Call it a slice of normalcy in this otherwise surreal year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, politics, and innumerable sad and stressful events that have plagued 2020. This event is a fun one. It’s the annual Turkey Shoot put on by the Cashmere Sportsman’s Association, and this year it took place Nov. 15.
The small range, located on Turkey Shoot Road outside of Cashmere, boasts two trap houses and is open the bulk of the year. The general public is always invited to shoot clay pigeons for just $4 a round on Thursday evenings starting at 7 p.m. During normal years, there are also school shooting nights where youth between the 5th and 12th grades come out and shoot, too. Brian James, secretary for the club, said 10 to 15 kids will participate in these shoots, and the association itself has some 60 members.
Trap is a deceptively simple game. A squad of up to five shooters occupy five different designated stations located 16 yards behind the concrete trap house. Inside the trap house is a machine that throws clay pigeons at different angles at a speed of 42 miles per hour. Each shooter fires five times from each designated position, and each position gives you a slightly different angle when it comes to shooting at the launched bird. Whoever hits the most pigeons out of the 25 shots fired wins the round.
Serious trap shooters invest in over and under 12-gauge shotguns with long 30-inch barrels. More casual shooters will show up with their 12 or 20-gauge hunting firearm, whether it be an over and under, semi-auto, or pump shotgun.
This year’s Turkey Shoot drew participants from as far away as Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The 110 attendees, socially distanced and coming and going over a several hour time span, each paid $30 for a punch card ticket that guarantees the shooter their choice of a slab of bacon or a hefty frozen turkey, which by itself is worth the price of admission. You get to shoot five abbreviated rounds of trap with this $30 punch card. Each round consists of just 10 shots, with two fired from each of the five stations behind the trap house. There are often ties which are settled by a tie-breaking shoot-off, and if you win more than one round, you can win additional turkeys or bacon!
In addition, there is a raffle with prizes which raises money for the youth shoots that occur here. There was a diverse crowd of men and women at this year’s event. I’d like to tell you I shot well, but the fact of the matter is a 70+ year-old longtime shooter named Steve from Yakima made me look like the rank amateur trap shooter I am, as did several high-school aged young men and women who had no problem breaking clay pigeons on a regular basis.
Whether you’re a good shotgunner or not, though, you’ll find this low-stress shooting event is a lot of fun, and, better still, literally everyone who buys a $30 ticket ends up as a winner!
A similar event, the Steak Shoot, is scheduled to occur at the Othello Gun Club on Sunday, Dec. 20. Shooting starts at 9 a.m., and for $35 you are guaranteed to win at least a two-pack of ribeye steaks. The games rules will be similar: five rounds per punch card with 10 birds thrown for each shooter per round. Breakfast and lunch will also be available for purchase. It is unclear at this time, given the current Covid-19 restrictions, whether this event will take place.
In addition to the gun clubs found in Cashmere and Othello, there are also ranges with trap shooting available throughout Washington State. Some of them, like the Fort Colville Gun Club near Colville and the Ephrata Sportsmen’s Association Gun Range, offer not only trap shooting but also skeet, rifle, and pistol shooting, too. A detailed list of where other ranges and gun clubs are located can be found is at http://shooting.org/ranges.