The Ashe County Wildlife Club’s annual shotgun sports tournament is on for Saturday, August 16, starting at 9:00 a.m. The Joe Young Memorial Shotgun Tournament will feature 50 shots of skeet and 50 shots of sporting clays. Individual entry fee or sponsorship is $100. That includes a lunch of barbecued chicken with all the fixings. Some prizes will be available. Plaques will be awarded to the winners. Donations to the club are tax deductible.
“This tournament is our main fund raiser each year. We named it after Joe Young, one of the founders of the Ashe County Wildlife Club, because he loved shooting skeet and he was good at it, sometimes shooting 200 times in a row without missing single clay,” said Truitt Weaver, president of the club.
Danny Laurence, chair of the Joe Young Tournament, says shooters at all levels of skills are welcome to the tournament. Skeet features clays coming from two different throwing positions with the shooter changing aiming positions and shooting angles. Sporting Clays is similar, but the clays’ trajectory is more erratic, and may include one clay skipping along the ground like a rabbit while another clay flies through the air.
“Folks can pick up entry forms at Weaver Equipment in Jefferson (102 South Main Street), or download a form from the Ashe County Wildlife Club website (www.acwlc.org). You can fill in a preferred start time between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and we will try to accommodate you if you want to shoot with a particular group of friends,” said Laurence. “Just fill out the form and return it with the $100 entry fee and you are done. If it rains, the rain date is the following Saturday of August 23. Our only restriction is that people use no larger than 7.5 shot. Many shooters use size 9 on the skeet and size 8 on the sporting clays. [The smaller the number, the larger the size of shot.] Any shells you buy from stores that are described as target loads, game loads, or even heavy game loads are acceptable.”
The Ashe County Wildlife Club is located about 15 miles east of downtown Jefferson at 3220 Big Peak Creek Road. The turn for this road is opposite the North Carolina Experimental Farm on N.C. 88, heading toward Laurel Springs. Coming from U.S 221, Big Peak Creek Road is called J.E. Gentry Road. The Club is located where the gravel portion of Big Peak Creek Road ends or the paved portion of J.E. Gentry Road ends. Watch for the club sign.
In addition to fields for shooting skeet and sporting clays, the club also has a pyramid from which shooters stand in order to shoot trap, another form of shotgun sports involving shooting at clays. The club also has a number of manual throwing machines so shooters can practice on their own without the necessity of using the generator-powered throwers. The club has also recently acquired a wobble trap machine. Land is being graded for that machine to be installed. With the wobble trap, the club now has all of the shotgun sports shooting disciplines.
Besides the shotgun sports, the club also has a club house with 30 shooting benches aiming down a 300-yard rifle range. This year the club has hosted state and regional International Benchrest Shooting (IBS) tournaments at the 300-yard range. It will host the National IBS 100 & 200 Yard Shoot Sept. 13 and 14, an event expected to draw more than 100 shooters from around the nation, and perhaps the world.
A pistol range is also part of the club featuring room for more than a dozen shooters shooting at paper targets, plus steel knockdown targets that can accommodate two shooters at a time.
The Ashe County Wildlife Club is a sponsor and supporter of 4-H Shooting Sports, supplying .22 rifles and 12-gauge shotguns so teenagers can learn how to safely handle firearms. Over the last several years several 4-Hers from Ashe County have become good enough to compete on a state and national level.
Membership in the Ashe County Wildlife Club is $125 for the first year of membership, and $100 for each year after that. Lifetime memberships are available for various age groups.