Shooters take aim for Education Foundation

VERO BEACH — “This is my favorite event,” said Cynthia Falardeau, Education Foundation Executive Director, as we watched several participants shoot at bright orange colored disks (clay pigeons) that had been flung into the air by mechanized traps.  She was speaking of the Charity Shoot, originally conceived by Kim Peckam and Dede Snowden, and this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Windsor’s private Gun Club, Platt Station hosts the annual event, and also provides breakfast and a BBQ luncheon.  More importantly, their Gun Pro, Nicky Szapary helps with instruction when needed and insures the overall safety of the shooters and spectators. And Proctor Construction underwrote the ammunition so that the majority of the proceeds can be used to target Education Programs. “It is the last shoot of the season for Windsor,” said Falardeau.  “We have a wonderfully philanthropic core group of people who come out every year.  A lot of them don’t even pre-register.  They say, “You know we’ll be there,” and they are.”

Three-person teams are randomly drawn, which helps to level the playing field, and the scores are based on a combination of the results in the Driven Game Simulation and Quadruple Three Stand competitions. While the majority of the 36 shooters had some previous shooting experiences, there were also a few novices sprinkled among the competitors.

Dede Snowden had just finished the demanding Driven Game Simulation portion of the competition.  Shooters each have 40 shells and four minutes to hit the 100 targets being launched their way.  “They also sell Mulligans for extra shells, and I take every shell I can,” Snowden said with a smile.

Snowden said she began shooting about 15 years ago, but only shoots at Windsor’s Gun Club and got her competitive skills from Szapary.  “The Club is open almost every weekend January to April.  It’s a great group of people who come throughout the season.”

When asked how they came up with the Charity Shoot concept, Snowden said, “There are so many sportsmen in Vero Beach; it was really the perfect theme.”

As board member Lynn Hall was waiting his turn, he said that he had only shot skeet once before, and that was 30 years ago.  He added, “I would definitely sign up to do this again.  To come out and do this on a Saturday morning; this is fun.  If you’ve never shot, this is the perfect event.  It’s extremely well organized, they teach you what you need to know and it’s safe.”

New board member Gail Kinney, who Falardeau called her volunteer extraordinaire, co-chaired the event with Jose Prieto.  “I’ve never shot, but after today I might take it up,” said Kinney.

A retired teacher from New Jersey, Kinney has lived in Vero for three years, and credits Sandy Mann for getting her involved in the Education Foundation.  “She dragged me to everything and I just fell in love with what they were doing.”

Proceeds from the Charity Shoot benefit the Education Foundation of Indian River County’s Programs: The Sneaker Exchange, the School Fund, the Indian River Regional Science & Engineering Fair, the Great Ideas! Grants and Teacher Development initiatives. {igallery 180}

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