By Chris Chaney
The sound of the gunshots echoing through the woods surrounding the Eastern Hills Rod, Gun and Conservation Club had a different sound on July 13 as more manicured fingers were pulling the trigger as part of the annual Sporting Women’s Event.
“The event started about 10 years ago,” EHRGCC president George Clark said. “The whole event is like a workshop to teach women all different outdoor activities. We have rifle, shotgun, archery, pistols, canning, copper wire jewelry, Dutch Oven cooking, first aid, fly fishing, fossil hunting, gold panning, golf, hand guns, kayaks and canoes, self defense, trap shooting; a little bit of everything.
“The whole point of this whole thing is to get women out of the house and into the outdoors and learn how to do these different outdoor activities.”
The EHGRCC has been putting on the event for close to 10 years now and has come to enjoy a solid turnout year after year. The Sporting Women Event is an all-day affair, running from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interested women sign up in advance of the workshop by filling out a brochure that asks them to rank the top-10 classes that they would be interested in learning more about.
From there, the EHGRCC does their best to acquiesce to each attendee’s preferences and assigns them an itinerary for the day.
“The ladies get to take four events for the day and each class is an hour and a half,” Clark said. “We feed them breakfast in the morning and give them lunch and they have drinks throughout the day.”
The entire event is split into two halves around the provided lunch, which is prepared and served by an army of volunteers, some of who also participate in the teaching of some of the classes. The goal of the day-long event is spelled out in the EHGRCC’s S.H.A.R.E. policy: S – share knowledge; H – have fun; A – assist others; R – reach out; E – expand skills.
For just $40 per person, the women attending the Sporting Women’s get expert instruction from some of the area’s premier minds in each of the different fields.
“Each event teacher are people who do these things,” Clark said. “For example, for the kayaking course, there’s a kayaking club (the Cincy Paddlers) that put on the course. For handguns, we have teachers here at the club who do that teaching. Self defense is taught by self-defense artist, Don MacFarland of Eastgate Martial Arts.”
Other experts who lent their time and equipment to the event include Jeff Jones, owner of Indian Archery, Summer Rackley, a yoga and Zumba instructor, Melissa Yeazell, a PGA Teaching Professional at Meadow Links Golf Academy, Nancy Cooper, a wire jeweler, as well as various EHGRCC members such as Chuck Burdsall, Doak Grant, Kim Tarvin, Don Volkmar and Jim Nelson.
Of the 20 different course options provided at the Sporting Women event, many are recurring annually given their popularity among patrons, but there are some that experience some turnover.
“We started out with about 40 women the first year and then it grew to 70 or 80 and now we round off around 100,” Clark said. “Most of the women are repeats, probably about 75-percent. We try to drop three classes a year and bring in three new ones. That way we try to give the women something different to choose from.”
The attendees come from all different walks of life and areas of the tri-state. Clark said they have many women come from Clermont County, but also attract outdoorswomen from as far away Lexington and Dayton. The minimum age is 14 and there is no maximum.
Clark was quick to point out that the event wouldn’t be what it was without their major sponsors, which include Dick’s Sporting Goods, One Shot Gun Shop, Betty Krieghoff, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Beechmont Toyota’s Truck Division.
For more information on the Eastern Hills Gun, Rod and Conservation Club and the Sporting Women Event, log on to their website at sportingwomen.org.