#LetsGoShooting and Break-A-Clay!
by Warren Berg
The title of this piece is what’s called a “double entendre,” i.e., it has two interpretations. The one is obvious, “Let’s go shooting and break a clay” means exactly what it says. The other meaning reflects the great opportunity ranges have to combine NSSF’s #LetsGoShooting campaign with USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports’ (USAYESS) “Break-A-Clay Day” events.
Each is worthy on its own merits, but these things combined ascend to a new level that range owners can parlay into not only a fun event for National Shooting Sports Month, but one that attracts young shooters, adults and business leaders from their communities who might not otherwise be involved in the shooting sports. They also promote the range locally while at the same time help shooting teams raise needed money for both themselves and local charities.
Break-A-Clay Day is the brainchild of USAYESS, which supports state foundations and associations that use hands-on events to introduce and educate youth and their families about safe firearm handling, the shooting sports, conservation and other outdoor activities. Break-A-Clay Day is one of its fun fundraising programs, and it’s designed to create excitement and awareness in youth competitive shooting sports. The program has been tested and proven to be both fun and rewarding for all involved—teams, communities and organizations—and this year USAYESS plans to promote it as an ideal event for ranges to host during NSSM.
“I think that it’s a good match, because we tie it in with our teams, and having the teams on the same page on Break-A-Clay Day would time perfectly with what the NSSF is doing,” says Mike Borg, President of USAYESS.
Break-A-Clay Day events are based off the walk-a-thons in which participants get a dollar amount per mile. The whole concept reminded me of the American Heart Association’s “Jump Rope For Heart” program I did 70 pounds ago in junior high school, only instead of Break-A-Clay sponsors paying for time jumping rope, they pay per target busted, and instead of the charitable amount going to one national organization, it goes to a local one.
With this program, youth shooting team members go out into their communities and ask people and businesses to sponsor them for the event. Each individual shooter uses the money they raise to support his or her shooting, but 10 percent of what they raise also goes to a local charity of their choice.
“They shoot 100 targets and their donation form has their average on it,” explains Borg. “It’s per target broken—10 cents, 20 cents, 30 cents or they get a flat fee, though they like to get the per-target because the more targets they break the more money they make. That goes to help them with their travel, team uniforms, ammunition and entry fees.”
Over the years, Borg has seen what works and what doesn’t.
“When we do these,” he says, “it’s a community-involvement thing. Parents, grandparents, friends, businesses. There’s maybe a BBQ. We get the community involved. They come, they cheer, they boo. It’s a fun environment and it brings more people to the gun club.”
Borg says Break-A-Clay Day events have proven themselves effective as fundraisers.
“It brings people who never knew this range was here, so they join the gun club or they come up and shoot and, over time, some of them purchase a firearm,” explains Borg.
Because the young shooters are essentially acting as ambassadors to the shooting sports and the range hosting the event, Borg says USAYESS guides them on how to approach donors.
“We tell them how to address the donor, introduce themselves, let them know what the cause is, what the program is, what they’re going to do with the money and how much money gets put back into the charity they pick, so that the public knows that they’re not only asking for a donation for themselves, they’re also letting their donor know or letting their sponsor know that some of the money that they earn they’re returning back to the community—and it’s been huge. It’s been awesome.”
Ranges interested in holding a Break-A-Clay Day during National Shooting Sports Month can find information, including a detailed model of the program and donation forms, on the usayess.org website. Borg says there are about 200 teams currently participating in Break-A-Clay Day, and he’d like to see a 10 percent increase in that number.
“USAYESS is all-inclusive,” he says. “We have tournaments, and they’re open to anyone who wants to shoot who is in the 12th grade and below. Everybody is welcome, members of USAYESS or not.”
Ultimately, Borg sees the gist of tying Break-A-Clay Day to National Shooting Sports Month is to get more kids shooting.
“If they break a target, great. They’re going to have fun, and they’re going to do it more.”
Retailers and Ranges—Add Your Events to the National Shooting Sports Month Calendar
National Shooting Sports Month is all about getting people involved in the shooting sports and providing ways to better connect with the ranges and firearms retail stores in their communities. One of the best ways to do that during the month of August is to post your events and promotions here on shootingsportsmonth.org. All events you list there will be cross-positioned on our StepOutside.org and LetsGoShooting.org sites, which are designed specifically for consumer viewing and use. Bonus!—List your events here and we’ll send you a supply of National Shooting Sports hats, T-shirts and other materials to help boost your promotions throughout the month.
About the Author
Warren Berg is a 25-year veteran of the shooting, hunting and outdoors industry. He has penned hundreds of articles under many names for American Rifleman and Field & Stream, and has produced award-winning television programs on firearms-related subject matter.