As seen on the Shooting Wire, the Midway USA NRA Bianchi Cup is the closest thing in action pistol shooting to the Olympics. In IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, ICORE, Steel Challenge and 3-Gun you can always be a little more accurate or a bit faster. If you have a bad stage, you can dig deep and push harder. You do that at Bianchi and disaster is sure to strike.
In NRA Action Pistol perfection is attainable. That 1920 score is something shooters dream about. It’s the shooting world’s sub-four minute mile or scoring a hat trick in the race for the Stanley Cup. If you shoot a 1920 you join an elite group of individuals. Shoot 192x’s, you become a living legend and a Bianchi Cup deity.
It’s that dream that has so many people making the pilgrimage to Columbia, MO each May. With each competitor firing just 192 bullets down range over the course of a three-day roller coaster ride of emotions and heart pounding nerves, shooters deal with pressure differently, especially men and women. Where guys are fiddling with their triggers and talking guns, guns, and more guns…
The ladies however have a broader spectrum of discussion. Sure, we talk about guns and ammo, zeroing that mover base, and how we mount our pistols to the barricade. We also talk about the most glamorous night in shooting, the Bianchi Cup Awards Ceremony!
Beautiful dresses, sharp suits and a red carpet runway make this event the shooting world’s big night out. It’s a pistol packing promenade and what we girls talk about most is our wardrobe.
Some of us come more prepared than others. Jessie Duff already had her dress hung up and ready to go at the start of Bianchi. She proudly shared that her husband Matthew found blingtastic shoes for her. He received an appreciative and approving head nod from all the ladies. She was nearly set to sparkle in silver with just a quick shopping trip to look for accessories.
Randi Rogers hauled a whopping five dresses to Columbia. Why so many? Any girl will tell you that choices are definitely a good thing when it comes to defining dazzle factor! Randi was ready to match her attire to her mood for the evening, leaning towards ravishing in red. She too came prepared with fabulous footwear, strappy gold sandals that would send any woman into shoe envy.
It’s important to discuss both color and cut of dress with your girl pals before the awards. Too much of the same color or style is not a good thing. A dress check with as many ladies as possible is high on the girl talk agenda.
I learned that even though she is still recovering from her knee injury, nothing would keep Maggie Reese from donning the perfect little black dress with lovely ballerina flats on Saturday night. Dianna Liedorff had plans to be boldly beautiful in burgundy. Sara Dunivin was going to be perfectly pretty in a jewel tone print. Tiffany Piper would look wonderful in winter white lace. Sydney Surgi prepared to stun in satin and sequins. Kenda Lenseigne had plans to grace the event in a golden yellow. The classic and classy Vera Koo would wow in a brilliant floral. Molly Smith would be oh-so-adorable in pale princess pink.
That left me with my mail ordered to Montana number that just wasn’t… right. As each day passed I was becoming a bit nervous over my dress dilemma. Sure, I had a dress but I wasn’t thrilled. Add to that I would have the honor of walking on the stage the night of the awards, I was in a bit of a panic! Thankfully, Randi and I had made plans to shop immediately after the Colt Speed Event on Saturday, just hours before the awards.
Randi shops like she shoots and if you know anything about SASS’s Holy Terror, that’s saying something. She made a note of what I liked, my personal style and then swooped down onto to the dress racks like a ruthless bird of prey. I must have tried on 20 different frocks! Sure, there were some suitable options but I was looking for more than just something acceptable. After all, I already had one of those dresses.
I was beginning to worry that I might have to settle for the dress I brought with me when Randi suddenly stopped dead in her tracks and bee-lined to a particular rack. There it was. She saw my eyes light up and we both smiled as we raced back to the dressing room. The dress was perfect. I immediately declared Randi my stylist extraordinaire as she helped me find shoes, the perfect color polish and jewelry. The final event of the Bianchi Cup was 1920 perfect for me and I felt beautiful in a Mad Men inspired ensemble, a black dress with classic pearls and ruby red shoes.
One of the things I love most about the last night of Bianchi is seeing everyone with hats, glasses and muffs off, all decked out in their finest. The men look polished and handsome. The women gleam in Oscar worthy glamour. I have to say, us shooters, we clean up well.