Ready, aim, fire: Saunders Memorial Shoot sets sights on this weekend

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Muzzleloading enthusiasts load their rifles at last year's 60th annual Saunders Memorial Shoot. Most will return this weekend, Sept. 22-25, for the 61st event. Visitors are welcome. (Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News)

Marksmen have their sights set on Carroll County for this weekend.

The 61st annual Saunders Memorial Shoot will be held from Thursday, Sept. 22, to Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Luther Owens Muzzle Loading Range and Park. Firing will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Zoe Caywood, scoring director for the event, said the memorial shoot was started by Luther Owens in honor of his friend Charles Burton "Buck" Saunders, a nationally known gun collector and marksman.

"Saunders loved guns and had a huge collection, which is housed in the Saunders Museum in Berryville," Caywood said. "The park and the range are owned by the city, but Saunders designated the area up on Saunders Heights in his will to always be a shooting facility."

She said Owens was the driving force behind starting the memorial shoot because of his friendship with Saunders and their shared passion for black powder guns and muzzle-loading firearms.

"He was the one who started it. They had it up on Saunders Heights for about two to three years," Caywood said. "Then they moved it down to where the park is now."

She said the shooting tournament will feature matches for rifles, pistols, shotguns and trade guns.

Registration fees are $15 for Men's Aggregate, $10 for Ladies' Aggregate, $5 for Old Timers' Aggregate, free for Junior Aggregate and Sub-Junior Aggregate, $5 for Pistol Aggregate and Women's Pistol Aggregate, $7 for Bench Rest Aggregate, $5 for Trade Gun Aggregate, $8 for Trap Championship Matches, $3 for Trap Re-entry, $5 for Vintage Cartridge Trap, $5 for Muzzle Loading or Cartridge Sporting Clays, $2 for Rifle and Pistol Re-entry Matches and $1 for Practice Targets.

"We had over 100 registered shooters last year," Caywood said, "and we have about 100 this year."

Traders will be selling black powder supplies and related items during the memorial shoot as well, she said. There is no charge for traders to camp or trade, Caywood said. The only fee is the $5 registration, she said, and traders can register at the shooting shack.

Caywood said the Carroll County Masons will also be providing food services throughout the memorial shoot. A full country breakfast will be available Thursday through Sunday, she said, and lunch and dinner will be available Thursday through Saturday.

"They're serving out of the Luther Owens cabin," Caywood said. "They will be serving those meals to benefit the Carroll County Masons."

She said a silent auction and raffle will be held on Saturday. An unfired Thompson Center 50 Caliber Flintlock is being raffled off this year, Caywood said, along with some gift baskets.

"One of the things we have for the silent auction is a Springfield Musket in a box case. It has everything in perfect condition, including a shooting bench and all the accruements," she said. "The auction and raffle will end at about 5 p.m."

Caywood said the silent auction and raffle are both open to the public. Spectators are welcome for the tournaments as well, she said.

"Everybody is welcome to come walk around, go to both ranges to watch the different divisions, look at the traders, bid on the silent auction or buy a raffle ticket for the gun or one of the beautiful gift baskets," Caywood said. "There is a lot of fun to be had."

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