This was no ordinary shoot and certainly it was unlike most fundraisers. On September 13 – 14, The Second National Disability Awareness Shoot was held in Lehigh Valley, PA. Like most fundraisers, this was intended to raise money and in this case, funds were being raised to support The NRA Foundation’s Disabled Shooting Services Endowment. It is a great cause that we truly believe:
Many of us never think twice about enjoying the outdoors — hunting and shooting with friends and family. It’s where so many of our greatest memories and strongest bonds are formed. But for more than 4,000,000 disabled veterans and first responders, and more than 36,000,000 physically disabled Americans, such simple pleasures can often seem beyond reach. Through new education and training programs, we can help them overcome.
But this event was different as participants got much, much than they bargained for –
The event started at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays with open shooting for event participants – shotguns & shells were provided. Then there was a Disabled shooting clinic for first time shooters – a great intro to the sport and something that was found to be very empowering for new entrants to the sport.
The reception & dinner was held at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in nearby Macungie, PA. Think about a great party with like-minded sporting men & women. This took place on Sunday – not sure if anyone even asked about the score a football game as everyone was so actively engaged in the evening. Drinks were flowing as quickly as the oysters were shucked. Our friends from Krieghoff, Griffin & Howe, Holland & Holland, Elite Shotguns and Breda had some of their finest guns on display and would be joining us for dinner and throughout the evening. They were as much participants in the event as they were exhibitors.
There is something special about these guns and you realize that as you are holding them. This is where the practical gun transcends function and becomes art. Hand engraving, special inlays and superior grade wood stocks. The graceful lines, perfect balance, fit, and finish. As we were holding these guns it was hard to believe that we would be shooting these same guns the next day.
An interesting thing, but the Crushable Vault was on display. It was at this event two years ago that the company for the Crushable Vault was formed. You see, with such a fine gathering of shooters it became obvious to a few observant people that there was a lot of special guns sitting out in the parking lot in the back of SUV’s and pickups – protected by nothing more than a closed window and a blanket. This was a real concern, but something great always happens when you bring good people together and in this case, The Crushable Vault was born. The Crushable Vault just announced that they are planning to contribute $25,000 from product sales over the next year to support The NRA Foundation’s Disabled Shooting Services Endowment.
The reception ended too soon but the dinner could not have started soon enough. The white wine was donated by the Trump Winery and the red by Brother Elmo’s. Great compliments to the menu. All the food was served family style, so you were welcome to take as much as you liked. That’s what happens when you have the chef on the planning committee! As a tribute the Master Chef Don Luisi, here is a glimpse of the menu:
- Beach Point Oysters
- Perona Farms Smoked Salmon
- Gourmet Cheeses & Garden Crudite
Before You at the Table
- Chopped Salad lightly dressed
- All the sides! Blue & Feta Cheese, Bacon, Candied Nuts & Anchovies
- Soft Cheese, Grilled Long Hots & Garlic Confit, Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, Butter, Dipping Oils,
- Artisanal Breads, Flat Bread and Sticks
First Courses Served
- Ugly Ripe Tomatoes and Mozzarella
- Old World Charcuterie Plate
- Cajun Roasted Shrimp
- Grilled Eggplant
- Clams Oreganata and Oysters Casino
It’s Pasta Time!
- Penne Vodka Sausage Cream & Penne Marinara
- Lemon Sorbet
Main Course Family Style
- Compliments of Certified Angus Beef® – Prime Certified Angus Beef ® NY Strip Steak
- Roasted Maine Lobsters (Stuffed with Verjus Lobster and Crab Stuffing Steamed Asparagus
- Truffle Yukon Gold Mashed
- (Compliments of The Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh, PA)
- Hazelnut Bourbon Tart
- Blackberries, Inaya Whipped Ganache, Salted Caramel Sauce,
- Milk Chocolate Garniture
The dinner exceeded expectations and as it ended, a private concert was offered instead of long speeches. The Casey Donahew Band not only performed a slew of their top songs, but gave everyone a copy of their CD Standoff. They then joined us on the deck for Scotch & Cigars afterwards.
The silent auction was something to see and it reflected the generosity & spirit of both the donors as well as the attendees.
Morning came too quickly but we couldn’t wait for the Monday shoot to start. Following the Fine Arms Invitational format, guests were to bring their guns and ammo was provided. But a number of the sporting clays stations were actually hosted by some of the finest shotgun companies in the world. Here is a glimpse of what we experienced:
Station Hosts & Featured Shotguns
- DT11 Sporting
- 692 Sporting
- 686 Silver Pigeon
- A400 Excel
Breda & Marocchi
- Breda Xanthos
- Breda Xanthos Gold
- Breda Xanthos Damasco
- Breda Grizzly Supermagnum
- Marocchi Finn 612S
- Marocchi Super SJ
- Marocchi SI 12
- Marocchi SI 20
Holland & Holland
- Holland & Holland Royal
- Holland & Holland Sporting
- Kolar Max Lite Sporting
- Zoli Z Sport
Caesar Guerini / Fabarm / Syren
- Fabarm Axis RS12
- Syren Tempio
- Syren XLR5 Sporting
- Syren Elos Venti
- Invictus Sporting
- Invictus Ascent
- Invictus Trap
Griffin & Howe
- Rizzini Fierce I
- Blaser F3 Sporting Standard
- Anderson Wheeler BLE 28g
- Griffin & Howe RBGG Extra Finish AO
- The Essencia
It was a great day of shooting, but an emotional one. Most of us fell in love more than once and some of us could not take our hands off these guns. Companies were deliberately chosen at very different price points so participants could experience the best options for their particular budget & need.
The course flowed perfectly – no easy feat with this type of event. We shot the first part of the course before stopping for lunch. Scratch that – it was really another feast. This time Don Luisi called in Celebrity Chef David Britton’s “Pies-On-Wheels” food truck and the menu was incredible:
Giant Kale Caesar Salad | Toasted Parmesan Cheese | Roasted Garlic Dressing
Wood Fired Pizza
Chef’s choice toppings to include yet not limited to: fresh mozzarella, Ricotta, basil, Artichokes, Eggplant, fennel sausage, pepperoni, bacon, onions, wood roasted mushrooms, baby spinach and shaved zucchini.
Wood Fired Wagon
Roasted Chicken Wings with “Pies on Wheels” custom rubs & wing sauces
Spit Roasted Meat Balls
Rope Sausage – Sweet & Spicy
A masterpiece of shellfish & Saffron Rice
As lunch concluded we headed back out onto the course. It was a beautiful fall day with some nice gusts of wind, so the targets flew with some added challenge. Truth be told, although we shot more than our fair share the day ended too quickly. There were still some models I wanted to try and compare. It came down to some tough choices – try your dream gun, shoot the high-post rib or maybe dally with the one of the sub-gauge variants! Alas, it was time to go home. But don’t feel too bad if we did not get to try every model as we are already beginning to work on next year’s event!
(Brian is a Senior Partner at Rockwood Wealth Management as well as the founder Stack Arms, LLC – the company that brings you the Crushable Vault. He is also the President of the Union League of Philadelphia’s Rod & Gun Club and the originator of the Fine Arms Invitational, the event that the NDAS Monday shoot is based. He is delighted to be a part of the Planning & Host Committee for the NDAS.)
If you missed this years event, check out pictures here!