ELLERBE -The weekend is upon us and DeWitt’s Outdoor Sports is hosting a Fun-Shoot tournament for all sporting clays enthusiasts Saturday, March 24th.
Located at 443 Jimmy Carriker Rd. in Ellerbe, DeWitt’s Outdoor Sports is home to 65 acres of varied terrain offering a 14 station sporting clays course of 1.2 miles of wooded areas and open fields, along with one of the best 5 stand covered pavilions in the mid-Atlantic.
Sporting clays is similar to golf in that there is a full course to complete. In golf, there are 18 holes, in sporting clays, there can be from 10 to 15 stations, each with its own varied, unique terrain. They differ in that sporting clays have multiple targets at each station, in efforts to simulate the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting, instead of just one hole.
The Fun-Shoot is a sanctioned tournament through the National Sporting Clays Association. It is offering two-separate tournaments for association members wishing to rack in the points in efforts to improve their national standing. It is a Fun-Shoot because there are no prizes for those that collect the most points.
Participants can register up until the day of the event and the costs for one tournament is $70 and for both is $130.
Of course, in true DeWitt fashion, where “everyone is a member,” anyone is invited to participate whether they are members of the National or State Sporting Clays Associations.
“We get very few participants who are non-members, but there is an open class for them to be able to join the tournament and have fun shooting sporting clays,” says owner Chris Dewitt.
However, he does advise against novice shooters coming out on tournament day.
Dewitt says, “Like golf, there is constant movement and very little direction. People will be moving in all types of directions and it can be overwhelming if it’s your first time shooting clays.”
For those wishing to pick up a new hobby or just looking for something new to do, DeWitt’s offers Groupons for clay-shooting packages for groups of two or four. He also offers shooting school with gun rental prices of just $15 an hour.
It may be the perception that people who shoot sporting clays are also hunters, and obviously that can be true in many cases, but it is not necessarily the reality for most shooters.
“Some people play golf, some people hunt, and some people shoot sporting clays,” stated DeWitt.
In fact, it is considered more of a sport versus target practice and while it is an older male-dominated sport, according to Dewitt, many women and young people are starting to take part in the game.
Minors are allowed to participate in the Fun-Shoot, or just shooting clays on any day, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
“The game of sporting clays is all about safety,” expressed DeWitt.
He continued, “The range has been opened since 2001 and there has yet to be any sort of accident. It’s just that safe of a sport and everyone involved knows that safety is most important and so they proceed with extreme caution.”
In today’s climate, gun safety is a “trigger” topic and the seat of much debate.
When it comes to gun safety by anyone of any age, DeWitt feels knowledge is key. The NC Youth Shooting Foundation teaches young people proper gun handling skills and safety and at his range, safety is the first class.
“The first murder was committed with a rock, so it starts at the heart. The issue is a discipline problem and this [sporting clays] teaches discipline.”
The Fun-Shoot, albeit not much of a spectator tournament, will welcome sporting clay enthusiasts from all over the state and even a handful from the neighboring states of South Carolina and Virginia.
On April 21st, DeWitt will host a Circuit-Shoot tournament. For more information regarding any tournament or general information, please visit, www.dewittsoutdoorsports.com or call 910-652-2926.