The Barton Community College Foundation anticipates another growth spurt for its Fourth Annual Sporting Clay Shoot, which has attracted more and more participants each year since the first event in 2008. The clay shoot is a fund-raiser to provide mini grants for Barton faculty to enhance student learning, said Darnell Holopirek, Barton’s Executive Director of Institutional Advancement.
This year’s event is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at LaSada Sporting Clays and Hunting Service located south of Russell, which is considered one of the best shooting facilities in the state. The event started with 100 participants the first year, increased to 120 the second year and drew a crowd of 160 participants for last year’s event, making it the second largest clay competition in Kansas.
Barton’s clay shoot is second only to the Kansas State Registered Sporting Clay Shoot, which drew 180 participants for its four-day competition last year, said LaSada owner Scott Young. "We’re taking close to that many people and putting them into a one-day event and having a really good time with it," he said. "It’s kind of unusual that a fund-raising clay shoot would be that large."
He believes one of the reasons the Barton clay shoot is so successful is that it’s for a good cause. "People can see the impact of these mini grants for student learning – and for the $50 entry fee, they get a meal and get to go through the 10 shooting stations," he said.
Young is the one making sure it’s a good course for the participants. "It’s laid out with a variety of target presentations," he said. "They won’t see the same presentation at each station. Some roll on the ground; we call them rabbits. Other targets are coming at you, going away, right to left, left to right – any combination you can think of that’s interesting for the shooter."
Holopirek said the plan from the beginning has been to make this an event that people can come out and enjoy. "It’s an event for all ages. We’ve had participants as young as 8 and as old as 80," she said. "We want to make it a wonderful event that will continue to grow each year."
The clay shoot is a 100-Target Lewis Class Tournament, which is a qualifying event for other competitions. Members of the Fort Hays State University Shooting Team will officiate during the event.
Brett Middleton, president of Sunflower Bank in Great Bend and Ellinwood, who grew up hunting and shooting, is a continuing participant in the clay shoot and he’s enthusiastic about this year’s event. "We’ve really enjoyed putting a team in and going out there to shoot," he said. In addition to the friendly competition, he said he enjoys "seeing people out there, talking to them and having a good time for a good cause."
"It can be challenging," he said. "But you try to watch guys and listen to them. My best advice is to talk to the students with the shooting team working each station and they’ll give you some good pointers, then just relax and let it go."
Eileene Duryee, Ellinwood, has participated in each of the three previous Barton Foundation Clay Shoots and won the women’s division in two of them. Last year, she shot 82 percent to win the top women’s division prize. "That is a little higher than I normally shoot," she said, adding she usually scores in the mid 70s.
She started shooting in 1995 at the amateur competition level, she said, and began adding events. Last year, she and her husband, Bill, went to a national sporting clays event in San Antonio, Texas.
We don’t really practice for an event," she said. "We just make sure we’re well rested, well hydrated and that we’re dressed appropriately for the weather. For the Barton event, we just come as we are and shoot every session that’s offered."
She said she doesn’t want anyone to feel they’re not ready or good enough to come to the Barton clay shoot. "This event is a fun-filled day with friends and family," she said. "It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and the goal there is just to have fun, do the best you can and not worry about a score."
This year, her friend who won the women’s division the year Duryee didn’t win will be there. "We’ll have a friendly competition," Duryee said.
The Sporting Clay Shoot will have individuals or three-person teams competing in special shoots, side competitions and prize drawings for all ages. The last round begins at 3 p.m. The entry fee of $50 per person includes lunch prepared by LaSada, a round of 100 sporting clays, and chance to win door prizes. The fee does not include shells; those can be purchased at LaSada. Anyone who wants to come out just to watch the shoot is welcome to buy a $10 ticket for lunch, Holopirek said.
Foundation Board members have been excited about this fund-raiser since the first year, when they started getting sponsors for the event, Holopirek said. And the list of sponsors has grown along with the event. "We even have people call us and ask to be sponsors now," she said. "They know it’s a fun event and they know it’s going to get out to a lot of people so they want their name behind it."
Butterfly Supply Inc. and Smith Supply LLC are the clay shoot’s two major sponsors. Additional sponsorships, named in shotgun terms this year, are: 12-Gauge Shotgun: CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Eldridge Fencing, Farmers Bank and Trust NA and M&M Equipment; 20-Gauge Shotgun: Great Bend Farm Equipment, Great Bend Tribune, LaSada, Montana Mike’s Steakhouse and 10th Street Eye Care Center; .410 Shotgun: Dove Buick Cadillac Chevrolet, Golden Belt Telephone, Hammeke Electric Inc., Mel and Darnell Holopirek, L&M Contractors Inc., Schaller Construction and Venture Corporation. In addition, this year’s event has 25 station sponsors, and other donors have given cash and gift-in-kind donations, Holopirek said.
Lewis Class prizes of cash and/or special gifts will be awarded to teams and individuals this year. The adult team prize will be a one-day three-person pheasant hunt with LaSada Hunting Service. Men’s high and women’s high prizes will be Remington 870 Express 12-gauge shotguns. The youth prize is yet to be determined.
The Foundation would prefer to receive registrations before the event, but shooters can register up to and on the day of the shoot. Anyone wishing to register may contact LaSada Sporting Clays and Hunting Service, 3721 183rd Street, by phone, 785-483-3758; fax, 785-483-3714; or e-mail, email@example.com.
Through this event last year, the Foundation was able to award the following mini grants for enhancing student learning: a page turner, music reader software and tripod for instrumental music; 20 bats for the ceramics lab; 10 literature CDs for the English Department; a Rosetta Stone Spanish Language Kit for Fort Riley Language classes; five Introduction to Music DVDs for vocal music; soil pit construction and security for agriculture; laboratory supplies for chemistry; 60 calculators and 20 graphing calculators for the Math Department; a Venipuncture, Injection Arm and ear syringing model for nursing; a professional development speaker for business administration; and four DVDs and play scripts for BCC Theatre.