By: Jarret Romanello
Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham
Forty-five teams of both novice and experienced shooters brought their long guns out to the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation Charity Fundraiser Sporting Clay Shoot at OK Corral Gun Club February in Okeechobee February 25-26.
The two-day event, presented by Feiertag Financial Group, offered guests more than just a day breaking a few clays. It included good food, a unique shooting experience, overnight stays with dinner, a bourbon tasting and evening bonfire, all which built a camaraderie among participants while benefiting Treasure Coast Hospice. Saturday’s event ran the shooters through 15 stations and also made provisions to honor veterans, first responders and healthcare heroes.
The Treasure Coast Hospice Sporting Clay Shoot is one of the Treasure Coast’s premier charity shooting competitions. In six years, the competition has grown in teams and sponsors, and this year, they added a new event and special prizes to attract even more supporters.
On Friday, Martin Funeral Home and Crematory sponsored a Tactical Experience hosted by the St. Lucie & Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Offices. SWAT Instructors ran 40 participants through five stations, including an active shooter scenario, to show how deputies respond to high-risk incidents and let them try their hand at it themselves.
“The Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation provides much-needed services to support families in need. We were more than happy to share our weapons expertise for such a great cause,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester.
This year, teams of veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers participated in the event courtesy of Salute and Honor Sponsorships from Southern Eagle Distributors, Treasure Coast Hospice Board member Michael Lazarus, Keiser University, StateServe, The Conrades Family and Bray Realty Advisors.
“This sponsorship allowed individuals and companies to support Treasure Coast Hospice and at the same time, recognize our local heroes and thank them for their sacrifice and service by giving them an experience they soon won’t forget,” said Agnes Palmer, Treasure Coast Hospice Manager of Philanthropic Partnerships.
On completion, day 170 shooters headed downrange to track 100 sporting clays launched into the rural backdrop of Okeechobee. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company’s Juicy Shooters team had the best overall score, followed by the Private Physicians Group.
After scoring hits on sporting clays, the teams headed to the banquet hall for a BBQ luncheon. There they had the chance to win gift baskets, grills, cookware, electronics, shooting lessons, clay shoot experiences, and an impressive array of firearms.
During the luncheon, Brennan Hollinger told the story of the Horse Soldiers – a small team of Special Forces that rode on horseback through the mountains of Northern Afghanistan to overthrow the Mazar-iSharif Taliban stronghold in the days after 9/11. Hollinger auctioned off a bottle of Horse Solider Burbon to the delight of Ross Chambers, who scooped up the spirits to support Treasure Coast Hospice.
The fantastic weekend left shooters with new tactical skills, great prizes, and a sense of pride for supporting Treasure Coast Hospice. “We are so grateful to have the continued support of the community,” said Treasure Coast Hospice President and CEO Jackie Kendrick. “This event which continues to grow every year, not only helps us raise funds but also brings awareness of our mission to a wide variety of people. I was especially proud that our sponsors came together this year to help us honor our veterans, first responders, and healthcare heroes at the event.”