Even a damp and chilly Saturday morning – at least by Southwest Florida standards – did not deter the hearty participants in the annual Bill Rose Memorial Sporting Clays Classic.
About 60 shooters, divided into teams, turned out on a recent Saturday at Gulf Coast Clays, in Port of the Islands, for the fifth incarnation of the Classic, which now has a new name, “Clays For Rays in Memory of Bill Rose.” By any name, the event serves as a fundraiser for the Marco Island Academy (MIA) and involves each squad competing to see which is more proficient at hitting flying clay pigeon targets at multiple stations arrayed over a laid-out course.
There were 16, four-to-five-member teams that took part in the shootout, competing to see which squad is more proficient at hitting flying clay pigeon targets at multiple stations arrayed over a laid-out course.
As with previous years, the event included a luncheon for participants, music, and silent and live auctions. And when the smoke cleared, roughly $60,000 was raised, all of it going to MIA’s Student Success Fund, said Jane Watt, MIA’s founder and board chairman. She said the school works year-round to build up the fund.
“Basically, the amount we receive from the district, per-student, is about $6,000 or so, and the amount that we need to educate each child is about $9,300,” explained Watt. “We have to make up that deficit, which ends up being about $3,000 for each student.”
The day began with uncertainty.
“It was pretty much a torrential downpour in the morning when I got up and I was worried that people were going to cancel,” said Watt. “When I got to the venue I couldn’t believe it. I think we had only one team that cancelled, out of 15. That was pretty remarkable, all things considered. And everyone’s attitude was positive. It was almost like they didn’t notice the rain.”
It was as if the heavens hit the rain “off switch” so that the Classic could take place.
“The entire time people were out for the shoot, there was no rain and then when everyone returned to the tent for lunch and the awards and some of the students spoke, it started pouring again,” said Watt. “We were so fortunate. The event was awesome. It just goes to show that rain or shine, the Bill Rose Memorial Sporting Clays still goes on. Our kids greatly benefit from it and we’re very fortunate to have such a great community that helps.”
As always, the event was hosted by its founder, Terry McCreanor of Ameriprise Financial Services’ Marco office, in partnership with the school. He was a close friend of the event’s namesake, the late Bill Rose. Rose was a Marco resident, successful businessman – he founded Rose Marina – philanthropist, avid boater and flier, and former U.S. Marine, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 83.
This year, the squad representing the Marco Island Police Department bested the team from the city’s Fire-Rescue department. The other victors were:
The “Elite Flight” Winner
- Jim Marr
- Ed Coyne
- Bert Baumgartner
The “Regular Flight” Winner
- George Powell
- Nick Bailey
- Steve Jenks
- Doug House
- Joseph Krepel