25th anniversary, John Speetjens

Behind the scenes.

I have been participating as a helper at InterShoot since 1984. It started out as a scoring official in the scoring room under the then leadership of Dirk van Loopik. Here we were, in order to be able to score the targets, sitting underneath four 1000 watt lamps, with the result that you ended up being very red, not just from the hard work, but also from the lamps. Two years later ‘Stek’ Geerts asked me to take over the management of the scoring room, which meant a lot of organising and arranging.  But ‘Stek’ was convinced this wouldn’t be a problem.
In the early days we worked with some 15 to 18 people in the scoring room all scoring the targets by hand as the scoring machine hadn’t been invented yet. Now we do the same job with ‘only’ seven people.
Also there was a bet every year how fast we would be finished scoring the last target after the final shot en the final results would be known. The faster the result lists were ready, the sooner the cosy price giving ceremony in the tropical garden could start. Very often we finished very quickly and ‘Stek’ was as proud as an old monkey and was walking around with his chest trusted out as if he wanted to say: “Didn’t we do a good job?”.

Also we were all supposed to help with the construction and deconstruction of the ranges; we didn’t have a lot of time and quite often we had to work deep into the night to change the sporting hall into a shooting range. Filling sandbags in the sand pit near the sporting hall was one of the tasks that were part of the job. These served to keep the tables in place. This was a heavy job, as InterShoot is held in February and quite often it was freezing solidly. We had to revert to the pickaxe to chop the sand into little chunks so we could put it in the bags. I still remember one time it was freezing so hard that we couldn’t chop the sand at all, so we had to order some sand. The filling then went very quickly. But we also had to get rid of the sand and we didn’t have a special lorry, so we had to load it into the normal lorry. One of the helpers served in the army and knew a place to dump the sand. So we reversed the lorry into the dunes to the dumping place, opened the flap and started shovelling. After two hours of shovelling, we though we would be able to just drive away, but unfortunately not.  Whilst we were shovelling the lorry had sank away into the sand and didn’t move an inch anymore. All in all, it took us some three hours, with the help of a very large four wheel drive, to get the lorry out and we could go home.

Usually the week before InterShoot we had a big feast bundling all the targets. This was done at ‘Stek’s’ in his shop. First we made stacks of 40 or 60 targets, and then we divided those into smaller stacks of ten, bundled them with a rubber band, then bundled the lot with another rubber band, write out the scoring card and put the whole thing in an envelop. Finally we boxed the whole thing up for transportation to the sporting hall. Wil always ensured we had something to drink and it was always one big party.

When ‘de Houtzagerij’ was demolished in 1993 we had to look for another sporting hall, which we luckily found very quickly and now we are in our sporting hall ‘Ockenburg’. Before we were able to turn this hall into a shooting range we had to design and build our current ranges. Thanks to the The Hague city council and a number of sponsors we have been able to realise this. We did work some 6 months on these ranges. Luckily we had access to the workshop of a builder, so we had access to all the tools we needed.

All in all, InterShoot can look back at some exciting years and the help of many helpers who all have their shooting heart at the right place now form the organising committee of InterShoot. Without the help of these people it would not be possible to organise an event such as InterShoot The Hague year after year.

I thank all helpers from days past and present for their help. Many of them have become good friends and we do not only meet every year at this event, but also privately.

John Speetjens