So last Saturday we gathered for an opportunity to participate in a Duelist Clinic. It was super
cool to be able to ask questions and watch folks that have shot duelist at a high level for quite
some time and to welcome a new shooter into the Duelist family.
This was a brainchild and production of our esteemed president and world champion Hairtrigger
Hayes. He asked a couple of us if we would be interested and then put it up on Facebook to
make it official. Eight shooters showed up most of us shoot mainly duelist and Nonstop who
takes on Duelist as his second category when he can. Stoney Cahill traveled all the way from
Oklahoma to participate and it was awesome to meet him.
The day started with us having a bit of a chat about some of the advantages of shooting duelist
and setting the stage for how the morning would flow. We all geared up and shot a stage which
was recorded while Hairtrigger took notes for items of emphasis during the drill section of the
event. The axiom that where attention goes, energy flows was in full force. The chatter before
the event had us all talking and sharing about how often that first pistol gets holstered during the
second gun and how possibly it doesn’t happen as much as we wanted. During that first run
more than one of us had a bobble on getting that gun smoothly holstered.
After we were all unloaded we gathered around and started talking about each gun in detail.
Hairtrigger shared the knowledge and pointers that he attributes his growth and success to in
this category. Per his true character, he always mentioned who had taught him which golden
nugget. Nuttin’ Graceful came up often and made all of us a tad envious we missed witnessing
his finesse. Another mentor that was mentioned was Anvil Al. The relationship between these
two in my opinion is a prime example of what mentorship is; a relationship where both parties
benefit and grow through sharing ideas and tips. Now Anvil Al was there shooting right along
with us and so we all got the benefit of hanging out with his eye for detail and “nitpicking” to help
make us better. If you have been around Hairtrigger for a minute, you know just how much his
lovely wife One Chance Fancy plays into his world. He graciously shared how much he has
learned about athletic movement from her and how quickly she has attained success in this sport.
The topic switched to transitions from gun to gun with all guns. This was my second favorite
part. I finally had the time and space to really digest some of the things that I may have heard a
thousand times at the loading or unloading table. I always think I get it right then and am grateful
to hear it and then when it comes time to recall or use it, it is a half formed thought that won’t
clear up. After that part of the discussion, we started working on dry fire and drills that would
help with those little notes from the notecards.
I went down to the Texas Star Bank stage and worked on sliding my hands together after the last
lever of my rifle to have a bit more control as I lay (or more realistic of me throw/drop) it down.
Pepi LePeu was down at the Longbranch Saloon and we shared a moment of “Ah-Ha” with each
other as we felt something click into place. That was my favorite part, that moment of “ah-ha”
and feeling that piece sink into my head and cells. In true Nonstop fashion, the new guy (no alias
yet, he’s that new) and worked on breaking actions down into manageable pieces. Hairtrigger
ran other folks through drills that would benefit them individually. The amazing thing to me was
the sheer number of years of experience represented and the openness to learning brought by
Time to put the practice to the test. We all ran the same stage again (and again and again for
some) on video and most of the folks saw dramatic time differences. Some guys dropped seconds
off their first time. Many guys tried things that they had not been comfortable trying in a monthly
match. I wish I could say I was super amazing that second time through. I will say this train went
off the rails, must have been all those ah-ha’s filling up my head because I sure wasn’t focusing
on what was to happen next. Whatever, I have my first run to watch and use as an aid to remind
me of what some of those habits feel like and that prove to myself that I can run a good stage.
The morning wrapped up with a discussion on drills and mindset. After seeing firsthand the
dramatic shift in some of my fellow Ten Horns when they read and applied the principals Lanny
Basham sets out in his book With Winning in Mind, I have to agree with Hairtrigger that it is a
book to put on the list of must reads.
Thank you Hairtrigger for sharing so generously what you have gathered. Thank you to Stoney
Cahill for driving so far and sharing the stage with me. No Show Joe, Anvil Al, Nonstop, Pepi
and Mr. Finger you guys are what make duelist’s coolest. And my friend and fellow lefty Omaha
John, it is always great to learn from and with you. I am so grateful to be included in this crew.
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