There's nothing 'fowl' about the American Legion's 'Turkey Shoot'

By Rachel Robles | Jan 29, 2014
Photo by: Rachel Robles COMPARING SHOTS — Pictured from left are Mark Leopard, A.C. Henson and Bruce Marshall compare targets after the first round. The winner is the person who shoots closest to the bull's-eye. Pictured below is Jody Keller, winner of the first round of shooting.

The American Legion Post 47 of Waynesville hosts a Turkey Shoot each Saturday morning, in spite of the elements.

No, they aren’t shooting live turkeys; the “Turkey Shoot” got its name because winners were awarded a frozen turkey in the past.

“But it got too expensive,” said Phil Leopard.

Instead, the Legionnaires shoot buckshot into a series of paper targets mounted on posts in the baseball lot behind the American Legion building. It requires a permit from the city, which they have, though it has not deterred some people from complaining.

“Sometimes we’ll get runners up on the hill who don’t know [about the shoot],” said Mike Megrath, laughing. “And we’ll get the cops coming up here to investigate.”

“But there’s no need to warn those people,” Megrath said, referring to the graveyard on the hill behind the baseball lot. “They’re already dead.”

It costs $2 per round to participate. The winner is the person who manages to hit closest to the bull’s-eye and is awarded half the pot. The other half goes to the American Legion for supplies and to various charities.

“We started doing this, what, 15, 16 years ago,” said Leopard, looking at his brother, Mark, for confirmation.

“Half the money goes to any benefits, children’s Christmas … anything that needs to be taken care of,” said Mark Leopard. “Anything that comes up. This is the American Legion’s only fundraiser.”

The shoots take place at 9 a.m. every Saturday from October to April. When asked why the shoots weren’t year-round, Rick Strubeck responded with a wink, “To give the turkeys a break."

“Yeah, these turkeys,” someone said, to raucous laughter, referring to the members of Post 47.