A Story… 1983 Bianchi Cup

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” 
-Shunryu Suzuki

Whether or not to check the scoreboard, while the match is in progress, varies with the shooter’s personality.

At the 1983 Bianchi Cup, the potential winners had shot all the stages except the Falling Plate Event. (Each plate is worth ten points. If you are leading the match going in to the plates, and you don’t miss one—you clean them—you cannot be beaten.)

I knew my score, and the rumor was that there was one competitor that might be ahead of me. The “might” was driving me crazy. I needed to know if I could win, or if I was shooting for second place.

The might be ahead of me shooter would probably clean the plates. To remove doubt, I decided to check the scoreboard. His score was two points lower than I had thought, so if I cleaned the plates I would win.

He shot before me, and he cleaned the plates. That year, if you cleaned the plates—as a tie-breaker, to determine the stage winner—you continued to shoot plates at the 25 yard line until you missed one. You shot extras.

He shot 303 extras, which was a new record by a massive margin. That did not affect me. I knew I could clean the plates, and, if anything, seeing him shoot 303 extras was inspiring. 

Rob Leatham, admiring my 1983 plate-shooting blaster.

I did clean the plates to win the match, and shot 505 extras to win the stage. From the inspiration provided by knowing I could win, I was real happy that I had looked at the scoreboard.

In later years, I occasionally missed a plate, and every time I felt uninspired as I was shooting.

I’m not the type to check the scoreboard, normally. My goal is to shoot to my ability, and let the scorekeepers decide the winner. That time, however, checking the scoreboard definitely motivated me to shoot to my potential.

Let your gut feeling pull you to the scoreboard, or not. Over the years, that served me well.


I’ll post a new topic each Friday afternoon, in one of two categories. One will be on shooting, and the other will be on living. Or: how I learned to live from what I learned by competing.
Thanks for coming in. 

3 comments on “A Story… 1983 Bianchi Cup
  1. ima45dv8 says:

    Why 505 (not 506, or…)?

  2. Brian Enos says:

    I intentionally missed at that point, because it was taking so long and it was holding up the rest of the shooters from finishing their match.

  3. Jorge says:

    Fun history!
    505 is a good number.