Feels So Good to Shoot for Charity - Shotgun Wife
January through March are the very busiest months we have each year at Joshua Creek Ranch. By then many open hunting seasons have ended around the country and the weather is far too savage in certain areas for shooters to enjoy an outdoor adventure. So for those shotgunning enthusiasts who want to continue wingshooting in inviting weather conditions, Joshua Creek ranch is a popular winter destination. In years past, we’ve focused entirely on our hunting guests during these months -- never dividing our attention to include the hosting of significant sporting clays events during this peak of our hunting season.
But 2014 is the year that we tried our hand at conducting a charity sporting clays shoot AND upland bird hunting simultaneously. “No big deal,” you might think. But for our team of professionals geared toward customizing each client’s reservation and giving attention to every detail of their stay at the Ranch, this was an enormous undertaking. Especially given the fact that our team defines the term “lean and mean.”
The challenge to simultaneously host wingshooters and a sporting clays charity event came after a San Antonio policeman was shot in the head on December 9, 2013 during a high-speed chase of two armed robbery suspects. Officer Deckard wasn’t scheduled to work, but was kindly covering for another officer who needed that particular day off. He died of his injury on December 20thand was buried on January 4, 2014. The tragic murder of this dedicated officer, husband and father outraged our community.
My husband, Joe, was the one who issued “the challenge” out of an overwhelming desire to assist the family of the fallen officer. He wanted Joshua Creek Ranch to host a sporting clays fundraiser on January 31stto benefit the children of Officer Deckard. Once the fire was lit, there was no stopping the determination to succeed in hosting the event for the sake of the Deckard family. With the help of a couple of equally avid volunteers from among our members, a shoot was organized, invitations circulated, and sponsors solicited…all within 3 short weeks.
God smiled on the entire endeavor. Community business leaders opened their wallets, the weather warmed to a sunny 72 degrees on the day of the shoot, and wingshooting guests on January 31st willingly modified their itineraries to accommodate the charity shooters. San Antonio police officers voluntarily manned the 15 station course as trappers/scorekeepers/referees. With armed referees, no surprise there were no shooters protesting their scores!
The atmosphere on the sporting clays course that day was one of pure and simple fun for a worthwhile cause. The competition was light-hearted and demonstrated the highest level of sportsmanship. Amazing what generosity does for the heart. Speaking of which, the best part of the day came when a beautiful over and under shotgun donated by Rizzini was put up for bidding as the only auction item.
The high bidder bought the gun for twice its value…but then, to loud applause, gave the gun back for another round of bidding. Again the gun brought more than its value and to the amazement of all was given back a second time. When third time bids were taken, the gun sold to the final buyer for its full value. Even the auctioneer had never seen the spirit of giving run so high.
Tears weren’t scarce among the crowd, including those San Antonio policemen present who got a true sense of how highly respected they are in this community. This impromptu fundraiser to aid the children of a dedicated law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty had raised over $60,000.
At the end of the day, thanks were exchanged among the organizers, volunteers, sponsors and shooters for all that had been done for Officer Deckard’s family. But we all knew it was inconsequential in comparison to what Deckard had done for our community. God bless and keep Robert Deckard.
With “the challenge” met, I’m looking forward to the coming spring and summer months when sporting clays shooters enthusiastically support the many charity shoots organized across this country to benefit those in need. The good vibes that come with the generous giving of time, talent, and money are beyond awesome. It’s just the way we were all made.
SHOTGUN WIFE (SYNDICATED COLUMN BY ANN KERCHEVILLE INSIDE SHOTGUN LIFE MAGAZINE)