The Juneau Gun Club brought back its annual Turkey Shoot Saturday morning as Juneau residents stood tall and let fly at a variety of targets.
The event, canceled last year, was smaller than previous years without the indoor range portion, but dozens still came out despite frigid temperatures.
“My kids, this is the first time they’ve done the Turkey Shoot,” said Casey Walker, who came out for the event. “It’s a great thing for kids to be out learning to shoot responsibly. I just took my son out deer hunting for the first time yesterday.”
The Turkey Shoot has been occurring since at least the ‘70s, said Jerry Godkin, gun club president.
“It’s a family event versus just club shooters,” Godkin said in an interview. “We try to get something we can do for the public.”
While the club has public shoot days on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings, Godkin said, the Turkey Shoot is its largest event for the public held at the club’s Montana Creek range, next to the indoor shooting range.
“What’s amazing is, you get people who get here and say, ‘I didn’t even know this was here,’” Godkin said. “With the COVID and the temperatures out today, I’d be hopeful to get 80 to 100 people.”
While the club sometimes procures nearly 100 turkeys as prizes, Godkin said, this year, without the indoor range in rotation, they reduced that significantly. Shooters competed at multiple distances in different competitions for the chance to eliminate other competitors and win turkeys. Mitigation measures also meant that many of the organizer tables went outside as a result, instead of being inside the clubhouse.
“There’s been years we gave away 80 turkeys. This year, we only got 40,” Godkin said. “We didn’t know if we could get turkeys for a reasonable price, We ended up getting turkeys from Costco.”
They also got turkeys and gift cards for prizes from Foodland and Super Bear IGA, Godkin said, thanking the supermarkets. While the gun club probably wasn’t doing much better than breaking even on the event, Godkin said, it was good to get members of the public of all ages out again.
“At the Juneau Gun Club, your kid can be a full-fledged member,” Godkin said. “They’re a part of things. That’s why I like it, it’s open to all ages.”
For many members, membership in the JCG is multigenerational, said Marie Lam, who was helping to organize the event.
“We’re members because our kids are members,” Lam said while organizing relays of shooters.
About 20 volunteers came out to help run the event, Lam said.
“What I’m impressed about is the number of helpers we got. It’s hard to pull off an event like this without them,” Godkin said. “We had our annual meeting in mid-October and we were worried we wouldn’t have enough workers.”
The JGC’s next major event is the Winter League, where teams will square off in multiple divisions over several ranges to out shoot everyone else. People interested in participating can contact Juneau Gun Club at (907) 789-9844.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.