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20200129 FtCS IMG 0824I almost had a Harper.

The news kinda surprised me when I first heard it.

What’s a Harper? And how did I not get it?

I was at the indoor shooting range at Alamo Rec Veh Park in Alamo checking to see how good – or bad – my shooting skills were.

“He got a 10,” Jim Davis said, almost surprisingly. “He almost got a Harper.”

A Harper is named after a shooter at the 10-meter air rifle range (with the same guns and distance used for the Olympics) who could shoot out the middle of the tiny target and leave nothing but the white ring around the shot out target. My third shot caught just a piece of the white line or else I would’ve had my first Harper.

Those Harpers are somewhat common occurrences, however, when Don and Glennalou Nelson or Jim and Janice Davis are shooting.

Jim, from Michigan, is a multiple-time 1,000-yard state champion shooter. He’s been shooting all his life and, as he says it, is “pretty competitive with pretty much anything I do.” I remember visiting the range a couple years ago when the park was building maybe the second RC track at a Winter Texans parks in the Valley. Jim showed off some amazing skills, splitting a playing card in half sideways with one shot. He also took a jackknife, hung it in between two target and shot at it. The pellet hit the knife, split, and punched its way into a target on either side of the knife.

Yes, Jim is my friend. I will not make Jim angry.

Jim competes all over. He recently earned his long range (1,000 yards) master’s certificate. His most recent competition came in Mexico and he said he did not do well, which of course means he probably only scored 90 out of 100 – but I decided to not bring up any bad memories.

The Nelsons also shoot away from the range, the couple shooting black powder. They will load their muzzle from the barrel and use muzzle balls.

The Range, which has been around since 2014, holds weekly fun shoots at 1 p.m. on Thursdays. They will pick out some crazy targets and share in good camaraderie. They also have a competitive competition where shooters will have all week to complete their target. The competition lasts for four weeks before a winner is named and then it starts over again. Jim said the shooting has a few shooters who compete from Palm Shadows resort.

“It’s fun, it’s competitive and can be relaxing,” Jim said. “It’s only stressful when you’re not shooting well.”

Don and his wife compete against one another on a regular basis for title of “best shooter in the free world.” At the time of this interview, they were each saying the other held that title at the moment. My guess is that Glennalou was the current champ.

“She’s an awesome shooter,” Don said. “Nine times out of 10 either one of us could be the winner.”

Glennalou said she’s competitive, but not overly competitive “except when I’m shooting against him,” she joked. “I don’t like him to beat me.”

The range, which according to Jim is one of only two shooting ranges inside an RV Park in the U.S. – the other being in The Village in Florida – is open to anyone who gets approved and receives a code.

Chances are you’ll find one of those four, or Joe Hines (from Minnesota – just so you know that not everyone has to be from Michigan) there, trying to knock out a few Harpers.

As for me, I’ll keep searching for my first Harper. Close just doesn’t cut it for me.