Women embrace competitive shooting at Elks Lodge
STEVENSVILLE — The first event of it’s kind for Kent Island Elks Lodge 2576 was hosted Saturday, April 3. Debuting the “Ladies Turkey Shoot”, the event was held behind the lodge in Stevensville, on the longtime shooting range. Twenty-seven women participated, shooting for cash prizes during each of the 16 individual rounds of competition. All of the ladies used 12-gauge shotguns, shooting at small paper targets that were posted across the shooting range.
Turkey Shoot coordinator Jimmy Cox, with a big assist from
Elks member Nikki Randolph, said, “The ladies turkey shoot was a huge success.” Cox credited Brittany Steele with the idea of the all-Ladies shoot. Brittany and her husband, Rusty, both grew-up on Kent Island, and both graduated from Kent Island High School. Rusty, Class of 2004, Brittany, Class of 2007.
“Every Sunday afternoon, we’d come up to see the men shoot. It looked like a lot of fun, and we (women) wanted in on the fun! We’re hoping this will become at least a monthly event for the ladies,” said Brittany.
The KI Elks, have been hosting “Turkey Shoots” for well over 30-years at the lodge. One of a number of outdoor events that have been taking place their since the lodge was founded more than 43-years ago. The Turkey Shoots were originally all-male events. However, starting a few years ago, women members starting joining in the Sunday afternoon shoots, competing with the men.
The national Elks organization was founded across the U.S. just over 150-years ago. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE), as it is officially known, was created as a private fraternal organization with each lodge’s mission being to provide support to their local communities, as needed. It began as an all-male organization, with a ladies auxiliary for the wives of the men. About 20-years ago, the constitution of the Elks was changed to provide that men and women could become equal members of their lodges. In that time period, all elected offices in Elks lodges have been held by men and women members.
All events and programs at lodges across the U.S. are open to both men and women Elks members. At Lodge 2576, their are numerous sports and games offered, including; an adult horseshoe, corn hole and shuffleboard leagues. In addition to these activities, the KI Elks have an active membership of well over 750 members, and continues to grow. Lodge 2576 has raised funds donated to local 501(c)3 charities, resulting in contributions totaling more than $6.1 million back to the community since the lodge was founded.
There are also a number of children’s events that the lodge also sponsors, including; a longtime Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Girls Troop, a Girl Scout Troop, donations to both the local Queen Anne’s County 4-H program, and longtime sponsor of the Kent Island Federation of Arts annual “Children’s Showcase”, to mention a few.
If you are interested in learning more about the local Elks lodge, and are interested in being involved in strengthening the local community, call the lodge at 410643-2221.