So, one hot Thursday morning I left for Texas, and after a long day in the car, I found out Texas was almost as hot as Omaha.
On Friday morning I tried to go to the range and check on Kali Pavlik and Aleese Aylor who were shooting that day. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a parking space - classes were in session and apparently some of those students wanted to park too. So I waited until later in the morning and tried again. This time I managed to find a parking space, but Kali and Aleese had already finished their shooting and left the area - I probably parked in the spot they had vacated. That afternoon I returned again, for check-in, equipment inspection, and practice. Of course I saw Tom Barefoot and David Wolfe and talked with each of them a bit. Tom Saunders was also there as an observer, but I didn't get a chance to talk top him until the next day. Lane assignments were posted, and I found out I'd be shooting with Zach Garret, who I'd shot against this spring in Florida, and Joe McGlyn, who I knew from seeing at many shoots but I'd never shot with him, and Anthony Marino, a nice young guy who I'd never met before.
Saturday morning I got up early and was at the range about 7:00. I had a chance to talk to several people I know before we began shooting at 8:00. The first few ends went okay, but then they announced "This one is for score", and my arrows immediately began to stray. I spent most of the summer practicing for field shoots, which are at shorter distances, then I practiced hard at 70 meters for the last month, but that wasn't enough, and it cost me that hot Texas morning. When we were halfway through, we had a long break for lunch. They gave us two practice ends before starting the afternoon session, and while we were shooting those we were watching dark clouds approach from the southeast. Sure enough, when we started shooting for score, the rain began, and it came in sideways, pushed by a gusty wind. There was no lightning, so they didn't stop the shooting. I was happy that I kept all six arrows on the target - I was the only one in our group to do so. After we scored those arrows, they called a half hour delay and we went and stood under the flimsy canopies that were erected for shade. This was the first time I've ever seen a weather delay without lightning. The people on the first target had been unable to shoot that first end because the banners at the edge of the field were blowing in front of their target, and at the other end of the field they were on the edge of a baseball diamond, which quickly turned to mud. After the storm blew past we had more delays while the Texas A&M crew put astroturf over the baseball diamond, and the group on the first target shot make-up arrows (in very calm conditions). Finally we resumed shooting as the sun came back out and the air turned to steam. They announced we would be reshooting that stormy end, but someone filed a formal protest, which was upheld, and they canceled the reshoot. Around 7:00 that evening we finally finished shooting. I was tired and hungry.
Sunday morning, I packed up and headed home - I didn't even come close to making the cut to 16 shooters that would continue trying for the team, but Zach Garret, who shot beside me, had finished at number 4, so he was staying to shoot on Sunday and Monday. He finished Monday in the top spot, but there are still two more events in the selection process. As I was driving up the interstate near Wichita later that day, I heard a loud bang and my side window fell to pieces. Apparently it was hit by something from the road. I pulled over and called 911 and they sent out a patrolman who wrote up a report. Then I had to drive the rest of the way home (5 or 6 hours) with no side window and hot sunshine streaming in. That evening, as I was approaching Nebraska City from the south, I could see flashes of lightning ahead of me. Fortunately, when it started raining it was mostly straight down and didn't come through the missing window too much. By the time I reached Papillion I was tired and hungry all over again.