Turkey jerk

Posted on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:29am
By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Target practice ain’t easy when preparing for Battalion MC’s turkey shoot


FOWL PLAY The author fuels up during training. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

TRYPTOPHAN THIS
Circle J Ranch, 8922 FM 1861, Eustace. Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. $10.
Battalionmc.com.

Guns don’t bother me — unless one is aimed at my head. But the craftsmanship and detail of various arsenals can be impressive. Nah, they don’t scare me — but loud popping noises do and, ironically, I feel a deep desire to shoot a gun — or in this case, a shotgun.

When I heard the Battalion Motorcycle Corps is hosting its annual Turkey Shoot and Chili Cook-Off, I realized two positives could come of this: I could pull the trigger on something other than a video game and I could, perhaps, conquer my irrational noise fear. It would be a total win-win.

Some people didn’t think I could do it.

"For you? You just need a pea and a straw. You can’t handle no gun," my so-called pal and Dallas police officer Ricky Adams teased.

This, of course, angered me.

I became intent on proving him wrong. First, I had to find out the rules to prepare.

Battalion commander Larry Vosberg laid down them down for me. It would consist of 20 shots from a .22 rifle — five for practice and five each from standing, kneeling and prone positions. The shoot takes place at the Circle J Ranch in Eustace, which is also clothing optional.

Whoa.

"Yep, there are some people shootin’ in the buff," Vosberg said.

That was not an option. And the last place I want to be prone sans pantalons is on the ground.

The Battalion MC is a gay men’s motorcycle club founded in 1974. Each year, it sponsors five rides for members with motorcycles. Membership is primarily based in DFW, but riders from Austin, Houston and Oklahoma have also joined. But not all the events are about rides.

"Every function that we do requires participants to have motorcycle. But we like to invite the community at large for our bigger events," Vosberg says.

The Turkey Shoot is their next big event and I was ready to get my Dick Cheney on.

Slight obstacle: No shotgun.

Without a piece to practice with, I wasn’t all that thrilled about entering the chili cook-off as a backup. Then friend Erica came through with two pellet guns that looked scarily real. I wondered why she had these.

"For home protection," she squealed.

I felt like Queen Latifah in Set It Off with a Glock replica. I held it sideways knowing no turkey could last against this gangsta. But it was time to get real. With two loaded pellet guns and a few empty glass bottles as targets, I was ready to terminate.

"Just don’t flinch — everybody flinches," Adams advised.

I flinched, dammit. Good advice: Look at what you’re shooting. It helps.

After hearing the pops a few times, my fear passes for the moment. Now, with my aim toward the bottle, I finally pulled the trigger only to release a spray of pellets. I got scared and drop the gun. Oops. It was on semi-automatic but that was the bottle’s last day, for sure.

After spending some quality time getting to know the weapon, it turns out I’m not all that bad — far from perfect, but I manage to at least graze the bottle with the pellet. Prone, I am not as good at but kneeling and standing (typical), I have a good feel to take something out with a plastic pellet. Thankfully, it wasn’t my eye.

Adams then deflated my confidence.

"There’s no comparison between your gun and a .22 rifle," he said.

Maybe not, but my aim’s not too bad. It could only get better, right?

"I don’t know. This is a bit much for someone who writes newspaper articles," Adams said.

Yeah, well at least when I take aim with my pen, I never miss. Jerk.

Now where’s the cranberry sauce?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 30, 2009.

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