ROSINTON, Alabama — A local event provides a unique experience to raise funds for education in Baldwin County and provides an opportunity for youth to learn responsibility.
The Fourth Annual Coastal Clays benefit shoot will be held Saturday, March 27 at Mullek Farms just off the Baldwin Beach Express in Rosinton.
Four years ago, following the opening of St. Michael’s Catholic High School in Fairhope, a group got together, looking for a unique opportunity to raise funds for the area’s Catholic schools.
“Everybody does golf tournaments,” said host and one of the event’s founders Tim Mullek. “We were looking for something different that we could do.”
One of the group’s members had heard of a charity-driven clay shoot in South Carolina called the High Cotton Classic, Mullek said.
“Sporting clays are like golf, except with a shotgun,” according to the group’s website coastalclays.org. “Unlike the rigid structures of trap and skeet, sporting clays attempts to mimic actual field conditions with a series of natural and unique shooting stations connected along a course trail.”
At each station, shooters attempt to shoot clay targets simulating game bird shooting, with a couple of bouncing rabbit targets. Groups of four tour the course and at each station, take turns shooting at a set number of targets, usually six or eight per person per station. Each target counts for one point and the shooter with the most points wins.
In 2017, several members of the group traveled to Chester, South Carolina, to take part in the shoot.
Upon return, Mullek set up a course on his farm in Rosinton that includes 15 stations with a total of 100 targets. This year, a flurry station was added, with multiple targets going at once, requiring all four shooters to go at the same time, adding a total of 40 targets on one station.
“We set a goal to raise $1 million for Catholic schools,” Mullek said. The money raised benefits St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope and its three feeder schools, St. Patrick School in Robertsdale, St. Benedict School in Elberta and Christ the King in Daphne.
One of the unique features of the event is its trapper program, Mullek said, which employs youth ages 14 to 18, basically eighth grade through seniors, from local Catholic and public schools.
While the course in South Carolina employs automated machines, the Coastal Clays course only uses manual machines, each shooting two clays per station.
Trappers receive training and are responsible for running each station, from deploying the clays, to scoring, to making sure each team follows all safety guidelines.
“They serve as ambassadors for the event,” Mullek said. “The adults leading the event may not get to meet every participant at the event, but the trappers will. It’s their job to make sure everyone has a safe, enjoyable experience.”
A week before the event each year, trappers gather at the farm, Mullek said, starting the day with Mass.
“Everything we do has a religious component to it,” he said. “We hope to use this event to help guide our young men to become leaders and men of Christ.”
A total of 45 trappers signed up to participate in this year’s event, most of whom participated in the pre-event festivities on Saturday, March 20.
Following Mass, Tony Landenwich of Southern Defensive Firearms Training gave a tutorial on the types of guns which will be utilized during the event, how to load and unload each type of gun and the proper way to carry and rest each gun.
The group then split up into teams of four for an opportunity to run the course with at least one adult supervising each team.
“The success of our event really depends on the success of the trapper program,” Mullek said. “It’s been a great opportunity for us to be able to teach these boys stewardship and doing things the right way, God’s way.”
The first shoot was held in August of 2018 with a total of 17 teams. After the first event raised $20,000, the following year the event was moved to February and drew 20 teams, Mullek said.
“We then decided to move the event to the first Saturday in April, unless that Saturday fell the day before Easter, in which case it would be held the Saturday before,” Mullek said.
They were all set to hold last year’s event on April 4, when the COVID-19 outbreak pushed the event back to June, drawing 22 teams and making about $40,000. So far the group has raised approximately $100,000 of its $1 million goal and looks to make even more this year, Mullek said.
Since Easter this year falls on the first Sunday of April, this year’s event was moved back a week to March 27, Mullek said.
“For the first time this year, we’ve sold out with a total of 30 teams participating,” Mullek said.
If you would like more information on this and future events, visit coastalclays.org.