This is a time and place inspired blog. It’s July 4th and we are in Colorado participating in horse competition, at least my daughter is. With little bit of time on my hands I decided to comment on our nation’s biggest holiday.
Our Founding Fathers were well aware of the dangers by declaring independence from England. They had no idea whether this experience will work. Every one of the signees was committing treason to the crown punishable by death. Many hesitated and some representatives declined to be part of the final draft for that reason. We need to think about and appreciate the several years long process the Founding Fathers endured. Human nature is to celebrate only the final result, in this case the freedoms we’ve enjoyed since July 4th, 1776 and our constitution’s ratification in 1788. U.S. Constitution is the greatest document ever created and that is my very own opinion. We rarely reflect on what it took to create and defend these documents. As of late last fifty years, our government has worked harder to change or alter it far more than try to preserve it for generations to come in the name of “progress”. We all live in a free society today, our laws guarantee it. To me the true progress is giving people the equal opportunity to gain knowledge, skill, tools NOT to try guaranteeing equal result. The result is up to each individual.
The best way to celebrate the Independence Day is to embrace the values this country has stood for over two centuries – self-reliance, independence, desire to excel and exercising all of our rights guaranteed by Constitution. As one famous bumper sticker says: “Without the second there is no first”. History has proven an individual who speaks his mind will create many sympathizers and just as many enemies domestically or abroad. I do not call for use of arms to resolve our differences, but I believe the responsible law abiding gun ownership is big part of our very free but also very safe society.
To quote Swiss man who has his father’s, grandfather’s and his own fully automatic rifles at home after he completed the mandatory military service:” There is no higher form of freedom than having the right and the means to a self-defense”.
I spend lot of time in Colorado for many reasons. Proximity to Wyoming, attending my daughter’s competition and participating in my favorite fundraiser. Colorado Youth Outdoors is an organization trying to provide ideal environment to develop or strengthen relationship between youth and their parents. It’s been well documented since the days of young Theodore Roosevelt that fishing, hiking, shooting, archery and other outdoor activities makes healthy body and soul. CYO has developed a program based on this idea and incorporated rebuilding relationship as its main focus.
The CYO’s main fundraising event comes at a form of Sporting Clays shoot called Maverick. It is a special place for me. The Maverick is by far the most fun charity effort I’ve ever participated and it was the first official participation as a spokesperson for CZ-USA two years ago.
The Maverick is a Sporting Clay tournament for four member teams on a beautiful course set up at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch outside of Loveland. There are sixteen stations set up each year plus “the Flurry”. The Flurry is four stands one for each team member, ten shells per shooter and forty clays that keep coming out of the trap every second. The team shooters take turns, two shots at a time. Highest score wins. You are not competing only for yourself but you do your best to give your team a chance to succeed. True team effort is needed to be even competitive. You can always try to improve your score by donating more money and buying another round. It’s just a great way to have lot of fun and raise more money.
I was a true sporting clay rookie in 2011. Now I have come to Loveland to shoot at Maverick three times. I believe I’m making steady improvement. The lessons with Tom Mack (www.tmshooting.com) during wintertime in Florida, where he competes on the circuit, are making a difference in my “game”. I also have to mention CZ-USA’s Dave Miller’s subtle influences. Being on the team with him in 2012 has allowed me to look at and target some birds with little different angle or timing. I believe solid fundamentals always have to come first but there is room for creativity no matter what you do. These guys are not only great shooters but great teachers too.
There were many other people I became friends with since. I have to mention meeting and shooting with Mike Schoby, writer and editor for Petersen’s Hunting Magazine,who helped us with few articles for CZ-USA’s promotional catalog. His work inspired me to become better writer and also to follow closely the magazine he edits. I always look forward to see his newest issue.
2012 unfortunately marked the only time Tom Knapp made an appearance at the Maverick. We all have seen the magic called Tom Knapp exhibition shooting on You Tube or TV but to see him live was very special. To have such a talent and the warm and outgoing personality to go with it is simply unique. There are lots of great shooters out there but none is a better man. Rest in peace, Tom.
CYO and its biggest fundraising effort, The Maverick, started as a great idea. The idea that has benefited many youths and their parents, would not turn into a reality without great people with vision, determination and selflessness. It is not fair to name only two people but these two have made biggest impact on my participation. Bob Hewson, the Executive Director of CYO and Alice Poluchova, the president of CZ-USA , one of the main sponsors. Without the opportunity to represent CZ-USA as a spokesperson I would never experience the great event like the Maverick and the friendly and giving atmosphere that surrounds it.
There is just too many other people to name, the board members, the sponsors and the volunteers so please visit CYO’s official website (www.coloradoyo.org).There is no better charity to support than the one helping, healing and strengthening our families. Strong, healthy and productive families are a backbone of every great society. We do not want to lose what this country has relied on for many generations.
I was hiking this morning and had one more thought I would like to add to the blog. The picture is of the place I had the thought.
Late and final thought
We live in a time where many people think being self reliant,independent or determined to succeed is selfish. The government tells us to be selfless, think of others less privileged and share your riches. Same goes in most public institutions. It is a great idea, just like socialism was, but you can not share what you do not have yet.
First we need to work hard, drive to better ourselves and provide for our own. The Americans are the most giving nation on the planet. Writing about the CYO made me realize we need people to succeed in whatever they love doing. Whether it’s the best mechanic in town, teacher, doctor, your favorite athlete or the banker. We all should respect their desire to succeed not portray them as selfish (I believe everyone knows who is to blame for that). Most generous people I have met and had the pleasure to work with were the ones who work the hardest. Let’s change our attitude towards success. Embrace it and celebrate it! Great teams need great individuals. Our great country needs great successful citizens to lead.