Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sporting Clays Invitation on Target to Support the Services to Armed Forces

Story by Lindsay Hale Murdock

Participants register for the 2nd Annual Sporting
Clays Invitational. Photo by R.W. Firth/American
Red Cross
Participants of the Second Annual Sporting Clay Invitational on June 4 were greeted with a shot of warm Colorado sunshine to begin a day of clay shooting and fundraising for a great cause. The American Red Cross’ event brought together sporting enthusiasts, both military and civilian in an event to build camaraderie and support our military through the Services to the Armed Forces program. Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch located in Elbert, Colorado, was the backdrop for the occasion. Among rolling hills and stunning rock formations, the buzz of the clay pigeons and excitement filled the air.

Proceeds from the Invitational will go to support the Service to the Armed Forces programs like, Homes for Veterans, Emergency Communications, Material Support for Service Members and Homeless Veteran Standdowns. Koby Langely, Senior Vice President for Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces flew in for the event. “It is great to see this kind of support for our Service to Armed Forces programs,” Langely said. “The money we raise from this event will go a long way to support our service members, their families and veterans.”

General Gene Renuart (L) addresses the participants at the 2nd
Annual Sporting Clays Invitational.  CEO Gino Greco stands
in the background. Photo by R.W. Firth/American Red Cross
Tom Gonzalez, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado, along with  event Co-chairs Gene Renuart, General, USAF (Ret.) and Christian Anschutz opened the event, which consisted of various competition stations. Scores for each station were tallied and the winning squad was announced from there. This year’s Shooting Clays Invitational featured 15 stations. The event drew the attention of over 80 participants from across the country, including service members and first responders from the local area.

Participants receive a detailed safety briefing prior to
the opening of the 2nd Annual Sporting Clays Invitational.
Photo by R.W.Firth/American Red Cross

The Red Cross was conceived on the battlefield, with the original mission of supporting service members, and throughout the years has worked diligently to support our military and their families.  Emergency communications, deployment services for military and their families, and veteran services are just some of the areas the Red Cross supports today. Red Cross considers their Services to the Armed Forces branch their proudest and most heartfelt mission with over a century of service.

Sporting Clays is a timeless sport dating back to the mid-1800s in England. Game hunting was reserved for “landed gentry”, (Lords, Earls, Barons, etc.) who owned large estates with almost unlimited game. One had to be invited to hunt on the private property, which was often a mark of social standing. Poor marksmen could be passed over for the coveted invitation. Originally devised as a way to sharpen one’s shooting skills for live game hunting, clay shooting soon evolved into a sport in its own right, as participants became engrossed in the continuous availability of the clay targets. Today, Sporting Clays is the one of the fastest growing shotgun disciplines.

Dudley Baker (l), American Red Cross Southwestern and
Rocky  Mountain Division Director for Service to the
Armed Forces Director, and Koby Langley (r),
American Red Cross Senior Vice President for Service to
the Armed Forces , with SAF volunteer Lori Heatherington.
Photo by R.W. Firth/American Red Cross
This year’s overall winner was The Eaton Metal team from Pueblo.  (Mark Sterkel, Nick Silbaugh, Mike Marshall, and Rhett Ragsdale), who demonstration incredible talent in each station. There were also pre and post event contests for those who were particularly sharp in their skills. Good eats and a post event auction rounded out the all-day event. Congratulations and a big thanks to all who participated.
A special thank you to The Anschutz Corporation for providing lunch. Many thanks to all of the sponsors, especially ARROW, Christian P. Anschutz Foundation, Andy Cain, and El Pomar Foundation.

Additional photos of the 2nd Annual Sporting Clays Invitational are viewable on our Flickr album.

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