Aiming high and shooting straight: Cullman Sons of Confederate Veterans raise money for local charities with turkey shoot

W.C. Mann

Money round winner Shon Burton

JONES CHAPEL – On Saturday morning, groups of armed men converged on the west Cullman County community of Jones Chapel.  There they shot it out for several hours, before giving up and going their separate ways again.  What was the cause?  Simple: meat, money and the children of Cullman County.

This was the fourth annual turkey shoot sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Denney Camp #1442 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), based in Cullman.  According to event spokesman, West Point Mayor and SCV member Kenneth Kilgo, the event is a fundraiser for the camp and for local charities it supports.  While a portion of the proceeds will remain with the camp for support of SCV southern history education programs, much of the money will go to Cullman Caring for Kids, with some funding also going to the local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars and other charities.

The rules of this turkey shoot were simple: use a regular shotgun and hit closer to the center of the target than anyone else in your group.  Shooters competed in groups of 12 (though one person could shoot multiple targets by paying extra), paying $5 per shot in rounds in which the prize was a $20 gift certificate to Brickyard Meats, and $10 per shot in "money rounds" in which the prize was half that round's pot.  Only factory stock shotguns fitted with common commercial chokes were allowed; none of the high dollar custom-built barrels and chokes often found in upscale shooting events.  Each shooter aimed at an individual small multi-ring bullseye target.  Judges took up the targets after each round; the target with a single pellet hole closest to the center won the round.

Each round had its champion, but the overall winner will be Cullman Caring for Kids, a charity of which the Denney camp is quite fond:

"We committed to donate 16 tons of food to Cullman Caring for Kids this year," said Kilgo, "and we're at 7 tons right now."  He added, "We wanted to do this right before the holidays because the food bank always has shortages, but especially at this time of the year."

Event hosts hoped for a good turnout of more than 100 shooters (many of whom would participate in multiple rounds), noting that at last year's event 276 shots were fired over 23 rounds, leading to the raising of $900 after expenses. 

"The more that come," Kilgo stated, "the more we can give to charity."  SCV is known for its work in preserving southern history, but the mayor offered the assurance that Thomas Jefferson Denney Camp 1442 is "also committed to taking care of those in need in our community."

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