It might be cliché to call the Putnam County Gun Club’s Youth Day a “bang-up time,” but it wouldn’t be wrong.
The event, held every year on the third Saturday in September, is a chance for young people to try their hand at shooting sports. Bill Shank, one of the event’s coordinators, said participants will have plenty of choices.
“There will be BB-gun shooting, air-rifle [pellet] shooting, .22 rifle shooting, shotgun shooting, cowboy action shooting and blackpowder shooting,” he said. “We’ll even have clay pigeons laid on a tarp so kids can shoot marbles at them with slingshots.”
This year’s edition of Youth Day is scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Putnam County Gun Club, located in Eleanor’s City Park. Shank sums the event up in six words.
“It’s just a fun outdoor day,” he said.
As many as 372 youngsters have shown up for past events, but Shank said the number usually ranges between 250 and 300.
Children of any age may attend, and Shank said youngsters as young as age 4 can participate in BB gun and air rifle. The cutoff for .22 rifle and other full-fledged firearm activities is age 10, but Shank said 8- and 9-year-olds will be allowed to shoot .22s at times when the firing line is not filled with older shooters.
“The bottom line is that everybody gets to shoot,” he added.
Shooting activities are the event’s primary focus, but not the only one. Shank said there will also be a fishing-rod casting contest and a lifesaver-ring toss contest.
Each participant will get a commemorative T-shirt and a “goodie bag.” Admission is $6 per person, which Shank said helps to defray some of the event’s expenses “but doesn’t really even cover the cost of the T-shirt.”
Hot dogs, chips, soft drinks, cookies and other concessions will be available on the grounds. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. The event will begin at 9 a.m. and will end at 4 p.m.