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May it ever be that way

Random Thoughts

This past Friday and Saturday Doris and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with folks who have become good friends over the past several years at “The Heat is On”,  a still target shooting competition at the Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, South Carolina. It was a 2-day event combined with a sporting clays shoot that drew a couple hundred shooters to the facility.

The Back Woods Quail Club is a beautiful place and the facilities are excellent. Doris and I have visited the club numerous times over the past 10 years and it's always a pleasure. The staff is very friendly and helpful and everything is well maintained. We could not ask for a better facility for a still target shoot.

This year we were able to visit with old friends that we've know for almost 20 years as well as newer friends of almost 5 years. We all have the love of shooting and hunting in common but even more than that, the preservation of our hunting habitat and of our hunting heritage.

After the shooting was over each day, we were able to visit and discuss the current state of shooting and hunting in our country. While we each see very positive trends, we also see the loss of habitat as a major threat to the way of life that we've enjoyed and want to preserve for future generations. No one has “the” answer but we all agreed that there must be many approaches to this subject if we are to be successful.

Our efforts will require a different way of thinking and the inclusion of many different folks, from different walks of life. I found it very encouraging to see not only the concern for this effort but that each of us had been thinking of some possible solutions that might work.

Our shoot was very encouraging because it not only had veteran shooters but also drew new participants to the sport. We had some folks who had been shooting sporting clays stop by, ask about still target shooting and then pick up a gun and give it a try. Two were young women who were shooting on a team in the registered clays shoot. They both did very well. A little later in the day the parents of one of the young ladies came by to investigate further and spent some time with one excellent shooter to inquire about guns and chokes needed for the sport.

Mark Cook of Greenwood, South Carolina was the shoot official and as always, ran a great event. The weather really cooperated the first day with a slightly overcast sky and some gentle breezes, keeping the temperatures very cool. Day 2 was more like a usual day in the lowlands of South Carolina with temperatures in the 90s and some high humidity.

The shooting was excellent but the camaraderie was even better. I saw times when every shooter there helped another shooter with equipment or advice. We shared hunting and shooting tales as well as food, water and encouragement. Every shooter pulled his or her own weight and also helped with set-up and tear-down each day. There was no job too big or too small. Everyone pitched-in to make the shoot a success.

Still target shooting is always a competitive event but all the competition was left on the field. I did not hear one complaint or excuse from any shooter and there were always congratulations all around to the winners of each squad and each class.

There is just something special about the friendships that you build in competitive sports regardless of what they are. You see just how much each person contributes not only to their personal success but to that of others.

Good times, good shooting and good friends. May it ever be that way.

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