Turkey Shoot season is in full bloom

Sandhills Blast and Cast held another Turkey shoot on Nov. 6 to raise funds for next year’s Fun Day. They offer a friendly competition each Friday and Saturday evening for only $5 per shot from September through Dec. 19 at 501 Thurlow’s Lake Road in Carthage.

The competitive sport offers instant gratification for winning marksmen aiming to “make some bacon” with skill and a shotgun. Hams, sausage, bacon, steaks, ribs and pork chops are the prizes until the week before Thanksgiving when frozen turkeys are the prize.

The target is 35 yards from the shooter, and each may bring his own shotgun or use one provided by the organization.

The usual attendance is 20 to 60 people. Dwayne Seals, a board member, and his two sons regularly attend.

“I haven’t shot in a while,” Elijah Seals said, but he is a regular volunteer and does everything from setting up warning cones to connecting the lights to the generator and splitting firewood.

Turkey Shoot season in full bloom

Elijah Seals takes aim at Sandhills Blast and Cast Nov. 7 at Thurlow’s Lake in Carthage.

In preparation, teen youth helped unload cars and set up a canopy. Then they split wood with an axe and stacked it in neat rows with burn barrels on either side of the woodpile. As one adjusted his ear protection and picked up his shotgun from a safety rack, another teen followed.

The night frogs chirping at the lake’s edge were silenced by blasts echoing across the lake, one after the other as the axe cracked the firewood. Laughter and chatter filled the grassy field, and the winner was declared.

Sandhills Blast and Cast is a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit outfit and is grounded in Christian theology. The shooting fee proceeds are used to fund Fun Day each September. The event features gospel and bluegrass bands, free food and games, casting competitions, archery, slingshot and skeet throwing. For young children, there is a bouncy-house and stick-pony races and cotton candy.

The public is invited, and last year,13 people accepted Christ, 15 churches volunteered, and there were 504 registered attendees and 70 volunteers, according to founder Jerry Holder.

“We gave away a Browning A5 shotgun, a fishing kayak, an adult crossbow and a youth compound bow,” Holder said. “It was our biggest year so far, and we felt like we had to have it this year with everyone being cooped up.”

Next year, Fun Day will be held Sept. 19, but there are several more weeks of fun until then on Thurlow’s Lake.

“On Nov. 21, I’m going to cook chicken and dumplings and chili – no charge,” board member Johnny Smith said. “On Dec. 19, our last night, we give away a nice shotgun. We’ll start at six that night and have food and a 30-minute sermon and a gospel band. Everyone’s invited.”

There are a few differences from one turkey shoot to another, but this one serves a dual role with a foundation for traditions.

“We started out as a father-son thing, and this year we fed over 600 people at Fun Day,” Smith said about the organization’s growth. “We have donated to Cameron’s Boys’ Camp, Girls’ Duncan Camp, North Carolina Men’s Disaster Relief and kept enough to build three or four handicap ramps too.”

For more information on Blast and Cast, please click here.

Feature photo: Jerry Holder and winner Frank Legg compare shotgun blasts.

Article, photos, and video by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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