The mix of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, shooting and Olympic fever proved to be a great combination this past weekend in support of the USA Shooting Team. The Shoot for Gold Fundraiser, held June 15-16, helped raise over $100,000 in support of the USA Shooting Team and the final preparations for London.

Conversations which began simply enough as a shooting opportunity to give back to employees and contractors spiraled into one of the top USA Shooting fundraisers in many years. Brett Creeser, a drilling superintendent with Pioneer Natural Resources, began the discussion earlier this spring with former USA Shooting National Team member Dwayne Weger, who will serve as the U.S. Olympic Team Leader for Shooting for the second consecutive Games. The two quickly spawned an idea to get greater involvement both locally and nationally and create an extensive fundraising opportunity for the USA Shooting Team that would be fulfilling to all shooting sports enthusiasts.

Pioneer Natural Resources, the independent exploration and production company, based in Irving, Texas, alongside Fayez Sarofim & Co., formed the foundation of support that by events end would include many local companies. The Sporting Clays Fundraiser event featured six 2012 Olympians, including three Olympic medalists, as well as two other USA Shooting athletes.

Josh Richmond provides shotgun shooting tips to Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Colleen Meghan during the squad’s spirited team shooting competition.

Athletes participating in the fundraiser included 2012 Olympians Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.), Glenn Eller (USAMU/Katy, Texas), Vincent Hancock (USAMU/Eatonton, Ga.), Daryl Szarenski (WCAP/Seale, Ala.) and Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pa.) along with USA Shooting athletes Mark Weeks (shotgun/Clinton Township, Mich.), Amy Sowash (rifle/Richland, Ky.) and long-time National Team member Haley Dunn.

“You simply can’t say enough about the support given to USA Shooting by the people attending the Shoot for Gold fundraiser,” said Robert Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer for USA Shooting. “The interest shown in our team and the willingness to support our programs was overwhelming. We also recognize the enormous efforts and contributions made on behalf of our organization by Pioneer Natural Resources, Fayez Sarofim & Co., the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and all the other sponsors, donors and supporters.”

Sponsors and contributors got the opportunity to meet and shoot with Olympic athletes at the event and during the auction dinner on Friday night at the WillaWalla Creek Shooting Center in Saint Jo, Texas. Special guests for the evening included 12 members of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, who participated in a day-long shooting competition for their CMT show Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. The episode of the show featuring USA Shooting athletes instructing the cheerleaders on how to shoot and then supporting them in a team competition will air during season seven later this fall on CMT. Later that evening, the cheerleaders signed autographs and performed a dance routine on the bunker to the delight of all in attendance.

National Team Rifle athlete Amy Sowash gives an overview of rifle fundamentals to a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader hopeful during the Shoot for Gold Fundraiser.

“We are known throughout the world,” said Meagan McVay, one of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders in attendance. “But these guys [the shooters] are the real superstars. They are the best at what they do and it was truly an honor to be with them and see what they do.”

On Saturday, event participants competed in a 100-bird Sporting Clays shoot at the Fossil Pointe Sporting Grounds in Slidell, Texas. USA Shooting athletes participating were auctioned off prior to the day’s festivities to join the highest bidding team in support of the event.

Images courtesy of Lynne Green/GreenGirl Photos

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