The first step in teaching our British friends how to shoot guns was a lesson on gun safety and shooting form at Cabelas with the toy guns in the “shooting gallery.”
Nancy and I met the Green family at Laura and Kagi’s wedding last year. Tim, an athlete and servant of the Church, offered a powerful message during the ceremony. We enjoyed our time with Tim and his wife, Bethan, and hoped that we would be able to spend more time with them. Our hopes were realized this week. They spent four enjoyable and refreshing days with us including two days camping in the National Forest. Much laughter arose from friendly UK verses USA banter.
Mererid Green, the younger of Tim and Bethan’s beautiful daughters, spent several days with us during the last Christmas holiday. A highlight for her was the afternoon we took her shooting. Having never shot a gun before, she was intimidated at first, but quickly warmed up to the experience and made sure her parents included shooting as a high priority activity while they were with us.
The excitement was high by the time I finally got the targets set up and concluded the final gun safety lecture. We were not really surprised that Tim caught on quickly. In fact, his first shot with the .22 rifle was a bull’s eye!
Bethan was a little slower to zero in, but she also shot well for a beginner.
After poking a bunch of holes in the target with the rifle, we switched to the pistol. The learning curve was steeper, but my British friends continued to perform well. In fact, they quickly were shooting as well or better than me.
As we were winding down, it seemed appropriate to conclude our shooting with some international competition, the UK verses the USA. The pride of our counties rested on each of our ability to send a bullet through an empty tuna can from 15 paces.
Tim went first and was skunked. The tuna can did not move during this three attempts.
I went second. The first bullet out of the pistol hit near the bottom of the can and sent it rolling from its stump. I missed the next two, but was not concerned. Bethan had not hit the can during the practice shots.
Her first two shots were clear misses. Before her third shot, Tim increased the tension saying, “One last chance for a draw.” I was confident I would win and prepared to start chanting, “U.S.A! U.S.A!” as soon as she fired.
Before the ring of Bethan’s final shot subsided, I jumped to gloat. Bethan was dejected. Tim was simply smiling and accepting his country’s defeat. The can had not wavered. However, as I was launching my victory dance I happened to notice a hole through the center of the can. Bethan’s shot was so perfectly placed in the center of the can that it passed through without knocking it over! At first my competitors did not believe what I was exclaiming.
Bethan had clearly won the competition with a perfect closing shot!
I feigned much disappointment and pretended to plot revenge, but I could not have been happier with the way the competition ended. What could be more fun that to be part of a story that will be told by our families in the UK and the USA for years?