Creek Hunt Club
shoots for national fame
club to play host to U.S. Open
Sporting Clay National Championship
Helen E. McKinney
OWENTON, Ky. (June 2009) The fourth time was
the charm for Curtis Sigretto. After making four bids to play host to
the U.S. Open Sporting Clay Championships, he was successful in landing
the national competition at his Elk Creek Hunt Club and Sporting Clays
Resort in Owenton, Ky.
Kiddie serves as
director of the U.S.
Open Sporting Clays
at Elk Creek Hunt Club.
Entrepreneur and owner of Kentuckys largest winery,
Elk Creek Vineyards, Sigretto will now play host to an event that has
never been held in Kentucky, Ohio or Indiana to date. It was tough to
get, but well worth the wait.
The first attempt was made in 1999, said Sigretto, originally from New
Jersey. It was a big deal to get such a prestigious event.
This improves the chances of the Hunt Club playing host to the event
in the future, he said, since only a handful of sites are chosen for
While Sigretto is not a competitive shooter, he said he is excited about
the event. The community seems to be embracing the event,
To gain a spot as the host site for this competition, a panel visited
the Elk Creek Hunt Club and surveyed the property, Sigretto said. A
major factor was the past performance of other large events held
at the Hunt Club. Sigretto has accommodated crowds of 500 shooters
at past events.
Were expecting between 1,000 and 1,200 shooters, plus family
members and guests, said Gary Kathman, Elk Creek Hunt Clubs
manager. The event is hosted by the National Sporting Clays Association
and is the sports second largest annual competition. The largest
competition is the National Championship, always held at the associations
San Antonio headquarters.
So far, shooters have registered from every state in the country, including
10 shooters from Alaska, said Kathman. Quite a few are traveling from
Canada, England and worldwide to take part in this prestigious shotgun
event, scheduled for June 23-28.
Mark Kiddie competes and shoots at the Hunt Club and has also aided
in putting the event together. Kiddie is a member of the U.S. Shooting
Team and a six-time All-American World Championship winner. He will
be competing in the All-American World Championship in Australia later
Born in Montana, Kiddie now resides in Cincinnati and said that Elk
Creek is in the heart of Kentucky. It has its own personality.
Kiddie said the entire sport of shooting clays is similar to golf, and
this competition similar to the U.S. Open in golf. In different
parts of the country, you experience different terrain. He believes
this makes it a challenging and widely appealing sport.
Anyone can enter the competition who is a member of the NSCA, from beginner
to professional. Clay targets simulate the flight of game birds and
are very sophisticated. The target presentations are way beyond
what a bird can do, said Kiddie.
from around the country will
descend on Elk Creek Hunt Club in June
to compete in the second largest sporting
clay shooting contest in the country.
Winning sporting clays competitions is all about shotgunning
a moving target, he said. Each participant has his or her own strategy
and its all about hand-eye coordination.
Elk Creek Hunt Club is a world class shooting facility, throwing more
than 1.5 million sporting clays targets annually. That places it among
the top-ranked clubs in the nation. Amenities include three separate
sporting clays courses that offer 45 newly remodeled and paved stations
on 35 shooting fields that can be shot as 50- or 100-target rounds and
several FITASC parcours.
FITASC stands for Federation Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives
de Chasse, which is the organization that governs Parcours de Chasse
Sporting, the game known in the states as FITASC. The National Sporting
Clays Association governs the games in the United States. Conceived
in the early 20th century in Spain and developed in France, the basic
concept of the discipline is simulation of live game shooting using
clay targets and shotguns.
A variety of target presentations on varied terrain is one factor that
Kathman believes makes Elk Creek Hunt Club stand out.
We have a lot of rolling hills, said Kathman. Many other
clubs in the United States that play host to the national championship
do not have the hills and lush valleys that provide presentations beneath
the feet or high overhead, he added.
Sporting clays is similar to skeet shooting, where clay discs are launched
into the air and shot. But unlike skeet shooting, which uses stationary
launchers, sporting clays shooters walk a course or ride golf carts
to 12 to 15 stations from which they shoot. Shooters will use shotguns
to compete throughout the week in several classes, shooting at targets
of five different sizes, each station being different from the others.
The competition will feature three courses.
by Don Ward
beautiful log cabin-styled lodge
and sport shop sits high above the
vineyards and shooting ranges. The club
is the site of the U.S. Nationals in June.
Elk Creek Hunt Club & Resort hosts many different
events throughout the year. We get new customers every week,
said Kathman. People will often stop by if they are traveling
through the area. Kathman has had visitors from all over the continental
Kathman has been manager of the Hunt Club since 2001. A native of Kenton
County, Ky., he said, I used to come down here and shoot a lot
and became friends with Curtis and Chris Koziol.
Sigretto and his business partner, Koziol, in 1995 purchased the farm
on which Hunt Club sits. We originally bought it to hunt on,
said Sigretto, who had previously lived in Ashville, N.C. Before long,
a sporting-clays shooting range was added. The Elk Creek Winery opened
in 2003 and produces 24 wines from 20 types of grapes.
Sigretto also operates full wine stores in Louisville, Lexington and
Florence, said Frank Downing, executive director of the Owen County
Chamber of Commerce. The winery has more acres of grapes than
any other in Kentucky.
Because of the winery and the sporting clays championship, Many
people in the state have found Owen County for the first time,
said Downing. The Chamber is planning other events of interest geared
toward family members and friends of the shooters while the competition
is being held.
An historic homes tour is being planned. It includes the
152-year-old Owen County Courthouse. A Farmers Market is held
each Friday of the month, and Arts in the Park is scheduled for June
27 in Owenton. At the competition a Rotary Club Breakfast will be available,
the local homemakers club will be handing out brochures about the National
Barn Quilt Project, and the Chamber will have a booth from which they
will distribute brochures and information about the county and tourism
The combination of all these events is really putting Owen County
on the Tourism map, said Downing.
Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith said she believes the sporting
clays competition will have a very positive impact on Owen County. It
will bring in business for local vendors, she said. It is
an opportunity to present our little rural community to the public.
Keith said that even though Owen County lies in the Golden Triangle
(between I-75, I-71 and I-64), it has sort of been isolated to
a degree. Such a rural area is limited in accommodations for overnight
stays, and visitors must seek rooms in adjoining counties, which impacts
the fringes of the county as well, she said.
But the rural environment is one that can be enjoyed and is also an
advantage for the county, said Keith. The winery plays host to summer
concerts and special events and, along with the hunt club, is a nice
spot for locals to enjoy in addition to providing jobs within the county.
Many residents have relocated to the area after retiring, and Keith
said calls have even come in from individuals wanting to purchase property
near the Hunt Club for vacation homes.
An additional summer event will be a preliminary Pro-Am event that has
been sponsored by the Hunt Club for the last decade. This years
dates are June 3-4 and through this event, We raise a lot of money
for childrens hospitals, said Kathman.
The Boomer Esiason Sporting Clays Pro-Am and World FITASC Challenge
is a unique charity fundraiser that carries the mission of finding a
cure for cystic fibrosis.
For more information on the Elk Creek Hunt
Club or the U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship, contact the Elk Creek
Hunt Club at (502) 484-4569 or visit: www.ElkCreekHuntClub.com.
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