To say there’s ample antipathy toward firearms ownership these days is no stretch. Such are our times: “Feelings” seem to trump all. But today we’re featuring a shining example of goodness in the shooting sports that should be applauded even by those who hate guns and gun owners.
This unimpeachable demonstration of safety, generosity and fun is a Steel Challenge-style match supported by a Fortune 500 company, with proceeds going to two well-known charities. (The company will remain anonymous here since some might object, even to this solid bit of goodness.)
At this fundraiser match, four of the eight normal Steel Challenge stages are run, best two out of three strings for score, and you don’t have to provide your own firearm. The match is awash in NRA and USPSA ROs and instructors. A detailed shooter’s meeting and safety briefing precedes every match (there have been eight, all told), and any new shooters—including several over the years who have shot for the very first time—have their own “coach,” who sees them through the entire match.
The money raised isn’t trivial, either—just under $17,000 to date. And because we know you’ll ask how many mishaps have occurred, we’ll proudly answer. Of the shooting sort, the answer is a big fat zero. They’ve had roughly 300 match transits—that’s about 21,000 rounds of ammunition fired—and not a single firearms-related injury. (One non-shooting “medical” did occur in the inaugural match, but RO and friend of A1F Tom Knobeloch both prevented injury and controlled the firearm when a shooter went all the way to the ground.)
IT pro by profession, but lady gunner and match director by choice, Cris B. told us: “I’m always thrilled to find opportunities, not only to provide a non-threating place for women to shoot, but also to introduce the Steel Challenge and competition to shooters—especially those who would otherwise be shackled inside to a desk all day. The fundraising event has also bridged relationships within our organization in ways that would not otherwise have happened. The outdoor, healthy competition between co-workers has really been fun, too. I’m proud to have been passed this baton, and look forward to continuing to raise money for two major charities with these events for years to come.”
This sort of thing doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work and great support. Because of intensive RO instruction and the presence of instructors, the range (Pueblo West, Colorado’s PWSA) donates facilities cost, and America’s 1st Freedom/American Warrior’s own Tom “Hoser” Freeman puts up his personal steel. Board Vice President Deb Felix attends as both an official rep and emergency medical support (she’s an LPN II with a med kit—and kind heart—the size of a Volkswagen).
From our perspective, a better exercise of your freedom doesn’t readily come to mind. Avuncular PWSA President Chris Skarmas probably put it best: “It’s hard to imagine a better example of a contribution by the shooting sports: fun, safe and educational, all while raising money for causes everybody likes.”