Saturday, August 8, 2009

Guns of Vicksburg


The fifth annual Guns of Vicksburg Old Court House Benefit Shoot will be August 15 at Tara Wildlife. Cost is $100 per shooter or $600 per six-person team. Lunch is provided. The shoot is a National Sporting Clay Association sanctioned event, but nonmembers may participate. Pre-register by calling 601-279-4261, or download a form at www.oldcourthouse.org/UpcomingEvents.htm. Registration on the day of the shoot begins at 7:30 a.m. To reach Tara Wildlife from Vicksburg, take U.S. 61 North to Eagle Lake Road(Mississippi 465), turn left and follow signs.

The Guns of Vicksburg sporting clay shoot to benefit the Old Court House Museum returns for the fifth year today at a new location, plus additional competitions and awards.

“Every year it just keeps growing and getting better, and it’s mostly locals participating,” said Steven Tzotzolas, an organizer of the shoot and a National Sporting Clay Association member who competes around the country. “As far as total number of participants, it’s definitely one of the largest shows in the state.”

The shoot can accommodate up to 220 participants, and Tzotzolas said Wednesday about 165 shooters had registered. While it is an NSCA-sanctioned event, nonmembers make up the majority of participants, said Tzotzolas.

“We’ll probably have 50 to 60 NSCA members, but over 70 percent of our shooters are just your recreational hunters who basically want to get a little practice in and have some fun,” he said.

After being held at the Loosa Yokena Plantation south of the city for the past four years, the shoot is moving to Tara Wildlife, an 18,000-acre private wildlife preserve at Eagle Lake, about 30 minutes north of Vicksburg.

Mike Winkler, who annually helps set and maintain the skeet machines, was the first to suggest Tara Wildlife when organizers began looking for a new location to accommodate more participants and find a place where out-of-town shooters could stay overnight.

“It was the first place that came to mind — they have the land and the lodging — and, when I called (Tara president) Gilbert Rose, he said he thought it would be a good fit,” Winkler said. “We’ve had a great location in the past, but this one is going to provide us the most accommodations and allow us to have the shoot without taxing the land. We’re going to do the whole shoot on a grass runway at Tara that’s 3,000 feet long and 135 feet wide.”

In all, 80 trophies will be awarded, about 20 more than last year. Along with an overall winner, trophies will be given to shooters with the highest marks in six categories: ladies, 16 and under, 17 to 21, 55 to 64, 65 to 74 and 75 and older. Door prizes will be given out after each of the three shooting rotations, said Tzotzolas, unlike years past when only one drawing was done at the end of all the rotations.

“The course will be a little bit more challenging than it has been in the past few years,” added Tzotzolas.Last year, the Old Court House Museum was able to restore four aging cisterns on its property with about $70,000 in proceeds from the past two or three shoots. The cisterns don’t store water anymore, but serve as restrooms and storage space. Bubba Bolm, museum curator and director, said this year’s proceeds likely will go toward replacing several missing or damaged windows at the 149-year-old landmark.

“We’ve got windows upstairs in the courtroom and along the perimeter of the building that really need replacing. The putty is loose, and they’re rattling around just waiting to fall out,” said Bolm. “We had a huge lightning strike here during a recent storm that knocked out our computer, a few air conditioning units and some lights — there’s always something to fix or maintain here.”

Tzotzolas said the credit for the success and expansion of the shoot through the years is due to the roughly 60 local volunteers who work year-round to organize, set up, operate and clean up after the event.

“It’s amazing to see how many people in the community come together each year to make this happen,” he said. “None of this could be possible without all the help of those at the Old Court House Museum; Shirley Griffin and all the volunteers she helps coordinate; Mr. and Mrs. Hyland, who let us use their land in the years past; Gilbert Rose and a whole lot of other people who deserve more credit than they get.”

Those who would like to participate in the shoot can pre-register by calling 601-279-4261. Cost is $100 for individuals or $600 for a six-person team. Lunch is provided for shooters, while those not participating can purchase a lunch for $10. Registration will begin at 7:30 on the morning of the shoot for those who do not pre-register.

Along with the 12-stage 100 bird main event shoot, a five-stand, 50-bird event will be held for an additional $40. Those who want to practice shoot in the five-stand event, but not compete for the trophy, may do so for $20, said Tzotzolas.“

Most people say you just need an excuse to shoot — and this is a good one,” he said. (The Vicksburg Post)

1 comment:

  1. Many people needs excuse for shooting oops!!!
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