A unique Surface Creek Valley tradition that has taken place every year since 1961 continued for the 52nd time when the Senior Shoot was hosted by the Cedaredge Rod and Gun Club at the club's range west of Cedaredge overlooking Green Valley.
It's a great time for the graduating class members to enjoy an activity together before they go separate ways in life.
For many it was something they were experiencing for the first time in their lives — competitive trap shooting with a shotgun and live ammo. For some, it was an introduction into the personal responsibility defined by the Second Amendment — firearms ownership and use is an individual decision and an important choice.
While spirits always run high at the Senior Shoot, the event is conducted on a foundation of serious instruction about safety and the proper use of firearms. Only then do the lessons of technique and skill begin and the clay birds begin to fly.
Each of the student shooters is personally instructed by a club member. The target clays in flight look like little balloons hanging in midair — an easy target. But hitting that target is a different story. It takes concentration, effort and some practice getting that 20-gauge shotgun to do what you want.
Interestingly, it isn't unheard of for a completely novice shooter at the event to be the one who knocks them down left and right. But, regardless of the results, everyone is invited to stay and shoot until they hit at least one.
Shooters at the line get lots of friendly encouragement from classmates waiting their turns. "Pressure, pressure. You're choking under the pressure!"
"I'll never bet all my money on you!"
"Hey, you guys really suck."
"Well, I only hit two, but I beat all the teachers!"
There are usually some high school teachers at the event, and this year Dan Anderson, Brandon Milholland, Michael Bowles and Katie Johnson were on hand to compete with the graduating seniors.
The Cedaredge Rod and Gun Club has been in existence since the 1920s, said club member Ray Hanson.
Hanson and his brother, Roger, are both members following in the footsteps of their family, who were part of the organization from its earliest days.
And showing the sense of tradition and commitment that all the club members share, is Roger's contribution for 35 continuous years of serving as the chief chef for a cookout lunch that the club provides each year for their young guests.blog comments powered by Disqus