Tall Pine Council hosts shooting fundraiser

Troop 340 scout master John Grzecki of Goodrich takes aim.

Troop 340 scout master John Grzecki of Goodrich takes aim.

— In an effort to support the field sports and special programs at their camps, the Boy Scouts of America’s Tall Pine Council hosted its 14th Annual Sporting Clays Tournament at Hunters Creek Club last Friday, a move that helped support more than 6,500 youths in Lapeer, Genesee and Shiawassee counties.

“We’re fundraising here, trying to make some money. My job is to pull the clay targets, keep score and making sure everyone has enough shells. This is a fun event. It’s a great opportunity to get out and meet some people and shoot,” said 16-year-old Jeffry Versagli of Troop 135. He was in charge of station five, has been involved with scouting for at least 10 years by his estimation, and currently holds the rank of Life. “This is my first year at this event, but it’s been great.”

Having been chartered in 1917 by the BSA’s national council, The Tall Pine Council currently has around 270 businesses or organizations sponsoring one or more troops, packs or posts, as well as operating Camp Holaka northwest of Lapeer and Camp Tapico between Kalkaska and Grayling.

Ortonville’s Cameron Exel prepares to fire last Friday.

Ortonville’s Cameron Exel prepares to fire last Friday.

“The money that’s raised through the sporting clays tournament will go to help support our outdoor camping activities. It’s a really good turn out with great weather and we’re hoping to raise a lot of money to help the scouts,” said Tom Wickham, who is the TPC’s Vice President of Marketing, as well as the Communications Manager for General Motors in Flint. “We and the United Auto Workers felt this was a perfect event because a lot of the people who are out here drive trucks, whether it’s a Toyota or one of our older models, and we felt it was a great opportunity to showcase our new 2011 heavy duty trucks that are made in Flint. A lot of our members have children who are in scouts, and because it runs in the family, there’s a strong affinity between GM, the UAW and scouting in the area.”

With 70 people shooting in the event and 25 more volunteering, when everything was said and done the Tall Pine Council raised a little more than $20,000 through this event, a result the group hopes to replicate for many years to come.

“We increased our net profit to scouting this year thanks to our corporate sponsors General Motors, UAW Local 598 and the Flint Assembly Plant,” said TPC Finance Director Marilyn Costigan. “Now we immediately start planning for the next one now that this year’s tournament is done. Not only are we looking for event volunteers, we are also looking for volunteers for our planning committee.”

As for the rules of the tournament, the course was a 70 bird shoot with 14 numbered stations, which were sponsored by places such as Fernco, Inc., Coles Machine, Craig Ryan Fine Menswear, Dickinson Wright PLLC, www.mustseeracing.com, Goyette Mechanical, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hank Graff Chevrolet, Lapeer County Bank and Trust Co., Lapeer County Pheasants Forever Chapter, Michig-Gun and Tackle Co., Plante Moran, Randy Wise Buick GMC, Riegle Press, Inc., Mid-States Bolt and Screw, Ray C’s Harley Davidson, Reid and James, P.C., SCI Flint Regional Chapter, Snider Financial Services, Top Gun Shooting Sports, Total Benefit Solutions and Williams Gun and Sight Outfitter.

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