Annual turkey shoot raises funds for school

Published 6:11 pm Saturday, November 5, 2016

Some of them came early, carrying their shotguns and a sense of optimism their skill would net them something at the end.

The Redwood Elementary PTO held its annual turkey shoot Saturday to raise funds so the school can move forward in becoming a Light House School, which is a part of the Leader In Me program, and purchase new risers for the auditorium and gifts for the accelerated reader program.

The annual event also featured a carnival with games and other attractions. Smoke and the scent of charcoal warming up cut through the cool air as cooks began preparing hot dogs and hamburgers to the shooters and carnival-goers.

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“This is our 43rd turkey shoot; we’ve sold 12,000 tickets,” said PTO president Albert Hossley as he helped get the targets ready for the event. It was a few minutes before the shoot’s starting time and he and others were taking care of last minute details. “Right now, we’re waiting to have 10 shooters so we can get started.”

A few contestants were milling about as they waited for more competition to arrive.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get enough shooters,” Hossley said.

“Back in the day, we started at dawn and kept shooting until dark,” said Tina Scates, who has been involved with the turkey shoot for 10 years.”

“I’m expecting a large turnout,” Hossley said. “We’ve got good weather this year. Last year, it rained.”

One of the early arrivals waiting to shoot was Wes Massey, who was there with his son, Wyatt and father B-D.

“I work offshore, so this is my first time to come,” he said. “My dad and son come every year to shoot.”

“In 1980 or 81, I won a 12-inch color TV,” B-D said.

Another family looking to begin a tradition was Barry Barnett and his daughters, Lili and Lexi.

“This is what we do, we hunt and fish,” Barnett said. “I used to come out here and shoot with my father when I was their age. I spent 12 years in the Army, and I’m now with the Army National Guard. Now that I’m home, I want to start a family tradition with my girls.”

The number of shooters soon increased enough to begin the contest with the marksmen firing at two different targets, one a circle and another showing two crossed lines, using a variety of shotguns from pump and automatic to single shot. The number of times they were allowed to shoot was determined by the number of tickets they bought, which also entered them in a drawing to win up to $500.

“If I can’t get 20 shots, I’m not shooting,” one participant said.

“I bought 30 tickets, but doesn’t matter if I shoot or not,” B-D Massey said. “It’s all for the kids.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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