GLADEWATER — Sharpshooters from across the area set their sights on helping local families this weekend during the 14th annual Texas Bank and Trust Sporting Clays Challenge at Prairie Creek Sporting Clays in Gladewater.
More than 600 contestants took their best shots in the competition that benefits Buckner Children & Family Services.
Officials said late Saturday the event raised about $200,000. That’s $20,000 more than the amount predicted by Buckner Adminstrator David Ummel.
“There’s a gap in what foster care and what contracts with the state and such bring in, so with these gracious and kind donors we have, we’re able to fill that gap,” Ummel said.
Live and silent auctions were held, and 400 raffle tickets were sold for $100 each in a drawing for a 2013 Nissan Altima. James Hortman was the lucky winner.
“The raffle sold out before the shoot, which is very exciting in itself,” said volunteer Debbie Benson.
The nonprofit organization runs the annual School Supply Train in conjunction with the Junior League of Longview. Other programs include summer day camps and an after-school program. The agency also arranges foster care and adoption for children throughout East Texas.
The event is one of Buckner’s largest fundraisers, said Buckner secretary Sherry Simmons, as gunshots echoed from the nearby range.
“All the money raised stays local. It’s very good for our organization,” she said.
About 60 people competed in Thursday’s juniors competition, another 240 in a twilight event Friday and just more than 300 in Saturday’s early riser portion, Ummel said.
“There are a lot of golf tournaments — this is a little different,” Ummel said.
Four-person teams each paid $550 to shoot 100 rounds and score 100 points across 14 stations. Each station is different, with clay launched from a variety of angles.
The secret to being a good clay shooter is practice, said Scott Dickerson, with Texas Bank and Trust.
“It’s called golf with a shotgun,” he explained while helping prepare for the auctions. “The toughest is probably the rabbits, because there’s no consistency to the way they bounce.”
At the rabbit station, clays are released so that they move across the range, bouncing about a foot high.
Meanwhile, at the first station, teammates Sean Simmons, Josh Hyde, Jorge Massare and sponsor Danny Herring of the Longview business Boston Scientific were being a little less than scientific about their strategy to win.
“It’s pretty much just potluck for us. It takes lots of practice, which nobody around here does,” Herring said amid his teammates’ laughter.
At the end of the shoot, team captains turned in scorecards totaled by volunteers from Texas Bank and Trust.
First place went to Howell Oil and Gas, comprised of Larry Spikes, Reggie Quillin, Clint Foster and Jimmy Watson. Quillin scored a perfect 100, meaning he didn’t miss once.