Like many young men growing up in a small rural town in middle Tennessee, hunting game birds and small game were a routine part of life. I have very fond memories of shooting doves and quail with my buddies. Even at a very young age, I was especially drawn to wing shooting. At age 13, I bought my very own shotgun with my allowance and money earned from doing small jobs here and there. It was a Winchester 1400 semi-automatic. It cost $150 in 1975. I can remember thinking that was all the money in the world. I still own that gun to this day and cherish it as much as any of the high-end, fine Italian sporting clay guns I now own and compete with.
While I did participate in “clay shooting” in those days, it generally consisted of targets manually launched with a hand thrower on a buddy’s farm. The game of Sporting Clays as we know it today did not even exist.
My lovely wife, Susan and I.
After college, as my family and career responsibilities grew, my wife and I moved to various big cities where participation in the shooting sports became impractical. As we all know, life ebbs and flows. In 2007, a job transfer brought our family to the picturesque mountains of Western North Carolina, where I hope to spend the remainder of my days.
For Christmas of 2007, I bought myself a very lovely Over/Under shotgun. In January of 2008, my son and I discovered Fowler Farms Sporting Clays, which is near Hot Springs, NC. On the very first outing, I was hopelessly addicted to this wonderful sport. I don’t remember my score on that first outing, but it was ugly! I didn’t care! I immediately knew this was going to be my passion for the rest of my life and dedicated myself to improving. I literally read every book and magazine article available. I bought countless instructional DVD’s and watched them over and over. I took lessons from some of the best instructors in the industry (you know who you are; thank you). Most importantly, I surrounded myself with shooters who were FAR better than me. I watched carefully and took every tip they shared to heart.
My skill level quickly accelerated with a copious amount of regimented practice. Shortly thereafter, I participated in my first National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) sanctioned tournament. My competitive career was born. It is great fun and I regularly compete in events all over the Southeast even now. I have attained the rank of Master Class, which is the highest rank offered by the NSCA. It was a long, tough road. I am very proud of this achievement.
I became an NSCA certified instructor in 2009. While I absolutely love to shoot, both recreationally and in competition, perhaps my greatest joy in this sport is sharing my knowledge with beginners. I relish the idea of promoting this wonderful sport to the next generation of Master Class shooters.
Whether you never even held a shotgun or are already a seasoned shotgun enthusiast, I’m confident I can help you. I can promise you will learn the fundamentals of the sport in a SAFE, entertaining and stress-free environment.