The concept of Boomershoot is simple. First, you shoot a target. Then the target explodes.
From 3-gun competitions to zombie-themed shoots, there's no doubt the popularity of firearms events is on the rise. While some are more competitive than others, Boomershoot in north central Idaho stands out as a strictly social shooting event.
“It's not a competition. People just shoot for fun,” said Joe Huffman, Boomershoot director, in a phone interview.
As Boomershoot's founder, Huffman said fun was the mission from the beginning. He attended a dynamite shoot in Blanchard, Idaho, in 1996. Not wanting to wait another year, Huffman said he used his farming background to mix his own explosives.
In October 1998, Huffman invited members of the Microsoft Gun Club and some locals for an explosives shoot. Boomershoot officially opened as a public event the following spring.
After an ceremonious opening fireball, Boomershoot runs two portions of shooting.
The high-intensity half has shooters at close-range hitting multiple explosive targets. The other half involves long-range targets set up to 700 yards away.
Ammunition that can maintain at least 1,700 feet per second of velocity at 375 yards and beyond is recommended. That's because the explosive targets aren't all that sensitive.
“It takes a pretty hard hit to detonate,” Huffman said.
The most common firearm used is the .308, according to the Boomershoot website.
There aren't official scores to keep, but there is plenty of good-natured rivalry. Shooters occasionally “poach” each others' targets, Huffman said. It's all in good fun, though.
In keeping with the spirit of the event, Boomershoot sometimes pegs special targets for destruction. A toilet was exploded one year in honor of Dave Barry. The humorist has a notorious dislike of low-flow toilets. Although Barry could not attend the event, Boomershoot organizers still sent him a piece of shattered porcelain.
Pieces of flying debris are serious safety concerns. Huffman said Boomershoot organizers clear the area around the explosives before the event. Shooters are far enough away that they aren't threatened by the explosions themselves.
Also keeping shooters safe is the organizers' knowledge of explosives.
“I have a really good crew of about 15 people or so with permission from [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] to handle explosives,” Huffman said.
Having many shooters in one place at one time is another concern.
“The explosions aren't a threat from 375+ yards away, but the guns are. Eye and ear protection is highly recommended,” the Boomershoot website states in its What to Bring section.
Spots Available for 2013 Event
Huffman said spots fill quickly for Boomershoot each year, but there are still some available for 2013. The event will take place April 28, with a rifle clinic the two days prior. Click here for more information.
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