Washington, DC – To the casual observer, they were a group of fun-loving regular guys out for a day on the range. In reality, these were prominent members of the U.S. Congress wearing shooting vests and carrying shotguns – and, yes, they knew how to use them. As members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, they were competing for bragging rights in the annual Congressional Shoot-Out on Tuesday, May 13th.
Eyes on the Prize (and not just the trophy)…The Shoot-Out, organized by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, is much-anticipated each spring as it matches the Democrats against the Republicans on the trap, skeet and sporting clays range to determine who are straightest shooters on Capitol Hill. Congressmen are teamed with representatives of conservation organizations and the shooting sports industry to dust as many targets as they can. It’s a great day of camaraderie among colleagues and taking a few verbal jabs at each other is all in the spirit of fun. However, the biggest prize isn’t having their names engraved on the trophy. During their ‘day jobs’ these policymakers make sure that pro-sportsmen’s legislation is guided through the minefield of the political landscape to bring home the victories for hunters and anglers.
“To see both Republicans and Democrats enjoying a day of recreational shooting together, with a little friendly competition, should give sportsmen a sense of relief that there are Congressmen in Washington who have their best interests in mind,” said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “When it comes to hunting and fishing issues, members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus check their political differences at the gate and work together for the sportsmen of America.”
The Winners and New Champions… As the smoke cleared, the Republicans, lead by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairman Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) emerged as the winners of the 2008 Congressional Shoot-Out. Representative Robin Hayes (R-NC) triumphed as the 2008 individual Congressional Top Gun. Top Gun Republican, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), won that honor for the second year in a row. The Top Gun Democrat was Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Top shooters in each discipline included Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) in skeet, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) in trap and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) in sporting clays.
The Congressional Shoot-Out was presented by ATK and the NRA and hosted by Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and Wal-Mart.
The Next Day; Industry’s Top Guns… Clay pigeons were again the targets the following day when CSF brought together leaders and representatives of the hunting and shooting community for the ‘Industry Challenge’. Leaders of top conservation groups shot side-by-side with the ‘who’s who’ of leading firearms and hunting equipment manufacturers, retailers and media.
For the fifth year in a row, Team Bass Pro, led by John Winters, Allen Treadwell and the Junior Women’s Olympic Skeet World Champion Haley Dunn took top honors. Top Gun overall was Jason Vanderbrink of ATK/Federal. Individual Top Gun for sporting clays was John Swindle of Yamaha; Top gun for skeet was Haley Dunn of Bass Pro Shops and Top Gun for trap was Steve Borst of Ducks Unlimited.
The Industry Challenge was presented by Field& Stream/Outdoor Life and Winchester Ammunition. Hosted by Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and Wal-Mart.
About the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is the most respected and trusted proponent for hunters and fishermen in the political arena. With support from every major hunting and fishing organization, CSF is the leader in promoting sportsmen’s issues with elected officials. CSF works directly with the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus in the U.S. Congress, as well as affiliated state sportsmen’s caucuses in state legislatures around the country. For additional information, visit www.sportsmenslink.org or call 202-543-6850.