Allan Harding
Charlene Johnson
Mark Johnson
Edmond Lee
Irene Li
Dorothy Ludwig
Tuo Su
F. Michael Taylor
Christopher Thwaites
Catherine Thwaites

I'll post up results for BC competitors after all of the events have wrapped up. Results are also posted up on the 2007 Nationals website.

Air Pistol Finals are tomorrow morning. The Top 8 will shoot in the Finals, but with quite a few Master level shooters left to compete today I think they'll push me into around 10th - 12th place.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Updated photos and shot by shot view of my score

I've got my memory card working again so I've updated some photos on "Arrived at Nationals" and "551 / 600".

This is what my shots looked like from my match yesterday. The scoring is all done by a computer. The targets are scanned in by a reader and then accurately scored.

Al Harding shoots a 551
This is a print out of all of my shots. Click to view larger version

The software generates reports like this one that shows where every shot hit the target. It also breaks down how many 10's, 9's, 8's etc you shot. I shot 22 10's.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

551 / 600... a good score for my first Nationals in 12 yrs

I finished shooting and finished with a score of 551/600. For my 2nd competition since picking up my gun in May I'm quite pleased. The last time I was at Nationals was in 1995.

I'm happy with this score because it matches my 552/600 I shot in May at Provincials so I'm definitely establishing a solid baseline. Having practiced and trained a couple nights a week for the last couple of months has helped a lot. I know I still need a lot of work to improve on basic fundamentals as that seems to be a key area that will get me more 10's. Working on grip and trigger control will be essential for me to push my scores higher.

One of the key learning's for me at this competition is about all of the rule changes that have occurred since 1995. I had to modify my shooting glasses and reduce my left eye blinder down to 30mm. Also, the range officers here wanted to make sure wrists are always visible and my long sleeves kept sliding down. Time to buy a current rule book! :)

Al Harding shoots a 551
Old left eye blinder and the new smaller left eye blinder

I will be working on getting my gun license so I can shoot other events at these competitions. I'd like to shoot Free Pistol, which is also an Olympic event but it is shot at 50m. I think I'd be more relaxed if I shot a different event before shooting Air Pistol. Air Pistol is my favorite and strongest but having a different event to shoot a day before shooting my Air match will help me get into the right mindset.

I shot on the first Air Pistol relay and most people will be shooting over the next 2 days. I'll post up results as they're made available.

I have some photos I've taken but for some reason my laptop isn't reading my SD card from my camera. I'm here for a few days so hopefully I can get that sorted out.

Time to go explore what this city has to offer... :)