Well it’s official. The dog days of summer have arrived. After 26 years in West Texas I thought I knew something about the heat. I always thought that the “dry heat” versus “damp heat” thing was mostly psychological - but I think I was wrong.

I’ve lived in some hot environments before but never inside a broiler oven. Whew! It’s time to find a cool spot, a tall cold drink, and a way to keep from looking like a lobster. I wanted to quickly retreat to my “Harry Potter Closet” of an office and sit under the fan. (Yes - I actually do maintain an office under the stairs.)

I know it’s hot for the humans, but the dogs have to be feeling it too. Imagine a fur coat that you can’t take off and being dependent upon someone else to make sure that you stayed hydrated and out of the heat as much as possible.

The Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department put on their official Dog Days of Summer Event at Cannonsburgh today. Laura Woods invited me several weeks ago and I promised her that I’d make it. I’m glad that I keep promises because the heat almost drove me back indoors. The dogs honestly seemed to enjoy it. Of course these are animals owned by people who care enough about them to brave the day so that the dogs could have a good time and a social experience. What some people do for their pets. My little Pappillion was grateful that I cared enough about her to let her stay under the A/C and forget the rest.

One young man had taught his little terrier to ride the skateboard with him. After a while the little dog figured how to get a free ride on his own. Don’t let anyone tell you that dogs aren’t smart. It’s fun to watch a boy and his dog. You could sense the love that existed….and it ran both ways.

Overall I’d say that the day was a success. A good time was had by the four legged ones as well as their bi-ped companions. Despite the burdensome heat everyone had a smile on their faces (at least I think it was a smile - a pant can look very similar). Maybe it won’t be so hot during next summer’s dog days.

One of my favorite images from the day was the young daughter of a friend of a friend. She was hot…sleepy…and ready to cool off like the rest of us, however, she seemed to be taking it all in through those dark little eyes.

Today was a good day. After having to overcome some serious issues earlier in the week the kids shot in the High School Championships today. The weather was not perfect, there were machine issues, and a few other problems - but that is the way things happen sometimes.

Those that shot early in the day had to face unusually windy conditions become of an impending storm. Those in the middle of the day had to suffer a break in their routine because the competition had to be stopped midstream due to lightning. Those later in the day actually had the best conditions once the storm blew through and the the wind settled down. It was almost like three separate days of shooting, but that’s just the way it works.

Emma’s team had an additional challenge. One of the moms thought that they needed some pink shirts (for some unknown reason). The kids wore them and shot well, in spite of the barrage of kidding, blown kisses, and cat calls from spectators and other contestants. It was all in good fun and, after a while, they became almost a badge of honor. Somehow I doubt if they will wear them again.

Emma and Coach Darrell Lisa and Emma

Emma’s team is doing well and headed toward the State SCTP contest in Nashville next month. They stand a chance at winning both in the Experienced and Novice categories - but the competition will be tough.

Intimidators Squad 1

Intimidators Squad 2

Emma was asked by her coach to anchor the Novice squad so that they will have someone with experience on board. It seems to have been a good idea. She shot her all time high and only missed beating her brother by three targets. Yes, he had an off day and yes she got to shoot after the storm - but it was still an excellent showing and she did beautifully.

Lisa and Peanut

Lisa made a new friend named Peanut. He is an Imperial Lassa Apso puppy. He was visiting our area from the Knoxville area and seemed to enjoy himself so much that he was just tuckered out.Nathan and the Gang

Nathan and Matt were visiting with Kenny and Jacob. The latter two are going to be coming onto our high school team next year along with another young man named Ben. They are excellent shooters and I’m looking forward to adding them to an incredibly talented team. I’m excited about our prospects next year - they might even be better than they are this year.

Matt, Nathan, and David

Nathan anchored the first squad today and they won third place. Considering that no one shot well today, I’m extremely proud of the result. We missed second by 1 target out of 500. The team that won first had the advantage of some perfect conditions during the late afternoon. While they definitely earned their spot I am looking forward the rematch at the State Championship next month. With a few minor changes and some luck I’m optimistic about a very high finish. The top five teams will advance to the Grand national championship in August.

The kids are getting ready for the High School Championship. I was amazed at how well the whole team shot today. Almost all of the scores were from 21 and 25 out of a possible 25. When you can take any five of your team, put them on the line, and they only miss 9 - 12 targets out of 125 you’ve got a good group that will be hard to beat. If the same team shows up for competition as did for practice - we’ve got a good chance at the championship.

Emma breaking targets at Big Springs
Nathan shot 146 out of 150 and Emma shot 129 out of 150. I’m proud of them both and look forward to the shoot.

It was one of those wonderful days. The weather perfect, the sun shining, and everyone was in a great mood. Lisa got her new camera out and played around for while. She found some pretty flowers, blue skies, white clouds, and all of those other wonders that we often take for granted. In a world where we spend entirely too much time inside, the outside was a nice change of pace.

flowers in wheelbarrow

I took several of my shooters to the first SCTP competition that the Fairfield Glade club had ever hosted. The facility was nice, the people were great, and it was an excellent experience overall.

Several of our regular competitors were there as well as some folks we’d never met. It was nice to have a shooting experience where our only focus was to have fun. There wasn’t any expectation of trophies or awards. I had told the team that we were there to have fun…and nothing else.

Cal Calloway, one of the coaches for the LaVergne High School team shared with me that he had stressed this to his team also. He’s such a great guy and a wonderful influence on his kids as well as the shooters for the other schools. It couldn’t have been more fun.

Lisa had quite a few lunches from Heavenly Ham and several trays of muffins left over from a function at St. Clair that had to either be eaten or they’d go to waste. Never let it be said that trapshooters would ever let food go to waste. We shared with teammates, competitors, and strangers alike. For one of my shooters it was their 4th round of trap ever and most of the others hadn’t shot very much.

Emma’s team won first place in their division. They shot well - this squad will be very tough to compete against.

Patriots at Fairfield
Nathan at Fairfield

At the end of a good day my shooters came in third and Nathan won first in B class. A pretty good showing considering we had absolutely no expectations and were just shooting for the pure joy of it.

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