We seldom hear much, if any, good news about shooting sports even though over 100 countries compete in nine men's shooting events and six women's shooting events in the Summer Olympics http://www.issf-sports.org/theissf/championships/olympic_games.ashx and the biathlon in the Winter Olympics, the 4-H and the Boy Scouts teach shooting sports to thousands of kids every year, nearly 300 colleges and universities have shooting programs, http://collegiate.nra.org/ hunting is as safe or safer than bowling or golf, http://www.nssf.org/pdf/research/iir_injurystatistics2013.pdf and skeet and trap shooting are even safer, one of the safest of all outdoor recreation sports. http://www.familiesafield.org/pdf/injury_page.pdf
Shooting sports need more positive visibility, and one of organizations that's helping improve the image of sport shooters is the Kids and Clays Foundation, http://www.kidsandclays.com/ which raises money for the 271 Ronald McDonald Houses that provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.
Kids and Clays got started in 1999, when Glenn and Kathy Lubeznik, McDonald's owner/operators in Northwest Indiana, chaired the first annual Sporting Clays Tournament Event benefitting the Chicago Ronald McDonald House® near the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. With the support of Winchester Ammunition, McDonald's Owner/Operators and McDonald's Suppliers, the event attracted 137 participants and generated over $16,000.
The next year, companies and organizations such as Browning, Charles Daley, Pace American Trailers, Coca Cola, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) followed Winchester's lead and became sponsors. More than 220 participants shot in the Chicago tournament that benefited the Chicago Ronald McDonald House, this time bringing in over $58,000.
In 2002, sporting clays tournaments were held in Orlando, FL, Detroit, MI, Columbus, GA, and in St. Louis, MO. Proceeds from the events benefited the Ronald McDonald Houses in their respective areas.
This inspired the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) in 2002 to name the "Ronald McDonald House National Sporting Clays Foundation" their "Official Charity." The National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) did the same in 2003, followed by the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) in 2004. In 2005 the Foundation's name officially became the Kids and Clays® Foundation, benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities®. In 2007, Kids and Clays partnered with 15 Ronald McDonald House Shooting Sports Events, generating almost $1,000,000. In 2012, the $1,000,000 mark was broken when the combined net revenue from Kids & Clays sponsorships and Ronald McDonald House Sporting Clays events exceeded $1.2 million.
To date, the Kids & Clays Foundation has generated over $11,000,000 through holding sporting clays, trap and skeet events. More importantly, participation in these events has raised awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities® among thousands of shooters, while assisting the thousands of families served by Ronald McDonald Houses each and every day, and whenever an event is held local news coverage demonstrates that gun owners can be good guys.
In August of 2014, Doug Jeanneret, formerly Vice President of Marketing for US Sportsmen's Alliance, became the executive director of Kids and Clays. According to Doug, "Personally, Kids and Clays combines two of my passions toward one very important goal. I welcome the chance to help children and their families improve their lives while utilizing the generosity of the outdoor industry to make it possible. In 2014, we supported 13 sporting clay events around the country and they raised nearly $1.2 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities and their mission to help critically ill children and their families."
Kim Rhode, five time Olympic Medalist is the National Spokesperson for Kids & Clays.
This year Kids and Clays is hosting 18 events held all around the US. There are 13 more to go, starting in August. http://www.kidsandclays.com/#!schedule-of-events/c1wwg If you're lucky, at one of the events you may meet five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, who is the National Spokesperson for Kids and Clays. http://www.kidsandclays.com/kim-rhode-for-kids--clays.html In addition to being the only American to ever win individual medals in five consecutive Olympic events, Kim was recently the US flag bearer in the Pan AM Games that were held in Toronto, where she set a Pan Am record of breaking 74 of 75 clays and won the Gold.
You don't have to attend one of the Kids and Clays events to help this group out. A gun club can donate some of the money collected at local events, http://www.kidsandclays.com/gun-club-program.html and/or you can personally donate online: http://www.kidsandclays.com/donate-now.html.
Another way to lend support is by participating in the Kids and Clays annual online sweepstakes. "The annual sweepstakes provides vital funds to Ronald McDonald Houses to help critically ill children and their families," says Bill Keyser, president of the Kids & Clays Foundation. "It is only possible with the great support of national sponsors who are key to the sweeps success. I would encourage all who want to make a difference to participate in the sweepstakes."
Prizes this year are:
1st Prize: From Blaser, a Kids & Clays custom, hand-engraved 12 gauge shotgun with a 30 in. barrel, wood grade 6, transportation case, barrel weight system, stock balancer set and 5 Briley spectrum chokes. MSRP: $15,000.
2nd Prize: From E-Z-GO, a 2015 Blue Express S4 gas-powered shooting cart. Four-person capacity, rear seat converts to cargo deck and powered by a 23hp Kawasaki engine. MSRP: $9,450.
3rd Prize: From Laser Shot, a Portable Small Arms Training Hunting Education System complete with computer, projector, speakers, and laser detecting camera, hunter education software, games, IR laser o/u shotgun, rifle, and handgun. MSRP: $7,900.
4th Prize: From Lincoln Traps, an Infinity Series Sporter 320 target trap. Yellow spring, Mobile Sporter Cart, medium mid magazine cover, 100ft. trap release cord with Bryant single-button. MSRP: $3,500.
5th Prize: From Winchester Ammunition, a $1,000 Gift Certificate. Winner may choose all Winchester merchandise or up to $700 in ammunition and $300 in merchandise. MSRP: $1,000.
Tickets are $20.00 and eight for $60. http://www.kidsandclays.com/uploads/2/0/2/2/2022414/kidsclaysnationaldrawing.pdf The drawing will be held on October 24 during the National Sporting Clay Association Championship. http://www.nssa-nsca.org/index.php/nsca-sporting-clays-shooting/find-a-shoot/national-championship/
Support Kids and Clays and other groups like them so people know that sport shooters are good guys who are doing humanitarian work as well as enjoying a very safe sport.