My first experience at a turkeyshoot was just a small meat shoot in Waldo, OH I'm guessing it was 1995-96 at the time I was 11-12 years old. The sport itself was really just something that my dad picked back up though one of his long time friends Kenny Reece, after my parents divorced, and the Jr Dragster days were over. He had been going to a few shoots here and there and started going to outlaw shoots at Crawford County with Kenny a few months prior.
The first gun I shot back then was a family relic to say, a Winchester Red Letter 37. As a kid this was a painful learning experience. I watched for a few rounds then jumped in, not only did I knockout/touch the dot, I had to go get thumped again in the shoot off. After a few rounds I had managed to get lucky and win, I picked the biggest prize on the table a half tube of Oscar Meyer bologna. After winning I enjoyed my hot chocolate and watched Dad and Kenny proceed to continue collecting about half of the meat packs given out that day.
A few weeks later we woke up early on a Saturday morning and headed into Kenny's place on Lusch Rd. in Marion. As a kid I was amazed at all the shit this dude had. Guns on almost all the walls in his garage/shop, Trophy's and Plaques hanging, and all the machines to build the guns. The guns he built at the time deserved the branding that he gave them. GOLD RUSH, chromed, engraved and inlaid with jewels and gold plated accents, they were true works of art, above and beyond what anyone else of that era produced. Kenny was as you'd say a larger than life character, gold chain necklaces and gold rings embroidered jackets and he was legit the Ric Flair of turkey shooting the WOOOOO! and all, limo riding jet flyin' the whole 9.
So we hop in Kenny's Green Dodge/Chrysler minivan and we head to Crawford County. Upon arrival we unload right at the door, we lay out a spread of guns in the back room that even by modern standards would be a bit much for any 3 people to bring to a shoot. This first shoot at Crawford that I'd attend was a SUPERSHOOT. Basically at the time you had a weekly money low cost outlaw shoot and a BIG money entry outlaw SUPERSHOOT. I'd say 20-30 guys showed up from Ohio and surrounding states. Crawford was one of a kind back then as it had 2 shooting ranges operating at the same time. Upon arrival I met Hal White (Whitey) and Dick Green that day. Little did I know both would turn out to be inspirational characters in my life over the years.
Dad & Kenny signed me up to shoot in the back room, they gave me a box of shells and set up a gun for me to practice with. This gun was a beast. A 48" 1.25" side-locked model 31. It had a silver Tasco scope that to this day I wish I owned. Anyways the game that I would be playing today would be much different that the BB game at Waldo. They showed me the target and it was a dot literally the diameter of a shotgun shell. They said you have 2 shots to knock it out I laughed and said yeah right thinking this beast gun was equal to the factory 37 I had shot weeks prior that would just pepper the target. They loaded up the targets in the rack and sent them down range on this cable trolley system that brought all the targets out and back in. Dad set the gun on the bench for me and got it on target loaded the first shell and I got behind the gun aimed it center and pulled the trigger. They told me to shoot again. So I adjusted to another target and shot again, I was told you just shot my target by Kenny, mine didn't have a dot left to shoot at after and I told them that. Kenny looked across and said you are a natural at this laughing because the first outlaw target I had ever shot I knocked out the big dot in just one shot.
Dad and Kenny shot primarily that day in the front room and they did well! However so did I in the back room. Winning 2 of the 5 dot rounds in the backroom. Dick Green was judging and he kept me in line and taught me quite a bit that day about the sport and the rules at that time. Once the main rounds were done in the front room, Kenny, Dad and I jumped in the van and went to this hole in the wall bar/steakhouse that had sheets hanging from the ceiling with change in them. We ate steak, celebrated winning and then we headed back to Crawford for the evening shoot. This time I had the opportunity to shoot in the front room due to being a contributing team member, I learned what the team split was! I met a lot of people that day that would influence my life and career path.