- Last Updated on 07:55 AM 04/09/14
- BY Toby Lee/Special to The Gazette
What do turkeys, zombies and firefighters have in common? Well normally the answer would be, “not much, if anything.”
However this spring, the three are going to come together in a unique fundraising event held at Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department on Friday, April 25.
In an attempt to raise money for day to day operations of the department, the Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a spring turkey shoot with a bit of a twist.
When asked just what this was all about, Station 7 spokesman Richard Powell said, “Every year our department hosts an annual turkey shoot around the beginning of hunting season. This past year, we had a larger than average crowd, so we decided to host a second one. Well the weather wouldn’t cooperate with us, so it got postponed, and we decided to just wait and have it in the spring instead.
“Having a little more time to plan and make some changes, we decided to add a .22 long rifle target shoot. People have been asking us to do it for years, and with the extra time to plan, it just seemed like a good idea. So with that in mind, I took that idea and decided to put a different spin on things.
“Zombies are a huge trend in our culture right now,” Powell said, “and are extremely popular in the shooting community. There are clubs and organizations that are specifically built around the whole zombie craze. We have our shoots after dark now, and that is a lot of fun and adds a little different take on things.
“So I thought, why not have the .22 competition with a zombie theme? I sat down, did a little research, drew up some targets and made a plan,” Powell said.
For those who do not know exactly what a “turkey shoot” is, it is pretty simple. Paper targets are set up at a pre-determined distance. Each target has an X in the center. Shooters then take aim with a standard shotgun, ranging anywhere from .410 to 12 gauge, and they fire at the target.
When everyone has taken their shot, the targets are compared, and the one with a pellet closest to the center of the X, wins. Traditionally the prize is a frozen turkey (hence the term “turkey shoot”).
Powell said, “The shoot itself is a lot of fun. There is a certain amount of skill involved, but when it comes down to it, it’s a whole lot of luck. Sure some guns hold a tighter pattern, and some of the shooters are more disciplined than others, but in the end, all it takes is one pellet to hit the mark.
“I have seen $50 shotguns outshoot $1,000 shotguns, women outshoot men, and kids shoot better than adults, and everywhere in between. For many it is a good family bonding experience.”
Powell said he remembers his dad taking him to the shoots when he was a little fella, many years before he became old enough to join the department.
“It was something I looked forward to each year. Shooting sports are something, when done safely, the whole family can have fun with and enjoy,” Powell said.
He hopes the addition of the .22 shoot adds yet another aspect to it.
“With the shotguns, you have dozens and dozens of pellets being fired at the paper, and all it takes is one to hit. With the .22 rifle, you have one bullet. The skill factor will far outweigh the luck factor in this one.
“The zombie turkeys are just for fun, something to appeal to different ages,” he added.
Regardless of the design or theme, it is still a bull’s-eye target, and the closest to the center wins. Not only will the winner get the prize, but there will certainly be bragging rights to go with the win, Powell said.
“Lots of people think they are a good shot, and this is a good way for them to be able to prove it. If there are enough participants, we will break it down into three categories; open sights, optics and mixed,” Powell said.
Since .22 rifles are notorious for being picky on the ammo they shoot best, Powell said shooters are encouraged to to bring their own.
“We will provide ammo if they don’t, but it will be generic ‘bulk’ ammo. As always, we will provide the shells for the shotgun shoot, participants are not permitted to use their own shotgun shells,” he explained.
The rifle shoot is .22 long rifle only, no magnums.
The shotgun shoot is .410, .20, .16 and .12 gauge.
“We have several sponsors who have helped with the event and the raffle including EastCoastSurvival.us, SWATCOARMS.com, Brownells.com, DPC Pawn, H&H Mobile Wash and The Tattoo Zone.
“We would like to thank them all for their contributions and donations and ask everyone to please consider supporting them. Without various sponsors and donations, many of the things that the department does would not be possible,” Powell said.
If an evening of target shooting for prizes sounds like fun, Powell urges the public to grab a shotgun and .22 rifle and head to the Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department on Friday, April 25.
A spaghetti dinner will be available that evening along with a raffle for a custom built AR-15 rifle.
Spaghetti dinner prices are $10 per plate for adults and $5 for children under 10. Plates include bread, salad and drink. Raffle tickets are $5 each. Shoot prices will be posted at the event.
“Bring your family, bring your friends, and be sure to watch out for those pesky brain eating zombie turkeys, and of course, don’t forget your hearing protection,” Powell said.
All ages are welcome; anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The shoot and the dinner begin at 6 p.m.
And he reminds those attending to “please be sure all firearms are not loaded.”