Wow, that just happened. The first ever Ignite Trekker is in the books. I’m sure everyone woke up this morning with a painful satisfaction that is only known to those who have completed such an event. I’ve set-up some pretty outside of the box stuff in the past, and I’m pretty much numb to being told I’m crazy at this point, but this match raised the bar to a whole new level. The wildest part of the whole thing is I’ve never seen this done before. I’ve seen man-v-man shoot-offs on TV. I’ve been to national 3-man 3-gun team events. While those events were new to our region when we put them on, someone else had vetted the concept first. There may be other events like this somewhere else in the country, but I’ve certainly never heard of them or see them.

This event was literally a blank sheet of paper that began to fill with thoughts and ideas gathered from the greater MN 3-Gun community. I credit the initial idea to FLSC manager Ron Westberg. As best as I can recall, he mentioned it on a Gator ride while we were shuffling equipment around for the Nordic Shotgun Championships this past summer to do some kind of facility wide terrain match. The challenge with all these things is constructing a format, and then a fair and consistent scoring system. Next there comes the challenge of fitting that idea into the confines of available resources. The brainstorming went on for a few months until one night, around a table of fellowship with other shooters, Andre Desautel of JP Rifle’s made mention of Olympic Biathlon. That was the epiphany moment, and the very next day plans set in motion for what would become the Trekker.

As an event coordinator, I am extremely excited by how well this event was received. For as athletic as the shooting sports really are, shooters generally don’t consider themselves to be athletes. So here we were turning the athleticism up to 11, and the big question was how the community would receive it. With good weather, the greater Minnesota 3-gun events can draw anywhere from 40-80 shooters on any given Sunday. We were excited to not only draw 30 people on a wet and dreary December day, but also a pretty diverse cross section of the community for this new pilot-idea of an event. We had everything from elder statesmen of the sport (I say that with extreme reverence to those individuals), to Go-Rucker’s trying for 10 laps, to vets in their load bearing vests, to enthusiasts just trying for a personal best. Most exciting of all was that we even drew some folks completely new to action shooting for their first event. Part of our hope for Ignite’s ethos of expanding the athleticism of the sport is to reach new segments of folks and draw them into the fold, so I am extremely excited to see those folks turn out for this event.

As a participant I am also extremely stoked on this event. I’ve been fortunate enough to go a lot of wild places and do a lot of crazy things in the shooting sports. This event definitely places in the top 10 of my favorite events to date. This is not because it was my event (actually that usually has the opposite effect for my personal shooting), but because it was a completely different dynamic than is typical. Here is an event where you are locked in the zone with your game face on for two hours straight…two hours of “you’re turn.” Another addictive element of the Trekker is the thrill of the chase. Trekker is a much of a race as anything because you share the course with other active competitors on their own quest for glory. The aspect of staying ahead, keeping pace with, or passing other shooters was a thrill I’ve never known in the shooting sports before yesterday…and it’s a rush.

Some 20 plus hours later, my legs still burn from the 10 minute drill for “ONE MORE CHECK POINT!” at the end of my run, but all I feel is thankful for a successful match and all the folks who turned out in bad weather to help put this match on. Half a dozen of those folks even turned out just to volunteer as staff and not participate for themselves. A huge thank you to those folks! A special thanks to Jomar for automating the renegade scoring system and taking on stats duties. I also want to thank Gunfighter Targets and MN 3-Gun Group for donating use of supplemental targets, and of course our dear friends at Vortex Optics for donating the T-shirts for score cards!

There will for sure be more Trekker events in the future. In spite of all the running, a look at the results confirms that marksmanship still won the day. This weekend’s event was the base of the concept, but there are several directions we could go with it. Will they take on more Tough Mudder influence, or somehow incentivize a brisk pace while still remaining a game of marksmanship? That is currently open for discussion…