2003 NBRSA Nationals Phoenix, Arizona

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The benchrest Nationals were held in October in Phoenix in 2003 and I’d planned to fly the Cessna T41B south to attend. A personal matter at home wouldn’t allow me to attend the entire match; I’d just be able to go for the first two days. And so I did go but didn’t shoot in the match. I just went and visited with friends and customers who were shooting and also with a couple of rifle makers in Arizona who use our barrels but who were not at the benchrest match.

The weather in Montana was bluebird-nice when I left and stayed that way all the way to the Phoenix Deer Valley airport. It is about an 8-hour flight without stops. But I did stop for fuel and I also stopped at a neat backcountry airstrip in Utah called Mexican Mountain. An oil company punched in this strip during the 1970’s to aid their exploration work. No oil was found on this BLM land but backcountry pilots use it now for recreational purposes.

The Mexican Mountain airstrip in Utah on BLM land.
The Mexican Mountain airstrip in Utah on BLM land.

The weather in Phoenix was still hot in early October. And I had a fine time visiting with friends who were shooting well at the match. One of my good friends is Butch Fisher, manufacturer of Butch’s Bore Shine the barrel cleaning solvent. The best of the solvents in my opinion.

Butch and Dan in between 100 yard Unlimited class matches at the 2003 NBRSA Nationals.
Butch and Dan in between 100 yard Unlimited class matches at the 2003 NBRSA Nationals.

My two short days at the match were soon up though and I headed back north in the Cessna. Again the weather was very nice and I decided to fly over the Grand Canyon through the Dragon Corridor and then follow the Colorado River north into Utah and over Lake Powell. Not far north of the upper end of Lake Powell there is another group of backcountry airstrips in Utah and I had the time to stop and see Happy Canyon, Dirty Devil and Angel Point. If there is a middle-of-nowhere in the United States the Dirty Devil strip has got to be close. This is very desolate but yet extremely beautiful country too. I’d really like to go back and spend more time exploring here.

The Dirty Devil airstrip in southeastern Utah. It is a short strip at 1300’ or so but with a pretty good approach for a backcountry airstrip in the bottom of a canyon.
The Dirty Devil airstrip in southeastern Utah. It is a short strip at 1300’ or so but with a pretty good approach for a backcountry airstrip in the bottom of a canyon.

I was soon home again in Montana. I wished I’d been able to shoot in the match, especially a big match like the Nationals. But then there is always next year.