Shooting event enjoys huge turnout

By: 
Theo Tate

Five competitors at the fourth annual All-American Painting Sporting Clay Shoot on Aug. 29 earned awards for their performances. Pictured are, front row, Ryan Calbreath and back row, from left, Bryan Bextermiller, Sam Cobb, Anna Shaw and Ken Hocke. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Since it first started in 2017, the All-American Painting Sporting Clay Shoot has been a popular event in the Eastern Missouri area.

Over 100 people from Montgomery, Warren and Lincoln counties and the St. Louis area competed in the event, which is held at the Blackhawk Valley Hunting Club in Old Monroe every August. All proceeds go to the Jonesburg Optimist Club.

“I think in the four years we have done it, we probably raised about $50,000 for (the Jonesburg Optimist Club),” said Rick Berck, the event coordinator. “It’s been a very good event.”

The fourth annual event on Aug. 29 drew 141 shooters. A total of 86 shooters competed in the first year.

“We had people there who were world shooters,” Berck said. “We had people there who never shot in their life. But they all get along and have a good time. That wasn’t the big deal. The big deal is it’s for a good cause. Everybody wants to have fun and everybody enjoys it. We get a lot of compliments about how much they enjoy it.”

The coordinator credits his wife, Carla, for helping the event enjoy a big turnout this year.

“Carla is really big in this,” he said. “She goes around by herself and does all of this stuff with all of the sponsors and yard signs. To me, she’s the one. Jonesburg Optimist is great at it, but she really goes out and talks to the businesses to get them to donate and things like that. She’s phenomenal when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

The cost to compete is $75 per shooter. Trophies were awarded to the top teams of three flights and the highest individual scorer.

“This is the first year that we had to do flights,” Berck said. “We had too many people to send them out all at one time, so we actually did it in two sessions. We did one at eight in the morning and one at 10 o’clock in the morning and this was the first year we had to do that. It got a little bit messy this year.”

Berck said members from the Montgomery County R-II FFA chapter helped out in the event.

“They push a button and the clay bird comes out,” he said. “All of the FFA high school kids are the ones to do that. They come out and help us and (adviser) Mary (Leykamp) comes out and directs them. We try to get as many people involved as possible.”

Berck said he first came up with the idea of having a sporting clay shooting event while he was doing some shooting years ago at the Mid-America Farm in Fayette.

“The Jonesburg Optimist has two events,” Berck said. “One of them was a continental hunt with pheasants and the other one was a clay bird shoot, where they shoot sporting clays. I shoot a little bit of sporting clays and I know the owner of Blackhawk Valley very well. I would always shoot both of them, the pheasant hunt and the clay bird shoot. They have about 40-50 shooters out there every year and I told them if they moved it closer to St. Louis, I could get more people to shoot. So that’s how we got it started. They finally said, ‘OK, let’s try it.’” 

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Montgomery Standard

115 W. Third St.
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Montgomery City, MO 63361

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