'Geeks with guns' gather for big bang; Fifth annual Boomer
Shoot at Cavendish set for Friday, Sunday
Calling it the Magic Kingdom for long range shooters, Joe
Huffman, 47, of Moscow will play host to a boomer shoot at
Cavendish for the fifth straight year Friday and Sunday.
The concept is simple. Gun enthusiasts shoot at long-range
targets. When they hit the targets -- ranging in size from a
fist to half-gallon milk containers -- a ground-shaking
explosion is unleashed.
Huffman and his two oldest children attended a similar
event at Blanchard, Idaho, in 1996. It's an understatement to
say they loved it.
"We were driving away from the first one and we said 'We
have to do this ourselves. We can't wait for another year.' "
To that end, Huffman began looking for the perfect mixture
of explosive materials. First he tried to buy some but found
it expensive and extremely difficult to obtain the necessary
permits to transport explosives. Instead he found it was much
easier to make his own.
"It was less of a hassle for me to actually manufacture the
material myself. So I got the license from ATF (Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), which was relatively painless
and made my own reactive targets."
Huffman writes cyber security programs for "various
three-letter agencies and the military," at the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratories in Richland and commutes home
to Moscow on the weekends. He is an avid shooter and once a
year puts on the event that melds shooting with fireworks.
His children continue to help him organize and run the
event that attracts people from all over the country. Past
attendees include truck drivers, farmers, teachers, a
libertarian candidate for Congress, a retired oral surgeon and
even the director of a Shakespearean theater in Michigan.
Members of the Seattle-based Microsoft Gun Club have been
regulars at the shoots and this year Huffman expects members
of the Boeing Pistol and Rifle Club to attend.
"The Boomer Shoot is a gathering of geeks with guns," he
Sunday's shoot has sold out but there are eight slots open
on Friday. There is an entry fee of about $50 to participate.
The shooting begins at 10 a.m. each day at property near
Cavendish. Those who are interested can find extensive
information about the shoot, including directions to the event
on Meridian Road, on Huffman's web site at
Barker may be contacted at email@example.com