Rock Bridge Lions Club shoot benefits Central Missouri Food Bank

Saturday, June 4, 2011 | 6:01 p.m. CDT
Andrew Ratcliff and Rob Hyder shoot at clay pigeons while volunteers look on at the the Rock Bridge Lions Club's annual clay shoot.

BOONVILLE — At the first station of the Two-Man Scramble, Bill Morgan positioned his gun and waited.

"Pull!" Bang!

Gunshots rang out. Morgan and his teammate shot at the bright orange clays soaring across an open field. They shattered each one.

Morgan, one of the coordinators of the event, was just one of hundreds of shooters who came out to the 17th annual Rock Bridge Lions Club Clay Shoot at River Hills Sporting Clays in Boonville. The clay shoot benefits the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

"We were looking for an entity to raise funds for without a big administration expense and a service that was needed," Morgan said. "It's gratifying to give back to the community."

Within the event are two tournaments. The first is a Two-Person Scramble, where shooters pair up, shoot at 75 total targets at seven stations, recording the best shooter's score. The second tournament is the 100-target sporting clays, where single shooters shoot at 100 targets total from 14 different stations.

In addition to raising money for the food bank, Morgan believes the event conveys a message about sport shooting.

"It's a good way to say gun owners can be responsible citizens and use our talents for good things and charity," Morgan said.

Garry Banks marked his 10th year at the annual clay shoot when he and his sons participated in the Two-Man Scramble on Saturday.

"The Food Bank draws me here," Banks said. "I love to shoot and raise money for a good cause. It's a charity that is close to my heart." Banks has been a shooter for 40 years.

Veteran shooters were not the only ones at the clay shoot. Rachel Ellerseick, communications coordinator at the food bank, said she saw a good mixture of experienced and inexperienced shooters throughout the day.

"This is one of the few shoots where over 50 percent of shooters are unexperienced. The food bank has a lot of loyal followers," said Kevin Pickett, owner of River Hills Sporting Clays. Most of the shooters who come out only shoot once per year, and that is for this event, Pickett said.

All proceeds go directly to the food bank. Over the years the event has raised nearly $155,000.

"It's a great cause, and we're excited to be able to host the event," Pickett said.

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