“Quigley” Returns to Montana
Father’s Day weekend saw the happy return of the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match outside of Forsyth. The 29th annual match had been canceled last year due to the pandemic, and it returned in 2021 with a vengeance. You can catch the official results on www.quigleymatch.com, but here is some color commentary.
Covid, Schmovid, We’re Gonna Shoot
Over 590 shooters from multiple states, along with families and campers, raised Quigleyville from the flat grassland of the Lee Ranch. I saw lots of good friends and good people, and not a single mask. Fair to assume most if not everybody was vaccinated, and everyone felt safe around each other again.
Fire Danger Was Real
A small grass fire broke out on the Friday before the match, out beyond the firing line, probably caused by a smoldering paper patch from a bullet. The saving grace of this incident was that the wind blew the flames back into the mowed firing line with less dry fuel. A Rosebud County fire truck and sudden volunteer firefighters had the fire out in a couple of minutes.
Patriotism Lives in Quigleyville
Among the campers in the weekend village, a few flagpoles rose and American flags waved in the breezes. Some included the Gadsden yellow flag with the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.” One included the Marine Corps logo.
At the shooters' meeting before the match started, before the list of guidelines, a young lady sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, with all due respect and without any jazzy influence. I told the man next to me, “That was better than what I’ve heard at a few Super Bowls.”
How Good Are the Shooters?
The challenge of the Quigley Match is the constantly changing conditions. You may have compensated in your sight settings for a left-to-right wind, but the instant you squeezed the trigger for the shot, the wind died off. Cool and overcast can become sunny and hot in minutes, changing the light on the targets and even creating a mirage at those distances. And in these dry times, the dust flew.
The best Quigley shooters can adjust their aim at once for any change. So how good were they? In a still wind and dust, some still hit 7 or 8 out of 8 shots at one metal target. One international champion on the first day, hot and windy and dusty, hit 31 of 32 shots. He ended up winning this year’s Quigley.
When Is the Next Quigley Match?
This phenomenon is always on Father’s Day weekend. Save the website for details on the special 30th year in 2022.
The best description of the Quigley Match is its slogan: "The biggest rifle shooting event in Montana since the Custer Massacre."