As we do every Friday, a group of old retired guys meet at the Oaktree Gun Club to shoot trap and skeet. This summer, Don Majors decided that his grandson, Hunter Majors at eight years old, was old enough to learn how to shoot skeet.
Don has a single shot .410. This is a small caliber shotgun which has very light recoil, and because it is a single shot, it is very safe and easy for Hunter to use.
Hunter was doing pretty well on Friday morning when grandpa Don noticed that a lady, Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medal winner, walked by on her way to the next skeet field, which was designed specifically for her. Kim is the only athlete to ever win a medal in six consecutive Olympics beginning in 1996. Don asked Hunter if he would like to watch her shoot.
Absolutely he would!
This is one of the few locations where you can be within 20 feet of an Olympic athlete when they are practicing and watch them work.
This field was built for her to use because International skeet, which is shot during the Olympics, is a much faster game than American skeet. American skeet targets fly at 50 mph, while International skeet targets fly at 65 mph. There are also two targets released simultaneously, so you can appreciate the skill of the shooter.
At one point the shooter stands in the center of the field which is 42 feet wide and both targets are in the air at the same time. They are coming from two towers which are 21 feet from the shooter, 180 degrees apart. The reflexes required to hit two targets coming from this angle at 65 mph is amazing.
Besides being an elite shooter, Kim is a very nice, down to earth person who will talk to bystanders and answer questions when she is done practicing for the day. She shoots in excess of 500 targets per session and she does this almost every day because, like any professional athlete, to stay on top of her game she has to shoot that many targets. Golfers, tennis players, runners, any athlete in that class, has to continually practice.
Kim’s father is her coach and he is always at the training sessions. He, like Kim, is approachable and friendly. At one point he turned around and saw Hunter standing there, in awe, watching Kim shoot. He walked over to Hunter and he asked him if he would like to release some targets for Kim. Of course he said yes and was given the controller.
Hunter walked out to where Kim was standing, and on the command “pull,” he pushed the button and two targets were released and Kim broke them both. What a thrill for an eight-year-old boy!
There was another shooter practicing with Kim that day. He was a Saudi Olympic shooter, Saud Abdulaziz. He noticed Hunter’s shotgun and asked if he could shoot it. Hunter walked to the gun rack with Saud, and handed him his gun and a box of ammunition. He took the gun from Hunter and quickly broke 25 consecutive targets.
After he was done, he put Hunter’s gun back in the rack and asked him to walk with him to the office. Don wasn’t comfortable about his grandson walking away with a stranger but Kim assured him it was alright.
When they returned, Saud handed Hunter five boxes of .410 shotgun shells as thanks for allowing him to shoot his gun.
The boy was thrilled beyond belief, meeting two Olympic athletes, releasing targets for Kim and having another Olympic athlete, Saud Abdulaziz, treat him to five boxes of ammunition, all in a little less than an hour. What a day for Hunter!
Here’s a story from a while ago: At the back of the apparatus floor at FS 105, there used to be a door (replaced sometime since 1980) that had kind of a D-handle on it, and you just pulled it open. No knobs or latches. In the late 1970’s, one of the firemen, as they were known back then, discovered that if you rapidly pulled and pushed the door about 12 inches, without slamming it shut, you could create a suction. At that time the station had folding apparatus doors that moved left and right so the rigs could come and go.
If you performed this rapid opening and closing of the rear door, the suction created on the apparatus floor would cause the front doors to violently shake with a very loud noise, kind of like the shaking one would experience during an earthquake. Exactly like an earthquake!
It became great fun to do this when the Captains were in the front office. Watching them come flying out of the office screaming EARTHQUAKE brought joy to the hearts of the firemen, as they were known back then.