Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood was the only city leader to come for what was supposed to be the third annual “shoot off” between mayors of Acworth and Kennesaw, part of the Turkey Shoot fundraiser. The failure of a Kennesaw official to participate raised questions about whether Kennesaw had lost its fondness for firearms, since Kennesaw once notably passed a law requiring residents to own a gun.
But the lack of a Kennesaw official didn’t stop the contest from continuing. Allegood fired his 20-gauge shotgun against Ron Asby, commander of American Legion North Cobb Post 304, who stood in for Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews. After organizers took out rulers, they determined that Asby narrowly regained the winning plaque, which has a plate with a turkey painted in the center of it, for the city of Kennesaw.
“We’re going to concede today,” Allegood said.
But the contest is all in good fun, part of the Turkey Shoot, which Post 304 puts on to raise money for the Allatoona High School Precision Air Rifle team. Mathews has attended the event in the past, winning the first shoot off for his city in 2010, before falling to Allegood last year. Allegood said Mathews was out of town, and no other representative from Kennesaw could make it this year.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with this down through the years,” Allegood said.
The event brought in just over $1,600 for the air rifle team over two days, Nov. 12 and Saturday, coach Kirk Ware said. Of the nine high school air rifle teams in Cobb County, Allatoona is the only school to have a team not affiliated with its junior ROTC program.
Up to 12 people at a time pay $5 each and fire at paper targets located 60 feet away. The participant who get s a pellet closest to the crossing of the X drawn on their target wins a free turkey.
“That way anybody can win,” Ware said. “The skill factor has been cut down dramatically.”
The Allatoona rifle team has several fundraisers each year, including a plant sale at the Southland Greenhouse next door to the shooting range where the Turkey Shoot was held, located on Cobb Parkway at Third Army Road just south of the Bartow County line, Ware said. With the 10 meter air rifles the eight-member team uses costing $2,000 apiece, it can be an expensive sport.
“You don’t see as many turkey shoots as you used to,” Ware said. “People like them, and it’s a good PR thing.”
The Allatoona rifle team, the only coed team in Cobb, consists of four boys and four girls, Ware said. He said the girls are actually the best shooters.
Freshman Alana Kelly said the sport allows for an even playing field between the boys and girls.
“It’s really cool when I can go to a match and see the other young women who shoot, and know that I can be just as good as they are,” said Kelly, 14. “I can be just as good as the guys.”
Kelly admits that when she first heard of the Turkey Shoot, she thought contestants actually shot a turkey.
“It’s a really great idea for a fundraiser,” she said after leaning that people actually shoot at targets. “I’ve seen a lot of people come in today.”