Ep. 05: Yoga Socks at the Snipers Hide. Graeme Foote.In this episode, we sit down with Graeme Foote. Graeme is a competitive shooter who is recently back from attending the Sniper’s Hide Cup, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of exciting things he should be commended for. Instead, Foote should also be recognized for his excellent marksmanship abilities, his work ethic, and the work he does within the shooting community for Project Mapleseed. Project Mapleseed is an apolitical rifle marksmanship training program that focuses on teaching traditional rifle marksmanship, and Foote is a Rifle Chair and active participant at the non-profit organization.
Travis Bader: [00:00:00] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re a new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, wwwSilvercore.ca where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer. As well as how you can join The Silvercore Club which includes 10 million in North America wide liability insurance to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
[00:00:43] In this episode, I’m speaking with Graeme Foote who, would not working as lead infrastructure engineer for Lulu Lemon, is also a competitive marksman, avid photographer and published writer. Born with only one hand, Graeme is a role model who inspires others and runs the website AmputeeShooter.com where he documents his journey in the competitive shooting world.
[00:01:06] Graeme has also become involved with Project Mapleseed, a nonprofit volunteer program that introduces new shooters firearm safety and rifle marksmanship. Graeme will share his passion for the sport with you and provide insight into the Project Mapleseed program, what it’s like to compete in a Sniper’s Hide Cup and details about the homegrown Action Rifle Rimfire initiative that he and his friends set up.
[00:01:33] Travis here at The Silvercore Podcast and I’m sitting down with an individual who’s been working for Lulu Lemon for the past 11 years in the IT department. He’s an avid photographer, he’s an up and coming marksman, he’s doing social media for International Barrels. I’d like to welcome Graeme Foote.
Graeme Foote: [00:01:48] How’s it going? Thanks for having me on.
Travis Bader: [00:01:49] So a couple of days ago I was talking with Ryan Steacy and one of the things that came up was Project Mapleseed.
Graeme Foote: [00:01:56] Yup.
Travis Bader: [00:01:56] Now I’m intrigued by Project Mapleseed, I understand a bit about Project Appleseed in the States, which I believe Project Mapleseed is emulating to a degree.
Graeme Foote: [00:02:05] Yeah, they definitely take their cues from Appleseed down in the States.
Travis Bader: [00:02:08] What can you tell me about Project Mapleseed?
Graeme Foote: [00:02:11] So probably three years ago, maybe four now, Rick Katigbak and a couple of friends decided to take the instructor training for Appleseed and drove all the way down to Texas to do the training so that they could bring it back and develop that as Mapleseed up here in Canada, the Canadian version of Appleseed, if you will.
[00:02:30] And they’ve taken a lot of the fundamentals that they teach you at Appleseed for marksmanship and apply them up here in Canada to students and people wanting to learn how to shoot, new or experienced shooters. And it has been incredibly successful for them and I got involved with them last year when I brought them to Mission District Rod and Gun Club, they came and they put it on a two day event and it was a sell out both times, and it was incredibly well received.
[00:03:01] Since then I’ve started on the instructor and training. Had them back again this year at Mission again and instead of just facilitating and shooting it, I helped instruct it with Rick and Andrew Nurray, who was another instructor and training here on the West Coast. The idea behind the instructor and training is to kind of, pass the knowledge of Mapleseed onto people around the country so that we can start hosting these events under the Mapleseed flag and not have to have people drive out all the way from Montreal to kind of do them.
Travis Bader: [00:03:34] And that’s where they’re from.
Graeme Foote: [00:03:35] Yeah. Rick’s back in Montreal and he’s done the West Coast the last two years running and has driven out this year. He did a very long road trip, put about 10,000 miles on his car.
Travis Bader: [00:03:47] Wow.
Graeme Foote: [00:03:48] Last year, I think he flew out and rented a car and was a smaller subset, but this year he had, I think 14 or 15 events that he did, culminating in a CRPS match up in Merritt, which is their precision rimfire precision rifle series that they put on in conjunction with, kind of under sort of the Mapleseed flag.
Travis Bader: [00:04:09] So when I look at Project Appleseed, I go on their website and it gives me some information about them and obviously I know about the marksmanship side Project Appleseed also has a history component to it as well and civic responsibility. Is that something that Rick and Kelly have incorporated in Mapleseed?
Graeme Foote: [00:04:30] They sort of talk a little bit about history and civic duty and that sort of stuff, but they mainly focus on the marksmanship side of things, so they don’t kind of really go into the same level as Appleseed. From what I understand, Appleseed is quite a bit more of that side of the training and whereas Mapleseed is more marksmanship focused.
Travis Bader: [00:04:54] So Project Appleseed got its name from, I guess Johnny Appleseed, who was a folk hero who went across the United States planting apple seeds so future generations would have apples or something to show for his efforts. And from what I understand, Project Mapleseed is taking the same sort of an idea and they’re trying to plant seeds in, is it for young shooters? Is it new shooters? Is it people just looking to get into the sport?
Graeme Foote: [00:05:21] All of the above. They have a number of instruction that they can do, so they’ll do women only, they’ll do youth only and then they’ll just do their regular Mapleseed, which is open to any sort of age group in any sort of experience with shooting. And so they’ll have people that have shot a number of matches before and have been shooting for however long since they were kids, and people will take stuff out of that they didn’t really, they weren’t able to put a name on.
[00:05:49] They knew fundamentally that there was something that they were doing that was working for them, and this kind of reinforced that. Gives it a name and kind of lets you kind of work towards repeatability, right? On the other side of things, you’ll have people that have never shot a gun in their life come and shoot it.
Travis Bader: [00:06:06] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:06:06] So last year when we had it, we had a girl who was, I think 14 or 15, had never shot a gun before and scored rifleman on her.
Travis Bader: [00:06:17] Fantastic.
Graeme Foote: [00:06:18] On her end of the day qualification target.
Travis Bader: [00:06:21] Well, she must have been beaming.
Graeme Foote: [00:06:22] Yeah, she was incredibly happy. Her dad was with her and he was very, very happy, he brought her out just as a father daughter sort of thing, and she ended up having a great time. And that’s kind of the fundamentals behind Mapleseed, is a teachable attitude, right? So if you’re open to learning, you’re going to take more out of it.
[00:06:42] If you’re kind of set in your ways and habits, good or bad, then you may not get as much out. But if you have a teachable attitude and you’re open to kind of the instruction that’s there for you, then you’re definitely gonna take a lot out of it.
Travis Bader: [00:06:55] So you’re an up and coming marksman. You’re definitely making a name for yourself on the competitive circuit, and I’m sure you’ve taken something away from Project Mapleseed to the point where you’re now becoming an instructor.
Graeme Foote: [00:07:06] Yeah, yeah. I really, I really love what it represents. I love that it makes it accessible for people to come in and shoot on on a very reasonable price point right. It’s cheap to shoot, it’s rimfire, it’s 22 ammo, so it’s very, very cheap there as well. And at the end of the day, even if you don’t qualify for rifleman, you’ve spent a day learning and shooting for not a whole pile of money. And putting forth this kind of marksmanship training to people is it’s really fulfilling right?
[00:07:37] Like you see the improvement even over the course of a day with the training, so it’s good. I mean I shot it last year and I ended up qualifying for rifleman, which is one of the prerequisites to be an instructor is you have to qualify as a rifleman. And I was doing things in competition that I learned at Mapleseed that I now could put a name on name to like the technique that they teach, natural point of aim, that sort of thing.
Travis Bader: [00:08:01] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:08:02] And yeah kind of understanding how to repeatably get your natural point of aim so that when you take your shot, it’s at exactly where you want it to be.
Travis Bader: [00:08:11] I guess it’s all 22 rifle, is it?
Graeme Foote: [00:08:13] Yes. 25 meters, 22 rifle and I mean it removes a lot of the external factors like wind and that sort of stuff so that you’re able to kind of focus on the shooting and not worrying about the things that could affect a bullet.
Travis Bader: [00:08:30] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:08:30] While you’re shooting.
Travis Bader: [00:08:31] And two of the most offensive things in shooting, being recoil and noise are greatly minimized by shooting 22.
Graeme Foote: [00:08:40] Yeah, it’s you almost don’t even need to have ear pro on because it’s so quiet but.
Travis Bader: [00:08:45] That’s how I was raised.
Graeme Foote: [00:08:46] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:08:46] Here’s your 22, you don’t need a ear pro for 22.
Graeme Foote: [00:08:48] Yeah, it’s good. But watching 15 people shooting targets that are incredibly small, even at 25 meters, they’re incredibly small, is pretty awesome. I mean there’s a target that we shoot during the instruction that simulates up to 500 meters. So you’re.
Travis Bader: [00:09:06] Very cool. And I should just, for the listeners out there, you should wear hearing protection for 22.
Graeme Foote: [00:09:11] Yep, and eye pro. Mandatory.
Travis Bader: [00:09:12] So this 14 year old girl, she scored quite well, very confident, very happy at the end of the day. What about the people who just can’t get it? Because it can be very discouraging when you’re missing the target over and over, and that can mentally compound itself to reflect even poor scores on the target.
Graeme Foote: [00:09:32] Yes. So they really reinforce the positivity, right? They don’t want you to focus on what you did wrong. They want to focus on what you did right and reinforce what you did right and then build on that right? So they, Rick likes to call it the precision parfait and so they take all of the instruction and kind of pile it on top of one another until you’ve got this kind of block of training that you know, you have all of these steps that you can take and when you’re looking at the targets, after you’ve shot them, they tell a story and you can kind of match what’s happening on the targets to one of the steps of instruction.
[00:10:09] And so they really focus on the positive side of things and kind of work towards reinforcing that as opposed to, well, that was not the greatest shot, and here’s why. No that was, this is a really good group over here, you know, you’re just, your natural point of aim was off. So if you adjust your body, you’re going to bring that group from the outside of the scoring zone to the inside of the scoring zone.
[00:10:29] And so the positivity that is behind it is awesome, is the best part about it. Everybody is incredibly welcoming and is open to sharing information and kind of talking about what worked for them on stages and like how people can approach stages if they’re new and unsure. Ryan Steacy and myself run this matchup at Mission called Action Rifle Rimfire, and we really kind of encourage new shooters to come out.
[00:10:56] We really foster kind of that sort of positivity, like bring new shooters out and there’s going to be, if you don’t have the right gear, somebody going to be able to lend you the the gear that you need. If you’ve never shot off of a barricade or off of something before, somebody is going to give you tips and tricks on how to do it. If you’ve never kind of figured out what a 22 bullet does out to 287 meters, there’s people that are going to help you out right? It’s really cool.
Travis Bader: [00:11:21] So you’re saying for both Mapleseed and Action Rifle Rimfire if, let’s say I don’t have a firearm, I could show up and there might be one available for me, or how does that work?
Graeme Foote: [00:11:33] So for Mapleseed, 100%,. They have loaner rifles for sure.
Travis Bader: [00:11:36] Who supplies those?
Graeme Foote: [00:11:37] Those are donated. They’ve been given donations by their sponsors, they’ve been given donations by individual people. I know for a fact that there has been people back East who have bought and purchased rifles for Mapleseed to use as loaner rifles, which is really, really fantastic. It’s kind of this grassroots community fed instruction that’s just really, really great. Like they anticipated to do, I dunno, under 10 events the first year, and I think they did 25 or so, so it’s.
Travis Bader: [00:12:08] No kidding.
Graeme Foote: [00:12:08] Grown exponentially at this point. They’re really looking for instructors to kind of step up and be able to kind of exponentially grow that, which is going to be awesome.
Travis Bader: [00:12:20] And the number of people who can attend, let’s say a Mapleseed event would be, I’m sure, capped based on the number of firearms?
Graeme Foote: [00:12:27] No, it’s capped.
Travis Bader: [00:12:27] Or relays.
Graeme Foote: [00:12:28] No it’s capped at 15.
Travis Bader: [00:12:30] Okay.
Graeme Foote: [00:12:30] The reason it’s capped at 15, cause it’s still a good size group of people, but it’s small enough that the instruction can be a little bit more personalized. Like you’re not just, instructor at the front of the room talking to 60 people and you’re not going to get a chance to talk to them kind of one-on-one. Like when it’s 15 or so people they really have the ability to take the time and provide that kind of hands on instruction and correction and reinforcement.
Travis Bader: [00:12:56] Do people retake the Mapleseed?
Graeme Foote: [00:12:58] Yup. We had, we definitely had two people this year I believe, that had shot at last year, which was awesome. We had a number of, a couple of people didn’t actually make it out that had registered and one was a retake from last year as well, so that was pretty cool.
Travis Bader: [00:13:13] What about firearms licenses? Do they do they need a firearms license in order to to come or can they do it without one?
Graeme Foote: [00:13:18] Nope. They can do it without one. I mean, it’s the same as anybody going to go shoot with a friend or, it’s like going to any range that allows drop-ins, right?
Travis Bader: [00:13:25] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:13:25] You have the range safety officers that are helping out, you have the instruction on how to safely handle a firearm. All of that is presented to you in a way that you don’t need to have your firearms license. You can go and you can take the course, and if it’s something that interests you after that, then you can go out and get your PAL and then continue to learn on your own and keep using these tools to reinforce shooting.
Travis Bader: [00:13:47] No, that’s great. And I totally understand how that works, I’m just, want to convey to the listeners, maybe they are interested in getting into the sport, but they think, well I don’t have the time to get the firearms license or all the training, that’s quite a commitment in order to learn about it. Or maybe they do have their firearms license, they want to learn about something, but the are thinking, can I invite a friend who doesn’t have their license? And it sounds like Mapleseed accounts for all of that.
Graeme Foote: [00:14:10] Yup. Yup, they’re really good about all of that. They make sure that people that want to do it that may not have the means to do it, are able to come out and do it.
Travis Bader: [00:14:18] And what double for Action Rifle Rimfire, is that something that follows about the same principle? Would there be ammo that would be made available from a license holder, perhaps maybe some extra rifles kicking around?
Graeme Foote: [00:14:31] If they get ahold of us before the match and say, look we want to shoot this, we don’t have a rifle can you sort something out? Yeah, we’ll start something. At the very least, you can hot gun with somebody that’s on that relay with you right. And hot gunning I mean, is both of you shooting the same rifle at alternating times so that somebody that doesn’t have access to a rifle is able to use it. And ammo, ammo’s dirt cheap, like.
Travis Bader: [00:14:55] Yeah.
Graeme Foote: [00:14:55] Flip me 20 bucks. There you go, you’ve got enough of the match.
Travis Bader: [00:14:58] And Action Rifle, you’re shooting steel or paper, cardboard?
Graeme Foote: [00:15:01] It’s all steel. Steel out to 287 meters, which is the longest we can get a target at Mission. And for the further targets, we’ve got indicators that light up when you hit them, but for the most part, everything is, you’re able to see and hear the impacts, which is pretty awesome. It’s immediate feedback.
Travis Bader: [00:15:17] Absolutely love steel for that.
Graeme Foote: [00:15:18] Steel is great. Most people don’t really understand what we say when we tell them, we’re going to go shoot steel it to 287 meters with a 22. Because a lot of people don’t know that you can shoot a 22 that far. In some instances, there’s extreme long range 22 and that’s four or five, 600 meters, depending on where you’re going. If we had a longer range, we would probably put steel further out because it’s incredibly challenging and a lot of fun and incredibly gratifying when you’re able to hit steel really far out.
Travis Bader: [00:15:49] I love it.
Graeme Foote: [00:15:50] We had this one gentleman come and shoot the match, he just happened to be at the range while we were setting up and was asking us about what we were doing and what we were all about, and he’s like, do you have any room to shoot this? Yeah, sure we do. He’s like, okay, goes away, comes to his truck, comes back. He’s like, how much did you say it was? And hands me cash. He ended up coming and shooting the next day with a gun that he wasn’t 100% comfortable with, he was making the occasional hit.
[00:16:13] It was a bit frustrating for him, but he had a really good time. At the end of the day, Ryan let him shoot his rifle and when he had gear that kind of was a little bit more tailored for what we were doing, he was making hit after hit after hit, so he left the day with a big smile on his face. One of the big problems for him as he was using a bench rest scope and it kind of didn’t really lend itself well to a little bit more of a dynamic shooting experience. But he ended up winning a scope at the end of the day.
Travis Bader: [00:16:41] So there’s prizes at the end.
Graeme Foote: [00:16:42] Yeah. Yeah. We’re pretty fortunate with our sponsors. We’re sponsored by Wanstalls, International Barrels, MDT, Gongjoe, Calibre, Reliable Gun, and they’ve all kind of stepped up to give us some pretty awesome prizes. Our next matches this Saturday, August 10th and we’re giving away two scopes and a rifle.
Travis Bader: [00:17:01] Wow.
Graeme Foote: [00:17:02] And barrel from International, and I think MDT has kind of ponied up some surprises as well.
Travis Bader: [00:17:09] Well, what does it cost to enter?
Graeme Foote: [00:17:10] It is $45.
Travis Bader: [00:17:12] That’s it eh?
Graeme Foote: [00:17:12] Yep, 45 bucks to enter. And we have 50 guys show up and shoot this and we’ll have five relays running at once and we’ll rotate through five stages in the morning and five stages in the afternoon. We generally have time for lunch breaks as well, which is great. So people get a bit of downtime and you know, socializing and talking to people they’ve never met before.
Travis Bader: [00:17:32] And you said this gentleman who was getting a little frustrated with his performance, but having a lot of fun walked away with a rifle scope at the end.
Graeme Foote: [00:17:39] Correct.
Travis Bader: [00:17:40] So am I to take from that, that prizes aren’t necessarily divvied out for top shooters but.
Graeme Foote: [00:17:45] So we don’t operate that way. We put everybody’s name into a hat and everybody has an opportunity to win right? We want to make it fair for everybody to kind of have the opportunity to get something off the prize table.
Travis Bader: [00:17:59] I love that.
Graeme Foote: [00:18:01] All too often you see like bigger matches where prices go to like the top guys and.
Travis Bader: [00:18:06] Same people.
Graeme Foote: [00:18:07] Yep, same people are winning. Same people are walking out with like thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Travis Bader: [00:18:12] And it’s discouraging if you don’t have the proper kit or you don’t have the experience and training and. To come on out just to know before you even go in that, yeah I’m not even going to be eligible for a prize at the end of this.
Graeme Foote: [00:18:23] Yeah, I mean some instances you’ll see some of the top guys will give away their prizes, and I think that’s really fantastic. Ryan and I both have the same sort of philosophy, like we want everybody to have the same opportunity to win something off the prize table. It’s a nice incentive at the end of the day, you stick around, you socialize, we do the draws and it’s not going to be the same people who’ve won the matches taking home all the prizes.
Travis Bader: [00:18:46] So what kind of a rifle would be a good rifle if this guy’s bench rest scope, and what was he shooting? A bolt action?
Graeme Foote: [00:18:53] No, he was shooting, what was he shooting? I think it was a 10-22.
Travis Bader: [00:18:57] Okay.
Graeme Foote: [00:18:58] Ruger 10-22 in a like a tapco chassis.
Travis Bader: [00:19:02] Okay. So what would you recommend as something that would be a good quality or maybe two levels, something that’s going to be the Gucci kit and something that a beginner could come out and be competitive with?
Graeme Foote: [00:19:12] Yeah, so there’s all sorts of levels of rifle for every budget, right? Like you can, I shoot a bone stock Savage Mark II and it was under $300, without the scope, but it was under $300. Making consistent hits out to 287 meters with it. It does the job, it’s got a plastic tupperware stock on it, but it still is, it holds it zero and it does what it, does what it’s told when it’s time to shoot.
[00:19:40] You could shoot it with a 10-22 you can shoot it with a like people are picking up these new Tikka T1x’s.
Travis Bader: [00:19:46] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:19:46] That are quite nice. They’re really, really nice rifles for the price point, I think they’re under 600 bucks. CZ makes a really nice 22. We’re seeing a lot of people come up with bolt actions, they seem to be the rifle of choice for people and you can go all the way up to like a Vudoo 22 which are like thousands of dollars.
[00:20:02] It’s all what you want to put into it. If you want to just have a rifle to plink and come out and shoot the match with and you only have $300 to spend, then great, bring it, it’s going to do the job. You know, we’re going to be able to get you making it’s on target.
Travis Bader: [00:20:16] Let’s take a little bit of a divergence here, a number of years ago, it was funny, I was teaching a course and just so happened to learn that there are a number of people from Lulu Lemon on a firearm safety course. And I guess it was something the employees are doing on the side as a bit of a team building thing. Of course, they were trying to get us into having our instructors wear Lulu Lemon gear. The funny thing was that Arc’Teryx was also on that course.
Graeme Foote: [00:20:41] Oh wow.
Travis Bader: [00:20:42] So there is a little bit of a competitive nature between the two of them.
Graeme Foote: [00:20:45] Absolutely.
Travis Bader: [00:20:46] And just given the background of what we do, Arc’Teryx definitely the favourable choice for our instructors. Yoga gear for a firearms instructor, I’m not sure if that’s quite the right fit.
Graeme Foote: [00:20:57] No, probably not. I get teased pretty heavily sometimes. Why aren’t you wearing Lulu on the firing line? I’ve got Lulu socks on, does that count?
Travis Bader: [00:21:06] Most people wouldn’t equate somebody with Lulu Lemon as being active in the shooting sports. Can you go to work and talk openly and freely about firearms or is that something that’s not?
Graeme Foote: [00:21:17] No, I don’t hide it at all. Everybody on my team knows what I do. I don’t really kind of shy away from talking about it. If people don’t want to talk about it, then they don’t ask about it. But if people do ask about it, I’m happy to talk about it. And Lulu Lemon is really great that they are very open and very welcoming for all sorts of walks of life and hobbies and anything you can think of really.
[00:21:41] They very much pride themselves on inclusion and so I’ve never had a single problem at work talking about firearms. I mean, I’ve offered to take people out shooting and people have taken me up on it, it’s great. one of my coworkers went and got his PAL after getting his permanent residence when he moved over here from India.
[00:21:57] A number of people outside of my team have also asked me about it, which is great. I’m proud to say that I’m able to talk about it freely at work and it’s not an issue.
Travis Bader: [00:22:05] Yeah.
Graeme Foote: [00:22:05] We stay away from the politics side of things, and we just kind of treat it like any other hobby, like water-skiing or photography or whatever.
Travis Bader: [00:22:13] Just enjoy the hobby.
Graeme Foote: [00:22:14] Yup.
Travis Bader: [00:22:15] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:22:15] Yup. I mean, they see that I’m competitive with it, they know I’m competitive with it. And they kind of like to talk about my experiences shooting in a competitive situation and where it’s challenging, where it’s not and that sort of thing and it’s good. I’ve had some really good dialogues with people about it.
Travis Bader: [00:22:30] You’ve recently shot the Snipers Hide Cup.
Graeme Foote: [00:22:32] Yeah, that was a challenging course. That was something that I left with a ton of learnings. It’s a different style of shooting than I’m used to. Although the fundamentals are the same, you’re focusing on making the right shot at the right time, you’re also fighting with awkward positions.
[00:22:48] There was a lot of shooting off a tripod, which was something that I had not done before that match. And you see guys that are doing it and are consistently making hits up to six, seven, 800 metres on a tripod and you’re struggling to get one or two. It’s a bit of an eye opener. It’s a very humbling experience.
[00:23:05] It kind of keeps you cantered and grounded cause there’s always going to be a guy better than you. But it was awesome, I had a great time. The Eastern hills of Washington state are very beautiful and this was up on somebody’s like 5,000 acre ranch, it was good. We shot in a lot of really awkward positions. So we shot multiple targets, we shot moving targets, it was awesome.
Travis Bader: [00:23:26] And this spanned over a couple of days, didn’t it?
Graeme Foote: [00:23:27] Yeah, this was a two day match. So there was two distinct ranges, one was at one part of the ranch, and then the other one was about 10 minutes down the road up on a mountain side. So you’re in a valley on the side of like a hill, probably 500 feet up. Some of the shooting on that stage was across the valley, which is pretty cool. So there was like steel targets up hidden in trees that you had to find.
Travis Bader: [00:23:50] Oh very cool.
Graeme Foote: [00:23:50] Range and shoot. So most of the relays were paired shootings, so I was shooting with Ryan Steacy. You had to find the targets, range those targets, take your shot, switch, partner does it, and then you get your hits and all within about six minutes right?
Travis Bader: [00:24:08] Wow.
Graeme Foote: [00:24:09] It sounds like a lot of time, but when you’re trying to make sure that you’re both in position at the same time or swapping off. It gets pretty crunchy in there, it’s good.
Travis Bader: [00:24:21] How many competitors?
Graeme Foote: [00:24:22] I think there was about a 110 or so. There was a pretty big group of guys. It was good.
Travis Bader: [00:24:28] And how far in advance did you have to register as a Canadian?
Graeme Foote: [00:24:32] So I registered about three months in advance. They’re pretty good about sending out all of the information you need as a Canadian citizen to come across the border. You need your form 6 NIA from the ATF, which turnaround time lately has been about two weeks, which isn’t too, too bad. They take it via email now, so you don’t have to fax it or anything like that.
[00:24:52] And then they send it back to you stamped and approved. You have your letter for the match, you have your form six, you have your registration certificate for your restricted firearms. And you go to the border and you’d declare them and they take inside, they check your licensing, and then they send you on your way. It’s a pretty painless process. It was a process that I had not been through yet.
Travis Bader: [00:25:12] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:25:13] So this was my first time traveling to the States with firearms and a restricted at that point, and it was a bit nerve wracking at first, but it was incredibly smooth. I mean we had to go sit in secondary for 10 minutes while they looked us over cause we had four guys in the truck and I think we had seven firearms.
Travis Bader: [00:25:32] Okay.
Graeme Foote: [00:25:33] So there’s a bunch.
Travis Bader: [00:25:36] So let’s talk about being a role model, what’s that like? How did, did that just naturally come to you? Is that something you’ve done your entire life or is it something that you’re really jumping into with both feet?
Graeme Foote: [00:25:45] I think if you ask my mom, she’d probably say that I have been doing it all my life.
Travis Bader: [00:25:51] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:25:52] Growing up as an amputee without a hand, it’s something that I have to kind of overcome over the years. I mean, I’ve had plenty of time to go through that and kind of figure out my way around it. When I was growing up, I had involvement in the War Amps of Canada Champ program, which is the child amputee program where they kind of have the seminars on all sorts of different topics and prosthetics and all that sort of thing. And my mom likes to tell the story about how I was teaching kids with same sort of disability that I have, how to tie shoes.
Travis Bader: [00:26:22] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:26:22] At like seven or eight years old so. A number of years ago my girlfriend, now wife, at the time suggested that I start writing a blog and so I did that and it kind of, it didn’t take off or anything like that, but I mean people read it. I got a decent amount of views. I haven’t really kind of written anything in the past year, but it did get some attention, which is kind of cool and led to some articles in Calibre Magazine. I did a precision reloading article there, which was pretty cool. I’ve had some of my photos on the cover of the NFA magazine.
Travis Bader: [00:26:56] I’ve seen those yes.
Graeme Foote: [00:26:58] Yeah. And then Dan at Calibre reached out and asked if I would like to do an interview with a media outlet, which was interesting and strange to me, so I said, sure why not? And we ended up doing a piece with CTV, which was pretty cool. It was a bit hesitant because sometimes mainstream media doesn’t necessarily pick up on the right things when it comes to firearms.
Travis Bader: [00:27:16] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:27:17] But they picked up on everything, which was all the right things like.
Travis Bader: [00:27:20] They did a good job.
Graeme Foote: [00:27:21] They did a really good job with it, it was good. Jason Perez, the anchor that met me and talked to me, he was super open about it. He was really, really, really, really interested in what I do and how I do it from a perspective of somebody with a disability.
Travis Bader: [00:27:39] Sure.
Graeme Foote: [00:27:40] So it was really, really cool to kind of see that come to light. It was my 15 minutes of fame I guess. It was interesting for sure and it was awkward. Really awkward.
Travis Bader: [00:27:50] Sure. I can appreciate that. But that 15 minutes of fame seems to be something that you’re turning into, to bring others into the sport. It’s not something that you’re internalizing and standing up on a pedestal. It’s something that you’re now turning around and using to promote the shooting sports to get other people into something that’s brought you a lot of happiness and confidence.
Graeme Foote: [00:28:11] Yeah, it’s really good, I mean I love shooting. The shooting that I do, the playing fields levelled now, whereas other kinds of sports will, wouldn’t be. My disability would be exactly that.
Travis Bader: [00:28:23] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:28:24] So I love that I’m able to be competitive with people, my peers, and beat them, sometimes. It’s great. It’s a really big boost of the confidence, for sure. it’s also very humbling when you don’t do well.
Travis Bader: [00:28:37] Sure, sure.
Graeme Foote: [00:28:38] But everybody goes through that, right? You can’t be the best shooter, the best at everything all the time, it just doesn’t work that way. But I don’t use that as a focus for negativity, I kind of focus on the positive side of things and what I’ve learned and how I can do better, which is good.
[00:28:59] Anytime anybody asks me about Mapleseed or Action Rifle Rimfire even shooting the big bore precision matches, I’m always, always an advocate for just coming out and shooting them. Put your apprehensions aside and just come in and do it right. You’ll have a great time, you’ll meet some people, you’ll learn some things. At the end of the day, it’s a day shooting, which is fun right.
Travis Bader: [00:29:21] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:29:22] And that’s what it should be fun. Like, it I try not to take myself too seriously when it comes to shooting, I like to have fun when I’m out so.
Travis Bader: [00:29:30] You’re sort of like the Jim Abbott of rifle shooting.
Graeme Foote: [00:29:34] He was somebody I looked up to for a long time. Yeah. He was an impressive pitcher in the major leagues.
Travis Bader: [00:29:42] Oh huge.
Graeme Foote: [00:29:43] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:29:43] Didn’t he pitch a no hitter against Cleveland there when he was with the Yankees?
Graeme Foote: [00:29:47] I think so. He was accomplished for what he, and his disability is very similar to mine.
Travis Bader: [00:29:55] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:29:56] And I played ball the same way he did, right. My hand would stay or my glove would stay over the hand and I put it on to catch.
Travis Bader: [00:30:05] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:30:06] Pull it off to throw. It was.
Travis Bader: [00:30:07] Oh very cool.
Graeme Foote: [00:30:08] It was cool. I played ball for a long, a number of years.
Travis Bader: [00:30:10] Very cool. You talk about the confidence side. Do you want to share your mental management process like pregame, during, after. What do you do in order to get your head in the right place?
Graeme Foote: [00:30:24] So my sort of process is I make sure that I have all of my tools that are ready for me right? Like I have my mags loaded, right? I have my ammo next to me in case I drop a bullet out, or I need to get one quickly. I’ve got my shooting bags and kind of get set up into position. I take a number of deep breaths, I close my eyes as I’ve got my scope on the target to make sure that I’m in the position that I need to be and there’s no movement behind the rifle.
[00:30:50] That’s natural point of aim on the Mapleseed side of things, and I just focus on taking that one shot and not focusing on what happens next. So if I know I’m shooting very well and I’m getting good hits, I don’t like to think ahead, past the shot that’s right in front of me, I just want to focus on the one shot.
[00:31:11] If I pull a shot because of something that I’ve done, that means my mental marksmanship, my mental game is not there. I’ve come out of that zone and I need to get back into that and kind of let that, that four or three point shot kind of go and not focus on that. There’s always time after the match to kind of go over the good and the bad.
[00:31:33] And I think after the match is the time to talk about the negatives in the matches where you talk about nothing but positives, right? I got a lot of reinforcement when I’m shooting with Ryan. He’s always spotting behind me and telling me, that’s a great shot, keep doing that. You’re doing what you need to be doing right now so let’s keep that up.
[00:31:52] If I make a mistake and I talk about it, he’s very good to be like, let’s talk about that later, let’s focus on the next relay and kind of keep doing what we were doing last relay and those good shots, let’s think about those good shots and make more of them.
Travis Bader: [00:32:08] Let’s say you shot a fantastic course, the mental side, you’re winning, you’ve got that positive reinforcement. What if you leave and you didn’t perform how you were expecting that you would?
Graeme Foote: [00:32:19] I try not to beat myself up too much. You’re not going to shoot a perfect score all the time, right? The human error and the human interaction is going to be the part that kind of comes into play with what could go wrong. Or it could be, your powder load wasn’t as consistent as it should have been or the bullet that you seated is a half a grain lighter or something. There’s all sorts of factors in into that.
[00:32:43] I mean, you can take your time to figure it out, but unless you’re making note of, yeah, that was me pulling the trigger too fast, and I pulled the rifle a little bit to the left, and that’s why that shot went out there. It’s tough to kind of fully diagnose. I just kind of, I like to look at it as an overall feeling of how I’ve done it at a match or even just a practice day. If I’m not 100% in it, it definitely shows on targets. Like you can see that during practice for sure. Your groups open up or you’re just, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be.
Travis Bader: [00:33:13] You know, when I started Silvercore I had no idea what I was doing. In order for me to replicate what I have now, I could do it in a heartbeat. I’ve been down that road, I know the right path to take. The same thing would apply to marksmanship. Now you’ve been shooting more on the competitive side, you said for about four and a half years?
Graeme Foote: [00:33:32] Four or five years yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:33:33] Four or five years.
Graeme Foote: [00:33:34] I’ve only had my PAL for seven I think, and I’ve only actively been shooting for seven years.
Travis Bader: [00:33:40] So if you could turn around back seven years and talk to yourself, what would you tell yourself to kind of shorten that process?
Graeme Foote: [00:33:48] I don’t think that I would actually shorten that process, I think that that process is an important growth process. I think that you have to go through the failures and the the fumbling around things to kind of get to the point where you’re comfortable with where you’re able to shoot at at the present right.
[00:34:05] I think that I’ve had a pretty accelerated growth with marksmanship, I think that I’ve picked it up pretty quickly, which is good. With everything you go through peaks and plateaus, right? And so having the ability to get through those plateaus and kind of work through where you’re not necessarily at your best, right?
[00:34:22] It’s like everything, your growth goes up, but you also plateau and kind of stall for awhile, but you can work through that to kind of realize and recognize that that’s just a phase and that there’s growth further past that. There’s always a room for growth, right. I don’t think that anybody stops learning and anybody that tells you tells you that is liar. There’s no.
Travis Bader: [00:34:45] Or they’re just too naive to understand. What do they call that? The Dunning-Kruger effect, right?
Graeme Foote: [00:34:50] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:34:50] For people listening, if you’re plot out on a chart, the level of confidence somebody has when they first get into an activity, they’re learning a bunch of information. Their perception of their own ability level is quite high. As they learn more and more, it starts to dip. They realize how little they actually know in the activity, and then it starts to go up again, but it never seems to come back up to the initial confidence level.
[00:35:16] It’s an interesting concept, but for somebody to turn around and say, Hey, I know everything. That’s always an indicator to me that they’re either very early on in that whole Dunning-Kruger bar graph, or they’re just absolutely unaware of how much there is to actually know.
Graeme Foote: [00:35:33] Yeah. There’s never a point where you should stop learning and trying new things and testing out different techniques and different ways of doing things and different methods of shooting or even like. I’m going to be spending a lot of time this year shooting off the tripod because I shot in Washington and I would say 14 out of the 18 stages where it was off a tripod.
Travis Bader: [00:35:55] Really?
Graeme Foote: [00:35:56] If you didn’t have a tripod, there’s no way you could have shot that match.
Travis Bader: [00:35:58] So are people running hog saddles there or they running a fixed like LaRue or?
Graeme Foote: [00:36:03] So the way that people are running recently, it seems to be ARCA rails. So either they’re built into the chassis, like the ACC chassis from MDT as an ARCA rail built into the bottom of it, which is great. You just drop it into an ARCA rail compatible ball head and lock it into place, and it’s very, very solid. I shot off a hog saddle and that was like shooting off a wobbly table.
[00:36:28] It was, I don’t have an ARCA rail on my rifle, I’ve got a basic stock, I don’t have a chassis. I will be changing that for next shooting season. I’ll be probably putting my rifle into an ACC. If that doesn’t work out, then I’ll probably just get an ARCA rail milled into the bottom of my rifle so that I’m able to make use of a stable platform.
Travis Bader: [00:36:49] That big of a difference eh?
Graeme Foote: [00:36:50] It is a huge difference. So one of the stages in Sniper’s Hide was in such a small area that you had to engage three targets at, that Ryan and I just hot gunned it. We used his rifle, we were able to find a place in this tiny little area up on the side of the hill where we could see all three targets. And we just hot gunned it and moved our bodies as opposed to messed around with rifles.
Travis Bader: [00:37:12] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:37:13] And so I shot his ACC on a tripod. It was really, really solid and it was like night and day. It was really, really rock solid, it’s bulletproof. It’s good. I like shooting off a tripod when it’s a stable platform.
Travis Bader: [00:37:27] Right.
Graeme Foote: [00:37:28] It’s more challenging when it’s a hog saddle and you’ve got a lot of opportunity to move around, but for the most part, yeah it was good and a lot of fun.
Travis Bader: [00:37:37] Well Graeme, thank you very much for being on this podcast. Definitely appreciate it.
Graeme Foote: [00:37:41] Thank you for having me on. It was good.
Travis Bader: [00:37:43] That concludes this episode of The Silvercore Podcast. Thank you for listening.
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