The 40th Annual Ottawa Sportsmen's Club "Turkey Shoot" will get under way at 11:00 a.m., Sunday, September 30th at the clubhouse and range facilities 8 miles west of Baraga on M-38. The shoot will be held rain or shine, admission is free and plenty of parking spaces will be available. The clubhouse and shooting range are handicapped accessible.
The O.S.C.'s experience in presenting this event actually dates back almost sixty years, as the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club is the result of the consolidation of the Laird and Wolverine Conservation Clubs in 1961. Both had used Turkey Shoots as a fundraiser to support their conservation programs and, with the consolidation, were able to make this event bigger and better each year. The 40th Annual Turkey Shoot promises to be no exception.
Three new marksmanship events have been added this year and should be as much fun to enter as to watch. Joining the big noisemaker, "Cannon Blast", which made its debut last year, will be the "Exploding Pumpkins". This has very little to do with the normal garden variety except that 'wanna-be' jack-o-lanterns will be used as prizes. Mike Mickus, Chairman and Coordinator of the outdoor range activities states, " If you're in need of excitement and want people for miles away to know you're a Top Shot, this event's for you." He cautions that you will need to stay at least 100 yards distant from these "pumpkins" and promises that this will be better than the 4th of July.
Another new event will be the "Chicken Throw". It might sound like the O.S.C. is for the birds, but this is actually a marksmanship event involving a hatchet and a balloon target. It's the chickens that will be the prizes.
The third new event, which is under construction and hopefully will be finished on schedule, is the "Running Deer". "As the name would denote, this is a moving target, spring mounted on a cart. The object is to hit the clay target attached to the 'monster buck' in order to win a chicken for the deer camp stew pot", said Mickus. Club members are working hard to complete the mechanics of making this target bound across the range and hope to have it available for this year's Turkey Shoot.
All the popular range events folks have come to look forward to over the years will once again be offered. There will be four "Center-Fire Rifle Marksmanship" events to choose from. Entrants may bring their own favorite hunting type rifle and ammunition, any sight or caliber acceptable, or use the club's rifles. All firing will be done offhand without the use of a sling. Hearing protectors and safety glasses are a necessity and there may be handicaps given to the "Ace" shooters.
In the "Jug Target" event, five shots will be fired at milk jugs filled with colored water and placed at a distance of from 50 to 100 yards away. Five perfect hits will guarantee the shooter a turkey, plucked, cleaned and frozen. That is why the O.S.C. calls this event a "Turkey Shoot".
The "400 Yard Gongs" event involves connecting with a steel gong at a distance of 400 yards so that it shakes, rattles or rolls. The remaining two events in the Center-Fire category are the "Exploding Pumpkins" and the "Running Deer".
Precision shooters will get a chance to show their expertise by entering the Precision Small Bore Contest. Participants may bring their own target rifles or use one belonging to the club. The Ottawa Sportsmen will supply the ammo, bench rests, targets and the turkey prizes for the top shooter in each 6-person relay.
Trap Shooting and the "Quail Walk" will be part of the Trap Range events. Shooters may bring their own favorite shotgun or the club can provide one. 12 gauge shells will be available at the range. Practice rounds will be allowed for the trap shooting and five shooters will square off at a time with ten clay targets each. The winner will draw for a prize. The "Quail Walk" will see a round of five shooters getting a chance at five clay birds. The winner of each round will get 50% of the "nest egg".
The "Cannon Blast" proved to be a popular crowd pleaser at last year's Turkey Shoot, requiring the cannoneer's skill at targeting a cardboard pizza plate. Although problems arose with the accuracy of the cannon, which kept blasting perfect bulls' eyes, adjustments were made so that there was a successful winner after each blast. This event takes place all day long with hopeful winners purchasing one wedge of the plate upon which their name will be written. It their wedge gets cannon balled, they win half of the take on the sale of each blast.
In addition to the adult events, "Kid Games" will be held and appropriate prizes will also be awarded for these. A "Kid's .22 Target" event will also be held in the indoor pistol range. Youngsters able to handle a .22 rim-fire rifle can try their skill at hitting a suspended spinning clay disc, paint balls on pie plates or "clay cookies". The Ottawa Sportsmen Club has three rifles, ammunition, necessary hearing protection and safety glasses for young shooters. Absolutely no rifles from home may be used in this event. Firing will be done from a bench with arm support and a qualified adult O.S.C. member will directly supervise and assist each young shooter, the rifle and the shooting process. There will be another O.S.C. member on the premises to supervise and manage the overall operation of the indoor range and each shooter will receive a prize, regardless of their marksmanship. Parents are advised that this event is intended to be a fun, but also learning, experience for youngsters. It is not intended as a baby-sitting service and parents should accompany their children in the range.
One of the most popular events, the "Ten Cent Raffle" will get under way at 11 o'clock in the club's reception hall. This event runs all day long until the very last merchandise or cash prize is gone from the shelves, from the walls of the club and from the "prize rope" strung across the front of the room. The holder of just one winning Ten Cent Ticket can receive a very nice prize, thanks to the generous donations from local merchants, businessmen and friends of the O.S.C. The only thing required to win in this event is one thin dime and a little good luck.
The "Wood Auction" will also be held this year with the top bidder taking delivery of a logging truck heavy with a load of logs. Sorry, but the truck and driver are not part of this raffle and cannot be kept.
Several raffles will be offered in addition to the Grand Raffle of a $1,000.00 cash prize, plus four other lesser cash prizes from the same raffle. Separate raffles will be held for a shotgun, rifle and a dump truck full to the brim with a load of fire wood already cut and split by the O.S.C. members.
An expanded lunch menu at an affordable price has been prepared to please the crowd and stave off hunger. The aroma of bratwurst, fresh from the outdoor grill, will fill the air along with the mouth-watering scent of some other affordable incredible edibles served up from the O.S.C. kitchen.
The Ottawa Sportsmen's Club is a non-profit organization and much of the money generated from this event is applied to club sponsored youth projects. The club supplies several area schools with classroom subscriptions to "Tracks Magazine", a weekly conservation oriented study aid for over 400 of the communities' 5th and 6th grade students. The O.S.C. continues its monetary aid toward the purchase of library books and videos for many schools to help students learn more about nature, conservation and our need to protect our natural resources. It helps to sponsor and supervise hunter safety education in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources for over 150 area youth each year, offering its facilities free of charge for the classroom and range instruction.
The Sportsmen's Club offers a week long Youth Shooting Sports Day Camp each summer, which provides intense instruction in the proper use of firearms and teaches the fundementals of basic marksmanship. The club has implemented a grant program to area schools to fund conservation oriented field trips and projects. It also maintains a scholarship program for area high school graduates who plan to continue their education in the fields of environment or natural resources.
More information on the good that the club does can be found at the club's website at http://www.ottawasportsmen.org. For additional information on the 40th Annual Turkey Shoot, please visit the website or call one of the following: Club President, Russ Weisinger, 353-6859, Range Chairman, Mike Mickus, 296-0986 or Club Reporter Carole Williams, 338-2507.
The Ottawa Sportsmen's Club sincerely hopes that the public will mark their calendars and plan to attend the 40th Annual Turkey Shoot so that its members can continue to support and develop their many worthwhile projects.
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