(T-G photo by Tracy Simmons) [Order this photo]
The local Moose Lodge has held the turkey shoot for more than 35 years on Highway 82 South, with proceeds benefiting local families in need at Christmas time.
On Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 1 p.m., the range is set with a dozen targets, with shooters buying into rounds for $2 a shot. There's an occasional ham round as well, with those rounds selling at $5 a shot.
(T-G photo by Tracy Simmons)
The winner is determined by the closest scatter shot to the center of the target and takes home a Thanksgiving turkey.
Lodge members have shotguns available if you can't bring your own, and the men working the range line are dedicated to firearm safety.
While other shoots in the area allow all those participating in a round to fire simultaneously, this event takes a shot-by-shot approach.
Another shoot, featuring hams, is held nearing Easter of each year. With proceeds from both events, last year, The Loyal Order Of Moose Lodge 2197 and Chapter 1817 made sure that 104 children, their families and 25 local senior citizens had a "merry" day.
"It is by far the most rewarding project we do all year," said Karen Marcotte, who serves as senior regent of the lodge chapter.
"While there are many community service projects we do throughout the year, Christmas is very special to us -- after all, we are a children's charity organization," said Marcotte.
With donations from lodge members, Tyson, Dollar General Stores, AmVets and the Shelbyville Eaglettes, volunteers helped distribute 35 boxes of toys, 40 brand-new bicycles and 60 food boxes to families who otherwise would not have had provisions for Christmas.
While these are perhaps the most visible of the events the social club hosts each year, the men and women of the Moose are busy all year caring for children in need, looking out for senior citizens, and volunteering their service for public events.
"We have parked cars at the local fair, participated in the Parade of Trees at the Fly Building, put on a Veterans Day Celebration, provided and cooked food for the Christian Care Center on their Family Day," said Marcotte.
They also provide recognition to seniors during other holidays such as Christmas and Valentine's Day. The lodge provides information to local schools about "Safe Surfin'," a web safety program for students. Tommy Moose, a stuffed animal, represents the lodge when members can't be there. "We provide Tommy Moose to police and fire departments to hand out to children taken out of dangerous or scary situations," said Marcotte.
While most of the group's efforts are directed at local families, the lodge also supports a senior citizen facility in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Mooseheart Child City and School in Illinois, a residential childcare facility and home for children and teens.
To donate a toy, new bicycle or non-perishable food items to the lodge for Christmas baskets, contact the Shelbyville Moose Lodge at 684-9137.
To learn more about the Moose and the benefits of becoming a member, visit www.mooseintl.org or Heardofmoose.org. The turkey shoot continues every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 9.