I'm not a fan of "reality" shows. I could not care less who gets kicked off the island, though I confess I kind of like the cooking shows where it is chef versus chef -- it's fun to watch people cook under pressure.
But, it seems, they have made a show for me -- Top Shot, on the History Channel.
The set-up: Sixteen shooters, from various disciplines -- rifle, pistol, archery, etc. -- are brought together in one of those big honkin' houses, divided into teams -- a blue and a red -- and then given a challenge (after a practice session.)
Winning team is safe, losing team has to pick two members for a shoot-off, and loser of that goes home.
The first challenge was a series of token obstacle courses -- under barbed wire; through a stick maze; along a rope; slogging through a water pit; one obstacle each team, at the end of which the pair had to fire rifles at targets set up at fifty and a hundred yards.
The first three weapons were "historical," a 1903 Springfield, Mosin-Nagant Tokarev SVT-40, and an M14. Each shooter had one exploding target. Soon as both were hit, the next two-person squad tag-teamed in. First team to bust all the targets won.
There is the usual rainbow coalition of contestants -- mostly white guys, mostly cops or ex-military, some gun buffs, several professional shooters. One black guy, one woman, one asian, one kid, one old guy (48 is supposed to be old here).
In the first contest, Mike, the red team leader, went on in a V.O. about how his team had the advantage and how they were gonna smoke the blue team, yadda, yadda, which brag is always a bad idea.
Mike was first up, paired with Andre. One guy shot, the other was the spotter. Andre hit the fifty yard target after a couple shots. Mike set up on the 100-yard target. Shot and missed. Shot and missed. And missed and missed and missed and ...
Meanwhile, the blue team went through the whole course and took the match.
Mike never did hit the target. With a weapon he supposedly dialed-in the day before, and picked because he thought he was the best choice.
Selection of the two for the shoot-off was hokie but fun -- there were targets with each contestant's name on one and the way they chose the two was to fire one round each into the name of the guy they wanted.
Wound up, to nobody's surprise, that Mike, the guy who couldn't hit his target was selected. The other was the kid, Kelly. The shoot-off was with a modern scoped rifle, three targets, two hundred, four hundred, six hundred yards. Each had a spotter, first to hit 'em all won.
There was a pretty good wind blowing the flags by the targets.
Unfortunately for Mike, Kelly the kid is on the U.S. National Rifle Team, knows all about long-distance rifle work, and can shoot smiley faces on his targets, so Mike went home. And rightly so. Twenty-odd rounds with a 1903 Springfield at a hundred yards and most of them weren't even on the board. Sheeit.
Next up, pistols, with the 9mm Beretta ...