I have been a gun owner for several years now and very proud member of the community that is standing up to the attacks from big government, liberal advocacy anti gun groups and most people who do not believe in self reliance and think individual should be protected only by federal law enforcement. I made the last point after listening to a radio program and the host (Michael Savage) made tremendous revelations. President Obama has much disdain towards local, county and state law enforcements around the country because he can not control them through any federal laws, rules or regulations. It makes lot of sense to me. This article is not about our issues with federal government, this is about community that comes together every time there is a need for it.
Most recently I was asked to participate in a Sporting Clay fundraiser for The Outdoor Buddies. It is a Colorado based all volunteer non profit organizations whose focus is giving disabled veterans, disadvantaged youths or people with dramatic injuries another chance to get outdoors to fish, hunt, camp or just enjoy what state of Colorado has to offer. Outdoor Buddies was founded by representatives from Denver’s Craig Hospital and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
To provide the quality experience for all the mobility-disabled, it takes good amount of money and especially huge amount of commitment from physically strong volunteers. The money provides funds to purchase various track chairs to allow the hunters to move through the rugged terrain during the hunt. These track chairs are very expensive but they change lives like few things can for these people who otherwise would not be able to get out to hunt or fish. The things they loved doing before the injury, illness or disease robbed them of what we take for granted every morning we get out of bed.
I have participated in many different fund raisers in the past twenty five years since I came to North America to play hockey and honestly many of them happen without much passion from participants or organizers. It could be a golf tournament, tennis matches, “casino night” etc. The few I attended in Colorado and other Western states and included the gun community have been events where every one involved is a difference maker. I love that feeling because that is how I live my life, that is how I played hockey and that is how I want to give back whether it’s raising money to improve someone’s situation or share with young hockey players/young men skills and knowledge.
People naturally get joy and satisfaction from being outside and enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities (those who don’t are missing out). Theodore Roosevelt contributes hunting and spending time in nature to one of the most important part of his life. My association with charities supporting outdoor lifestyle like the CYO or OUTDOOR BUDDIES has run for few years and if I have my choice I will continue to support them for years to come. It is hard to explain in a blog how people’s faces light up when you ask about their hunt or fishing trip arranged through the Outdoor Buddies and that is what drives many volunteers and myself to find more ways to grow these programs.
The actual performance on the Sporting clays course was not something to brag about. Our group decided early in the tournament not to keep score and just have fun. And we did. I have not shot much prior the event so I decided to give CZ 920 a good try. I have been shooting double guns for years and I really had a difficult time choosing semi auto. Well if you’re looking to have fun and crush target without much effort than this gun is for you. Beautiful wooden stock, great balance (not only my words but everyone else’s who shot it), easy pointing and soft shooting makes it very versatile shotgun for field or the course. This shotgun also come in 12 gauge but the twenty will be hard to beat as far easiness,softness and comfort without sacrificing accuracy. Friend from Louisiana who has shot ducks since he was little boy and his wedding cake was in a shape of a shotgun,shotgun shells and few ducks said it is the nicest shooting semi auto he’s ever shot. I do not make this stuff up because I am not that good of a writer to make stuff up.
I will give myself little credit here,just a little. Couple years ago I had an idea. My daughter and I went to the back of our property and laid piece of plywood down. She had her iPhone and I had several clays,hockey stick and my hockey gloves. I just thought if I can launched these clays high and far enough someone can shoot them with their shotgun. She filmed me launching the clays with the hockey stick and it looked pretty good on tv. Little more time passed and we were at the end of our quail hunt in Texas panhandle for the TV show American Birdhunter. I mentioned the idea and asked if they would like to make it part of the show,they all agreed. It turned out great. You can now see it on you tube.
Then few weeks ago I get a text from hockey stick company rep. He works for Sher-Wood,brand of sticks I used all of my career, He said they are looking for a shotgun shooter for their new marketing video “starring” Bobby Ryan. He is legitimate star in today’s NHL,playing for the Ottawa Senators. He has a summer home just on the other side of the Tetons from me. He explained the idea and I humbly responded that they have the right guy because I came up with the idea. The only difference this time around I will be the shot gunner. We agreed on time and place to meet and drove out to national forrest for little moviemaking.
The video explains everything better than I could but there is two points I would like to make. As good as Bobby Ryan is I had to give him pointers how to shoot clays with a hockey stick. It’s all about smooth movement. The clays are hard but they can also crack easily if you slap them ever so slightly. It’s far more technique than power. He’s very talented kid and got it right away. The second point is I used my favorite upland gun the Upland Ultralight. I had Neal from PADS BY NEAL to add,extra inch on my stock and it now fits like it should. Sometimes it takes few hundred rounds before you find out what adjustment you need to make. It was lot of fun and somewhat nostalgic. The old guard(me) once,not that long ago,used the traditional wooden stick and the new guard(the other Bobby) is using the innovative design composite stick. Beautiful to see.