Umarex Boys Club

Can it re­ally be a decade since the Umarex Boys Club was formed? Cookie ex­plains all

Airgun World - - Contents -

It’s the UBC 10th an­niver­sary. Ja­son Cur­tis tells us how the club came about

My name is Ja­son Cur­tis, prob­a­bly bet­ter known as ‘Cookie’. I am founder of the Umarex Boys Club and we are about to cel­e­brate our 10th an­niver­sary. So, how did it all be­gin? I guess I need to go back a few years to when I was a sem­pai at my lo­cal karate club. I had in­jured my back, twice in as many months, and de­cided this was be­com­ing bad for my health so I needed to find a new sport that didn’t have any im­pact on my back. I sort of drew a blank un­til I scrolled through the free ads one evening, and came across an air pis­tol – an Umarex Beretta 92FS in nickel, with wooden grips. It was beau­ti­ful. I just had to have it, and I still own it to­day. I soon learned that this was the be­gin­ning of an ex­tremely slip­pery slope; you can’t own just one pis­tol – or ri­fle, come to that.

Okay, so I have this pis­tol, what am I going to do with it? I had a plink in the back­yard, de­stroy­ing tin cans is al­ways fun, but I wanted to do more with it, some­thing in­volv­ing a lit­tle more ac­cu­racy. A bit of search­ing on the In­ter­net and … per­fect …I found a shoot­ing club just up the road in Maiden­head. I had been vis­it­ing the club for a few weeks when a fel­low mem­ber com­mented on how much he liked my Beretta. He told me that when he got home, he was going to have a look on the BBS for one. I think he could tell I was look­ing a bit con­fused.

“Air­gun BBS,” he said. “It’s an air­gun fo­rum, and they have a sales sec­tion.”

When I ar­rived home later that evening, I jumped on the com­puter and had a look at this Air­gun BBS. Wow! What a gold mine of in­for­ma­tion! If you are new to air­guns, or just need a ques­tion an­swered, then check it out – af­ter you have checked out the Umarex Boys Club, of course.

THREAD HOG­GING

I spent quite a bit of time read­ing, post­ing and buy­ing on the BBS, and soon came across a hand­ful of guys with the same in­ter­est in pis­tols. Now, there wasn’t a ded­i­cated place for pis­tol chat, so we ended up hog­ging threads, nor­mally be­long­ing to some poor soul try­ing to sell a pis­tol. This be­gan to hap­pen more and more of­ten; if there was a Umarex pis­tol for sale, we were there tak­ing over the thread. On one of these thread-hog­ging ses­sions on the 12th March 2008, the ban­ter was fly­ing back and forth, as usual, and I jok­ingly re­ferred to us as the ‘Umarex Boys Club’. This name seemed to stick, and the UBC was born.

I then had folks mes­sag­ing and post­ing, ask­ing to join – even af­ter ex­plain­ing that it was a joke, there was no ac­tual club, they still asked to join, so it seemed eas­ier to let peo­ple do it and within a week or two, I had a cou­ple of dozen mem­bers. I en­rolled one of those mem­bers with­out ask­ing first be­cause he was very well liked, and had a lot of in­put on the fo­rum. At first, he gave the im­pres­sion he wasn’t too happy about it, but I soon learned

he is a bit of a joker and was hon­oured to be in­cluded. This man is now a very good friend, and if it hadn’t been for him I don’t think the UBC would have lasted this long, and it def­i­nitely wouldn’t be what it is to­day. He is prob­a­bly the most well-known UBC mem­ber; to mem­bers of the fo­rum he is Pad. E – to the rest of the world he is Pa­trick Egan.

COM­PE­TI­TION

Now a grow­ing band of merry men and women, hog­ging threads in the sales sec­tion was start­ing to up­set a few peo­ple, so the very kind mods of the BBS cre­ated a brand-new ‘Pis­tol’ sec­tion, so we could go about our busi­ness and leave the sales sec­tion, for sell­ing. So, we had a place of our own, and the UBC seemed to be es­tab­lish­ing it­self with very lit­tle ef­fort. The sim­ple fact that we made every­one feel wel­come was all that was needed for the club to grow, and grow it did, into the nicest bunch of guys and gals you will ever come across. When it came to help­ing each other out, noth­ing ever seems too much, and there is a real bond, almost fam­ily-like.

Once we were com­fort­able in our new sur­round­ings, Paddy stupidly said, “I have an idea. We should run a com­pe­ti­tion.”

Oh, if he had only known how much work that was going to cause him in the fu­ture, I think he might have kept quiet. It was a great idea, though. The one stip­u­la­tion was that they had to be fun. There were plenty of se­ri­ous postal com­pe­ti­tions out there, but we wanted to have a laugh, re­gard­less of abil­ity. We wanted every­one to re­lax and en­joy their shoot­ing.

THAT FIRST COM­PE­TI­TION

The first com­pe­ti­tion was de­signed to be shot over six yards, so you could take part at home

in the gar­den, garage, al­ley­way, in some cases even in­doors. One mem­ber de­signed a tar­get for all to down­load free, and the com­pe­ti­tion started. Based on the ‘gen­tle­man’s hon­our’ sys­tem, you shot your tar­get and sub­mit­ted your hon­est scores, and then Paddy would post them on a leader board, on a ded­i­cated web­site that he had cre­ated. We didn’t ask for proof in the form of tar­gets to be sent in. If you did cheat, then you were only cheat­ing your­self, be­cause it was just for fun. As much as every­one wanted to do well, scores weren’t re­ally that im­por­tant. You shot for the en­joy­ment of shoot­ing your pis­tols, al­though you would get some stick if you shot like a mup­pet. Isn’t that true Mr Paddy?

One com­pe­ti­tion rolled into two, then three, and slowly kept grow­ing un­til we had mem­bers shoot­ing from all over the globe. It seemed that there had been a lot of pis­tol own­ers out there, wait­ing for some­thing like the UBC. It wasn’t long be­fore Paddy started com­ing up with themed com­pe­ti­tions with cre­ative tar­gets, to keep the fun going, and we had James Bond, Ter­mi­na­tor and Star Wars themes, just to men­tion a few.

FACES TO NAMES

The next step for us was to try to or­gan­ise some sort of meet, so we could put faces to names that we knew on the fo­rum, and trade a bit of ban­ter whilst do­ing our best to shoot a few com­pe­ti­tions. We needed some­where cen­tral, and we ended up at the Grey­hound Shoot­ing Club, in Coven­try. Our near­est mem­ber to the Grey­hound was … yep, you guessed it, poor Paddy, and luck­ily for us, he was a mem­ber, which made it eas­ier for us to get per­mis­sion to shoot there.

So, where do you start when plan­ning some­thing like this? Well, this is when Paddy re­ally comes into his own. He or­gan­ised the whole event with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion, even with back-up plans just in case some­thing went wrong, whilst spend­ing the en­tire day wor­ry­ing that peo­ple weren’t en­joy­ing them­selves. He need not have wor­ried – it was a huge suc­cess, every­one had a great day and ten years on, it is still planned in the same way, just with a few fancy-dress themes to keep the fun going. Paddy still spends all day wor­ry­ing, though, de­spite every­one thor­oughly en­joy­ing them­selves.

OUR OWN FO­RUM

As the club grew, other mem­bers of­fered to help, the meets got big­ger and more elab­o­rate, and we had a ded­i­cated web­site de­signed for us, along with vol­un­teers of­fer­ing to run even more com­pe­ti­tions. We were now run­ning comps for just about ev­ery type of air pis­tol; spring, CO2, PCP, SSP … fir­ing pel­lets, metal BBs and Air­soft BBs, and we even have one for shoot­ing darts from a Gat gun – how retro!

One of our big­gest steps for­ward came from one of our guys cre­at­ing our own fo­rum. This re­ally helped put the UBC name out there be­cause we could now stand out on our own, no longer un­der the shadow of the BBS. We have also been lucky enough to be spon­sored by some great com­pa­nies, like Brocock in our early days, and now by Armex, as well as hav­ing been sup­ported by our friends at Sol­ware and Air-Tar­gets.com. We have at­tended many events, where we en­cour­age peo­ple to come and try our sport, and there’s noth­ing like see­ing a smile grow on some­one’s face when they pull that trig­ger for the first time – it’s price­less. One of the proud­est mo­ments for us was be­ing in­vited to the Bri­tish Shoot­ing Show, to pro­mote air-pis­tol shoot­ing along­side the ATEO. That was a very busy week­end, but it felt great to be rep­re­sent­ing our sport, and meet­ing Eyck Pflaumer and Oliver Lux from Umarex.

FU­TURE

What does the fu­ture hold for the Umarex Boys Club? I just hope that we con­tinue grow, keep putting out com­pe­ti­tions that make our sport fun, and put smiles on the faces of every­one who picks up an air pis­tol or ri­fle to take part in one of our com­pe­ti­tions.

To round this up, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the UBC Man­age­ment Team. This group of guys works re­ally hard be­hind the scenes; they give up their pre­cious time to run com­pe­ti­tions, help to keep web­sites and the fo­rum run­ning, not to men­tion all the ma­te­rial they put up on the fo­rum to keep it in­ter­est­ing. Keep up the good work guys, we all re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Please re­mem­ber hav­ing fun is good, but SAFETY al­ways comes first. Happy shoot­ing.

The pis­tol that started it all.

Ja­son Cur­tis - AKA Cookie.

One gun leads to this! Some of Ja­son’s col­lec­tion.

Bond of broth­ers. Ja­son and Paddy at the 007 meet.

Paddy ex­e­cutes his metic­u­lous mil­i­tary plan­ning.

The dy­namic duo in im­pres­sive ac­tion.

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