As much as it pains me to write these words, there is no denying it anymore. Camp Perry fell apart for us during the 2017 season. And we were told by officials it was because they had moved the match dates. But no worries, 2018 would be back on track.
That is not the case. Camp Perry has suffered the fate of many storied and successful organizations: hubris. And hubris leads to disaster. And the more I think about it, the more I have come to realize the folks we talked to about the 2017 issues flat out misled us in 2018.
I am not singling out blame on this: The Ohio National Guard, CMP and the NRA are all equally at fault. Somebody…or perhaps everybody…up there has bought into their own press. I can almost hear it now, “We’ve been here for 100 years. We’re Camp Perry. Nobody can replace us”.
Let me tell you, the reader, what I saw this year. Multiple parking lots empty. Vendors’ Row functionally abandoned. The storied ranges over-looking Lake Erie mostly silent. And yes, there was a match going on that day. Actually while I was there.
But it gets worse. There were only 3 vendors open. 1 shook his head in disgust. 2 others stated they signed 3 year leases on the buildings. One said they would not be renewing. The other said they were considering paying the lease but walking away.
The vendor contemplating walking? A pretty major one. And why would a major Camp Perry Vendor tell me his business? Probably because I was the only customer that day! That and I had the same look of, “What the fuck?” on my face.
CMP, The NRA, and ONG have screwed this up. Somebody didn’t want to invest into upgrading or changing Perry. Somebody else was getting tired of kissing the ring, while getting blamed for the increasing issues. So…individual matches started leaving Perry. NBD, right?
Here is now it works in the real world. There are major matches and side matches. Nobody ever wants to admit their match is a side match, but people don’t drive halfway across the country to compete in a BUG match. It’s the major’s that drive the traffic. And during the down time, side matches pop up to pass the time.
Remove one or two major matches? The entire eco-system collapses.
Perry is done. Unless there is a major match you HAVE to shoot there, or are looking to get your President’s Hundred tab, there is little reason to go. Within 5 years, it will be just a footnote, side match, on some po-dunk military reservation in the arm-pit of Ohio. Many, many, many hundreds of miles away from all major “rifle service” bases. Eventually…even those attendees will stop coming.
Think I’m being too harsh? Think I am over stating the decline? Perry is forever you say? The history! The tradition! The prestige! Consider the following: How many shooters today think “Creedmoor” is a 6.5 caliber rifle cartridge instead of what it really is. Or should I say was?
Perry is over. But there is an upside! 100 years from now, maybe the most hot-shit, accurate, telescoping service round will be known as, “The 7.62 Perry”?
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”