GF gun club celebrates 75 yearsBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER The Granite Falls Sportsmen’s Club celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and combines the anniversary with the annual turkey shoot this Sunday.
Long time gun sportsman Jeff McNeal and daughter Kayley McNeal are members of the club who are looking forward to this year’s shoot.
“The turkey shoot starts at 10:00 a.m. and goes until 4:00 p.m. this Sunday the 18th,” McNeal said. “We shoot rain or shine; it is Washington.”
He says that many people have asked if turkeys are actually shot for the turkey shoot, but with a chuckle he said, “No.”
As McNeal explained it, you go out on a course against other people and shoot clay targets from different stations.
“You go out and shoot against four other people and whoever comes out on top wins a turkey or a ham, or bacon,” he said.
Since the Granite Falls Sportsmen’s Club is a not-for-profit organization, any profits they receive go to benefit charities and other organizations who need their help.
This year the sportsmen’s club will be donating any profits from the turkey shoot to the Granite Falls Food Bank.
“With the turkey shoot, we’re going to benefit the Granite Falls Food Bank,” McNeal said. A lot of people who come out to the turkey shoot and win generally end up donating their winning, to the food bank.
As for celebrating 75 years, McNeal says that is quite unusual.
“Seventy-five years is a pretty good accomplishment for one of these places,” he said.
McNeal and Kayley got their start as members at the club because of his love of shooting sport clays.
“I got involved with shooting sport clays and my daughter was interested in it too,” he said. “We all started doing it, except my wife who doesn’t do it very much, but it is a fun sport.”
The sportsmen’s club shoot a number of different styles, but most popular is the trap and sporting clays.
“Trap is where you stand behind a little house type thing, and targets fly out away from you,” he said.
Where as sport shooting involves walking between five stations spaced about two meters apart, and multiple Frisbee like disks fly in different directions.
“Sporting clay is to simulate bird hunting,” McNeal commented.
As for the shotguns used at the club, they can vary from old to new.
“For the club, anyone shows up with anything from their grandfather’s side-by-side that’s 30 years old to people with $30,000 guns is not that uncommon,” he said. “Most people shoot what’s called an over and under where the barrels are stacked on top of each other.”
As with many organizations controversial or not, the gun club promotes safety and family participation through their mission statement which says, “The Granite Falls Sportsmen's Club mission is to promote and advance shooting activities and events, to present a positive image to the non-shooting community, to encourage family participation in the sport, and to maintain a safe and pleasurable shooting environment.”
“It’s a great bunch of people,” McNeal said.