It all began with a text from Babbs asking if I had a current passport and my availability September 21 to September 24 to attend the 3rd annual Copa Aguila. I quickly replied, “Yes!” then began a little online research to figure out what I had gotten myself into.
The 4-day shooting event included sporting clays, 5 Stand, minishell, 3-gun and .22 rimfire. I decided to shoot .22 rimfire since I wanted to try something new and 3-gun, just to experience it in another country. The best part — I didn’t have to travel with guns. Aguila had guns available for me to borrow. Perfect!
The Copa Aguila took place at the beautiful Club Cinegetico Jalisciense A.C. in Guadalajara, Mexico. I enjoyed the scenery, with the lush green grass and mountains as the backdrop of all the shooting areas. Throughout the day, low clouds dropped in and out from over the mountain. At one point, after a bit of rain, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the distance.
To begin the event, Aguila presented an opening ceremony unlike anything I’ve ever seen. With a perfect view from the balcony of the clubhouse, I watched in awe as military drummers played while men with rifles stood by the flag being unfurled. After the singing of the Mexican national anthem and some welcoming comments and introductions, the pumped crowd eagerly awaited the first shots of the Copa Aguila.
Aguila developed a new shotshell size, the minishell. Available in 7-1/2 shot, buckshot and slug, these 1 3/4” minishells offer less recoil, a quieter report, and doubles the capacity of shotguns. Perfect for the new shooter!
As I walked around during the event, I noticed beautifully engraved shotguns emerging from bags covered in deer hair or embossed leather. The elegant leather ammunition bag above looked like a piece of artwork found in a museum.
The 3-gun event at the Copa Aguila took place over 3 days. On the first day, we shot 2 stages for placement. The second day consisted of 2 more stages that involved quite a bit of movement, longer distance shots and a few targets hiding behind cover. And on the third day, a shoot-off.
The group of competitors that ran the 3-gun competition eagerly let all of us Americans borrow any of their guns and gear. They went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. Mexico’s gun laws allowed us only to shoot rifles in .22 and pistols in .380, calibers not usually shot at a matches in the US. However, they ran everything else such as a typical US 3-gun competition.
The volunteers at the Copa Aguila reset all the stages. Once each competitor finished, the crew ran up the hills, taping, resetting and painting targets along the way. I caught one of my new friends taking a little siesta between competitors. Who could deny him?
An impressive closing ceremony at the Copa Aguila brought the first, second and third place winners from each category to stand in their respective places on the stage with their trophies. The crowd cheered, snapped photos and shook hands of winners walking off the stage. Both the Mexican and American shooters from Team Aguila stood together for a final photo, most of them already having stood on the stage to receive their trophies.
Aguila ammunition put on an incredible event. Thinking back, I still can’t believe I traveled alone to Mexico to compete in the shooting sports. In 2018, the Inauguarl Aguila Cup takes place June 14 to June 17 at Fossil Pointe Sporting Grounds in Decatur, Texas. I hope I see you there!