3-Gunner gets back to her roots, and her found tribe, shooting a match where community trumps petty differences found elsewhere
Story by Tennille Chidester
Life has a funny way of providing exactly what you need, when you don’t even know you need it. This past weekend I had one of those experiences.
I have had the great pleasure of working in the firearms industry for nearly 15 years. It all started with the MGM Ironman. In 2004 my father, Mike Gibson, handed me the reins and said, “GO, Get it Done.” I spent he next several years with my family working our butts off to produce one of the most challenging 3-gun matches in the country. Running a match of that magnitude is a TON of stress and even more work. Together with my parents, my brother, my husband, and the help of countless other friends, we were able to build not just a match, but a community of people who understood what 3-gun, the Ironman, was about.
It wasn’t about the scoring, it wasn’t about the sponsorships or even prize tables; rather it was about the love of the game and the people. The past several years I have been fortunate to continue in the industry, but I don’t see it through rose-colored glasses anymore. I see more focus being placed on individuals than on our community. Petty arguments become ridiculous threads on social media outlets with hundreds of comments … and I wonder … what happened to playing the game because we love it? Do prize tables really matter? Does it matter what label we put on a match? This weekend I got the answer to all of those questions.
The Montana Multi-gun was started in 2008 by a group of gentleman I had the pleasure to meet for the first time while I was the MD for the Ironman. The small, beautiful range is located alongside the highway, nestled at the base of towering mountains that serve as a back stop, between Helena and Butte. There are about six bays, and Match Director Austin Hecker and his incredible crew make the most of the space they have. The original goal with the Montana Multi-gun was to create an “MGM Ironman” like match with a lot of shooting as well as provide an excuse for this group of friends to get together more than once a year. Long stages with heavy round counts and long range out to about 400 yards is the standard for this one-day match.
Nearly 10 years later the match is still running under the same MD. Outlaw rules, 4 stages, 270-second par times, $75 entry fee, 70 shooters, a small prize table, if any, and a waitlist to get in. Every year. This match is a balm to my concerned 3-gunner’s soul. Being able to see people from ALL OVER the country come to shoot a match where it DOESN’T matter that there isn’t a prize table, it DOESN’T matter what the rules are, and where the shooters are required to break down the match before trophies are awarded. Competitors are there simply because they love the game, they want to shoot … and the details don’t matter.
This is the community I want my kids to be raised in. This is the only match all year I will get to shoot with my husband and my 13-year-old son and surrounded by “Framily” who love the game as much as I do. It is a pretty great place to be. I hope more than anything that when my son is an adult, he understands that our sport and our community is worth protecting. That we are stronger (and way more fun) when we aren’t divided. Rather when we can share our passion with joy with all of the other misfits … we have indeed found our tribe.
Montana Multi-gun Leaderboard
- Travis McKlosky
- Robert Cocchiarella
- Shawn Talley
- Tim Thomas
- Andy Hubbard
- Cody Scheihing
- Sean Smith
- Deane Graves
- Steve Bell
- Steven Gabara
- Hal Richardson
- Austin Hecker