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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Van Wie

Having a blast at the Maine Outdoor Challenge

I had a fabulous time today participating in the Maine Outdoor Challenge, an annual FUNdraising event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine and the Portland Rotary. My thanks to Kris Rosado, a board member in both organizations, for inviting me to participate on the team called The 4th Estate, made up mostly of outdoor writers from several publications. The event is held at the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School in Freeport. and runs for three days. This year they have 41 team competing, and expect to raise $60,000 !

We started the morning with sporting clays, shooting five shots at five stations, each with a different pattern of targets, some overhead, various angles, and even a "rabbit" scooting across the field. After getting some excellent instruction from the LL Bean staff on site, our team of five "competitors" (I use that term loosely) enjoyed great success, even though our scores and our abilities ranged from complete novice to expert. I had not shot clay targets for several years, and was pleased to be reminded how much I enjoy the sport, and how much room for improvement I have (I hit 8 out of 25... thought I would do better. I was 2 for 2 on the practice round).


Next we tackled geocaching and GPS navigation. Although a bit soggy in the early summer rain shower, we were quick to find our 10 caches employing the high tech orienteering technique that is possible using today's GPS technology.


Third, we moved to the precision fly casting event - which involves throwing the fly line into several targets of various widths. I felt like I was in my element here, and it is always good to get a refresher on technique while practicing in a specific frame of reference.

JIM GOES FOR THE FIVE HOLE (small slot on the right)

Finally, we let the arrows fly at the archery range. Again, I have a lifetime of experience with archery, starting way back as a YMCA camper. It is always a challenge using new equipment, and the LL Bean gear was fun to use.


I doubt our team score will win us any prizes, but we sure had a pleasant morning testing our skills in the Maine Outdoor Challenge. I will see about putting together a team for next year, and will try to work on my shooting skills before next summer. Thanks again, Kris ! And thanks for all you do for our community!

For more photos, click here.


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