We are excited to say with confidence that this fundraising event is and "Annual" event! Just completing our second year revealed tremendous growth in organization and participation! Our team of volunteer event coordinators strolled through this year without breaking a sweat as they put on one top of the line sporting clay shoots in the state of Mississippi, if not the entire country! Our Veterans that participated on the two Warrior Bonfire Teams, were well taken care of and the 210 shooters (yes, I said 210, a jump from 168 last year) were managed and processed through to their starting positions without a hitch! This shoot is well on its way to stardom in this sporting clay shoot world. We can say for certain, you don't want to miss out on this next year! Not only are we proud to say "Annual" but we can also add MS (Mississippi) to this title as we are growing in Texas with a shoot just around the corner on August 27, 2016, the WBP Dust Off for Dove Season Sporting Clay Shoot in Lumberton!
Situated on the pristine piece of land becoming well known as Camp Down Range, owned and operated by the CJ Stewart Foundation and the future home of the Bonfire Lodge, this shoot provided an exhilarating challenge to Master shooters and an extremely cool venue for our Hunter Class shooters. This two groups shoot among each other but do not compete against each other, offering fun for all on many levels. Not only are the shots over the lake, and through the woods, up and down the hilly trails outside of Clinton, a fantastic attraction for this type of shoot but the door prizes want to make you drool! Everything from overnights at the local casino hotels, fishing poles, conceal carry classes, grilling gear, shells, coolers, chairs, and much more adds that special touch to bring our shooters back each year.
We are incredibly grateful to our Sporting Clay Shoot Sponsors for helping us to put on such a wonderful shoot. The funds donated help us to provide a well run shoot that keeps the customers happy, guaranteeing to return next year. The funds also provide a weekend for 12 of our Bonfire Brothers that have been on trips in the past to come home so to speak to reunite with some of those we have introduced to them along the way. We host a full weekend for these Purple Hearts and it is something we could not do without our sponsor support! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts as well as our Purple Hearts.
We also want to call out all our volunteer shoot organizers for their huge devotion of time and generosity to make this AMAZING event take place. John Heggins - overall operations, Steven Tzotzolas - shoot operations, Lesa Wilson & Leigh Ann Vanlandingham - volunteer coordinators (and a whole lot more). Americorp - Stand Operators, Civil Air Patrol - Parking Attendants. Operation Sponsors - Sheffield Rentals, Ben Nelson Golf & Utility Vehicles, Capital City Beverage, Southern Heritage Air Foundation, Hinds Community College DMS Program, Vicksburg Catholic Schools, F&G Beverages Inc., H&M Promotions, CJ Stewart Foundation and Fordice Construction Co for land preparations. Lastly, our Staff Mike Foss, Helen Phillips and Andi Pugh.
Click here to see all the fun photos of the day! (Sadly we put away the cameras during the down pour.)
Click here to see placement results.
Stay tuned for next years Save the Date announcement!
Our 24th Bonfire brought us to the Colorado High Country where we enjoyed the crisp air, blue skies and starry nights of Rocky Mountains. Our group of Purple Heart recipients took advantage of the great outdoors in and around Granby enabling them all to enjoy the brotherhood and, as always, a ton of good food!
The group met at Solid Grounds in Littleton, CO to grab some smoothies and big cookies before the journey to Granby. Once everyone was settled in our mountain house and the kitchen was stocked with groceries for the weekend, the team loaded up and headed to Winter Park for a dinner feast at De Antonio’s. As he does every time the Bonfire visits the Fraser Valley, Frank De Antonio prepares a yummy Italian banquet for our Purple Heart recipients. With everyone’s stomach full, the group headed back to Granby Ranch for some bonding and a good night’s sleep in the cool mountain air.
Friday morning Team Bonfire headed down to the lodge at Granby Ranch to get fitted on mountain bikes and headed up the chairlift for some mountain biking in the woods and on the slopes at Ski Granby. A mix of experienced mountain bikers and newbies made for a fun ride and opened the ever present “No Man Left Behind” comforting feeling we find at every Bonfire event. We took in beautiful scenery and views of the mountains, rivers and alpine meadows. Of course, some were left a tad sore from the bike seats and bruises from a few tumbles, but the biggest bruises you can imagine were the egos! After lunch, the team headed to Grand Lake for a pontoon boat ride hosted by Rudy Perez and Darrell Herk. Rudy served as a great tour guide of the houses and land along the lake and this group will never forget Rudy’s infectious laugh! After the boat ride Team Bonfire headed to Hot Sulfur Springs to soak in the hot springs pool which felt great after biking. That night at the house it was Brats, Burgers and Bonding! A key part of these weekends is the ability for everyone to open up, get the issues, emotions and frustrations they find that every one of them deals with off their backs. They are safe in a small group and it creates real healthy change.
"Thanks for getting me out of my comfort zone. The mountain biking, horseback riding and telling my story"– Purple Heart Recipient John Cushman
We woke up Saturday for an early horseback ride through the meadows, along with some mud, and headed up the mountain. What a great view from the top! On the way down we were rerouted as some “llamas” were loose. Our guide Matt read llamas as a bear. After grabbing some food, we headed into Rocky Mountain National Park and a ride up Trail Ridge Road. What a beautiful view from up high and a chance to touch the snow! Along the way we saw moose and elk, took a short hike to tour Holzwarth Ranch. We were reminded to slow down and take in the views a bit more, when one of our leaders (not mentioning any names) was stopped for driving too fast (thanks to Ranger Michael Eastman for not issuing a ticket). Saturday night, we had our bonfire and a steak dinner to complete Bonfire #24.
Special thanks to our Veterans and Soldiers that participated on the trip; Jered Whatcott and Taylor Foss for their assistance; and our supports – De Antonio’s, Granby Ranch, Sombrero Ranch at Snow Mountain Ranch and Rudy Perez & Darrell Herk. Without the support of these great people and companies, the Colorado Outdoors Bonfire could not have happened. See all the fun photos here!
"I had to do something extremely hard for myself yesterday at the bonfire that very few of us can understand. But I gained 5 new Brothers that are dealing with the same thing. Thanks to the Warrior Bonfire Program for what they do." Purple Heart Recipient CR Patrick
WBP Team writers
Blogs are written by staff members of the Warrior Bonfire Program along with guest writers.