Cool weather, hot action at NWTF's Turkey Shoot

Wendell Cherry, of the National Wild Turkey Federation's 15th annual shoot. Courtesty NWTF/P.J. Perea

FORSYTH, Ga. — When the smoke cleared at the National Wild Turkey Federation's 15th annual Turkey Shoot, Wendell Cherry from Red Boiling Springs, Tenn., broke an outstanding 193 out of 200 targets to win the National Sporting Clays Association division. Close at his heels were Rick Hemingway from Georgetown, S.C., and Doug Vine from Palm City, Fla., who each scored 189.

In the Hunter division, Ronald Lindsey from Albany, Ga., was crowned champion with an impressive 187 targets, while Tim McKinney from Ninety-Six, S.C., took second with a 177.

More than 500 competitive shotgunners descended on The Meadows National Gun Club in Forsyth, Ga., Aug. 15 to Aug. 17 for a weekend of intense competition and non-stop action.

"I was able to stay focused throughout the weekend, plus this unusually cool weather for middle Georgia in August sure helped," said Cherry. "I want to thank the NWTF, The Meadows National Gun Club and their partners and sponsors for putting on a great event."

Sporting clays is often described as "golf with a shotgun" and requires lightning quick reflexes and sharp mental focus. Clay targets are thrown at various angles and speeds from different shooting stations to simulate hunting scenarios.

Cherry partially attributed his sporting clays success to the help of a sports psychologist, who help many top shooters retain their mental focus during a competition. He also has a lot of experience; Cherry estimates that throughout his life he's shot more than 800,000 shotgun shells.

There were many other winners this weekend besides the shooters. Proceeds from the NWTF Turkey Shoot will benefit Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF, an outreach program that provides opportunities for outdoor fun, especially hunting, fishing and shooting, to people with disabilities.

"It was another great year for the Turkey Shoot, and we're already looking forward to 2009," said Rhett Simmons, NWTF special events director. "Sporting clays enthusiasts are some of the most welcoming, friendly people you'll ever meet, and I urge anyone who hasn't been to one of these events to come out and join in the fun."

The 16th annual event will be held at The Meadows Aug. 16 to Aug. 19, 2009. For more information, visit www.nwtf.org.

About the NWTF: In 1973, when the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Thanks to the work of wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys and nearly 3 million turkey hunters. Since 1985, the NWTF and its cooperators have spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.9 million acres of wildlife habitat.

The NWTF is a nonprofit organization with more than a half million members in 50 states, Canada, Mexico and 14 other foreign countries. It supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and corporate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.

For more information about the NWTF, call (800)-THE-NWTF or visit www.nwtf.org.