All in all, easily the most dramatic SC I've ever seen. The extra $20K did exactly what we expected it to do — jacked up the pressure on the Super Squad. I think Sakai was on a track to walk away with the match and the money when he DQ'ed. According to our pencils, he's toppled the world record on the stages he'd shot, and he was shooting like machine. The DQ was, of course, the classic speed/pressure DQ...knock safety off 'way too early; finger on the trigger; bang.
Sakai's DQ seemed to throw everyone's match strategies up in the air...Todd J. said following Sakai was one of the hardest things he'd ever done, because he couldn't get "keep finger off trigger!" out of his head. J.J. stepped up and smoked through Outer Limits...absolutely amazing, with one run after the other besting his own world record speeds.
Going into the last stage, Speed Option, it was J.J.'s match to lose. Frankly, both me and Paul Erhardt from SIGARMS thought he had the match and the money (our unofficial running tallies — which we were EXTREMELY careful to keep from the competitors as part of our deal with the SC! — showed that J.J. needed to run an average of 2.92 seconds for three runs to take the match and money...since he'd been running 2.3s in practice, we thought all he had to do was cruise). Speed Option has always been J.J.'S nemesis, and it proved to be that again on Saturday. J.J. stepped up and couldn't BUY a decent run.
Doug Koenig had two mediocre runs on Speed Option...that's mediocre for HIM; if I had two runs like that I'd get down on my hands and knees and weep for joy...which opened the door for Max. RE: Doug, it seemed to Mike Fichman, Mike Dalton and I that Doug was never going for the bucks, but was running a strategy to win the match (I haven't talked to Doug on this, so it's pure speculation).
We'd been running the numbers all day, and we knew that Max, Mike Voigt and Todd Jarrett were hanging just below J.J, and Doug, with less than a second separating the chase group from the leaders. Max especially was shooting no-holds-barred wide open; he'd had a couple of runs that matched K.C.'s single runs, which was amazing because K.C., clearly out of the running, was swinging for the wall for the stage money.
When Max stepped up on Speed Option, he had NO IDEA how much the balance had shifted (we were frantically rearranging cameras behind his back!). He shot like a machine. When he came off the line, Todd stepped forward to congratulate him, and Max looked thunderstruck. He kept saying, "I won?"
Hell of a finish!
We really wanted to give away the money! I spoke with Outdoor Channel executives Sunday night, and while we'll need to talk about iit in the light of day, the overall feeling was that we'll not only let the money ride, but see what we can do about kicking it up a couple of notches.
I'm also going to lobby for a 1 hour (or more) video to sell, with proceeds going to prize money. We busted our butts on the video, and I'd love to give you guys a chance to see more than we can televise.
THANK YOU TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SUPER SQUAD, WHO PUT UP WITH A HUGE LEVEL OF INTRUSION FROM OUR CREWS!!!
Thanks to TGO for making faces behind my back on the intro...watch for it at the end of Episode 2!!!!
Thanks to Mike and Mike for working with us to create the best teevee show on a shooting competition EVER!
Thanks to Lisa Farrell for being our production slave as soon as she finished shooting.
Thanks to Mickey Fowler, the Mikes, TGO (The Great One, Rob Leatham), Mike Voigt and Todd Jarrett for giving us an amazing amount of on-camera perspective on the match and the stages.
You'll be seeing the SG in February on The Outdoor Channel. I'll also try to have a hi-def version running at the booth at the SHOT Show.
We've also agreed to film an episode with Max Michel, as is TOTALLY appropriate!