Venado Run n Gun Recap
Venado Springs Ranch Bandera, Tx
The Venado Run n Gun was the second event in the 2021 OED Series and it did not disappoint. The event drew in almost 200 competitors across 2 days and 2 separate courses in some of the toughest terrain we could find in central Texas.
Venado Springs Ranch in Bandera, Texas is a truly special place and has given us free reign to use the property as we wish to offer our competitors an experience that is second to none. Grueling hills and terrain are met with amazing views, scenery, and shooting positions you wont find at many other events.
Weather once again loomed over us as we watched the chance of rain grow ever higher as we got closer and closer to the event. Fortunately (we still don’t know how) the rain bypassed us on both days and gave us a spectacular day of shooting with overcast skies and a nice 10-20mph wind to keep everything cool (although it was not appreciated on some of our distance stages).
10K Course Profile
5K Course Profile
Both courses had major hill climbs followed by steep descents that were not always conducive to ‘running’ down. The course mainly stayed on ranch roads but still consisted of loose shale and limestone that made you watch your footing at all times. Above is a look at the elevation changes on both courses.
As a reward for overcoming the terrain, shooters were met with tough shooting stages that forced our competitors to think, react, and move all while on the clock. As a standard, we incorporate ‘blind’ stages as much as possible, forcing shooters to find and engage their targets while on the clock. Only a brief course of fire is offered to guide them through the stage. Rifle targets were set up between 50 and 600 yards which required shooters to understand their bullet drops, or learn and adjust on the fly. Mother nature throwing in gusts of wind in and out of valleys did not make that task any easier.
Once again we set up two separate courses for our 5k and 10k events, sharing only 1 of 12 stages. The 5k official round count was 35 rifle and 35 pistol across 5 stages with the furthest target at 400 yards. The 10k course had 7 stages and an official round count of 45 rifle and 45 pistol with the furthest shot at 600 yards. Both courses had stages that required multiple transitions, off-hand shooting, blind stages, and ambiguous stage designs that forced the shooters to choose their shooting position and sequence on the clock. 11 of the 12 stages required both rifle and pistol targets to be engaged and almost every stage required the shooters to engage targets from at least 2 positions.
About the bolt carrier group….for those who did not attend the event, we set up a stage where the competitor would hand off their rifle to the RO who would stage it at the shooting position. While the RO was moving it, they would remove the BCG and position it next to the staged rifle (while not immediately visible if you weren’t looking for it). The stage, named ‘Know your Weapon’ threw a lot of people off….
The idea came from a story I had heard from some guys who had just come back from training with a special forces group. As the story goes, during a classroom session they were told to turn their weapons into the instructors who would be setting everything up for their next live fire drill. After some time in the classroom the instructors rushed everyone out of the room yelling at them to grab their gear and move. Everyone rushed out the door, grabbed everything they could, ran to the range, and tried to engage the designated targets. Unbeknownst to them the instructors had, as you may have guessed, removed the BCGs from every rifle and stowed them out of sight. The group was immediately berated by the instructors with less than kind words. The group hated it at the time but there were some key takeaways about it that always stood out:
You handed your weapon off to a stranger
You didn’t check the functionality of the weapon heading into an engagement
Your weapon is 1 pound lighter (understanding that weight would vary) and you didn’t notice it
Incorporating this into the stage had its risks, we knew that it would be unpopular (especially during the moment), and that it would cause some backup at the stage, but moved forward with it as it was something we had wanted to do for a long time. Yes, we understand this is a competition and that scores are very important to people, yet we also want people to walk away from our competitions having experienced something or learned something they didn’t know before. Our motto after all is, “Test your gear, test yourself, test the elements.”
Upon retrieving your weapon were you able to diagnose, address, and correct the issue?
In the moment were you able to overcome the anxiety, settle in, and shoot the stage or did it get the best of you?
If your weapons system is so fragile that a field strip renders it obsolete; is that the kind of system you want to be using?
In the end we thought the event was a great success. Everyone came off the course safely with no injuries' which is the most important thing to us. We have received some great feedback and will continue to work to improve out events. We hope everyone had a good time and that the feeling in your legs has returned!
Congratulations to our winners! Jonathan Foo took 1st in the 10k and 2nd in the 5k, Sterling Blocker took 2nd in the 10k and 1st in the 5k, Will Vansant, Meghan Hayden, Zach Ralston, and Aubrey Mai!
We also want to thank our sponsors, and hope you will to, who provide us support and offer our competitors some great gear for our prize tables. We have enjoyed working with each of these companies and look forward to partnering with them throughout this series and beyond.
Lastly, we owe a huge thank you to our Range Officers who spent the weekend working both courses. They spent a lot of time running back and forth keeping competitors safe and managing their stages with great success. None of these events could happen without their assistance. If you are interested in becoming a Range Officer reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website so we can provide you with all the details and perks of volunteering!
UPCOMING SERIES EVENTS
Details and tickets for our next 2021 series event happening September 18-19, the Fall Buffalo Run n Gun, are available here. We hope to see you there!