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Aim, shoot, score for charity

How the West Was Won Trap Shoot to benefit Carousel Ranch services

Posted: May 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Olympic medalist Kim Rhode gives shooting tips before her International skeet demonstration at How the West Was Won Trap Shoot to benefit Carousel Ranch. The event was held at the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall.

 


The sound of gunfire echoed through the canyons of the Newhall Pass on April 27 as the fourth annual How the West Was Won Charity Trap Shoot to assist Carousel Ranch raised $21,000 to benefit the nonprofit.

“We only were budged to raise $15,000, but we raised $21,000,” said Denise Tomey, executive director of Carousel Ranch.

The event was sold out with 18 teams of four participating in team shooting and individual events.

“We were really excited at the turnout,” said Tomey. “This is a unique event and we are so happy to have sold out this year. The weather is perfect, today, too.”

The winning team was Williams Homes.

“They are the reigning champions, three years in a row,” said Tomey.

Event chairman Eric Stroh said the annual shooting event is a way to attract individuals to help Carousel Ranch who might not otherwise participate in charity fundraisers.

“We try to keep everyone entertained and busy so we have a lot of other activities to participate in between the rounds of shooting,” he said.

Participants were offered massages, a chance to shoot shotguns, shoot buckshot at bowling pins and shot from atop a Carousel Ranch mock horse.

Stroh said six of the teams attending the event had never shot guns before.

“We had a lot of new teams this year, including six teams that had never touched a gun before,” he said.

Jeffrey Hacker, shooting on the Holiday Roc team, said it was first time shooting trap.

“This is a great charity and a great cause,” Hacker said. “How can you not support Carousel Ranch?”

During his first time on the line, he shot five targets, and on his second turn, he  hit 10 out of 22 targets, Hacker said.

“Beginner's luck,” he said.

The event benefits greatly from the assistant of gun manufacturer Benelli, Stroh said.

“Benelli sends us thousands of dollars of material each year, including all the hats and shooting prizes we rely on in order to complete the event,” said Stroh. “We couldn’t raise the money we do without their help. We are very grateful for their assistance.”

A highlight of the event was an appearance by four-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode.

She is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and six-time national champion in double trap. She was the youngest member of the
U.S. Olympic team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. She won a silver medal in skeet shooting at the 2008 Summer Games and a bronze medal in double trap at the 2000 games.

Rhode spoke to the crowd and offered up some shooting tips and then held a demonstration of International Skeet shooting.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve been trying to help them out on the line and get them hitting targets.”

Rhode competes internationally and will compete in her fifth Olympics in London in August.

If she wins a medal in London it would make her the first U.S. athlete in an individual sport to win a medal in five consecutive Olympics.

Rhode said she is happy to donate her time and skills to benefit Carousel Ranch.

“It’s such a great organization,” she said. “It’s fantastic to be part of it.”

Rhode, of El Monte, trains at Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall.

She attributes her success to a simple philosophy.

“Practice, practice, practice,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Take the leap of faith and give it your all.”

Carousel Ranch is a non profit organization that provides therapeutic riding lessons to children with special needs.

Tomey said the ranch now has nearly 100 clients.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able continue our level of programing, but we always need help,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have so many supporters.”

Heart of the West to benefit Carousel Ranch will be held on Aug. 25 at Agua Dulce Airport. For more information about Carousel Ranch visit www.carouselranch.org, 661-268-8010.

mbuttelman@the-signal.com

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