Sporting Clays on the rise as U.S. Open comes to Georgetown

Sporting clays on the rise

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, SC is the site of the 2013 Sporting Clays U.S. Open Championship May 13-19.

The event is the second biggest Sporting Clays event, only behind the Nationals which is held every year in San Antonio, TX.

Competitors and organizers at the U.S. Open believe the sport is on the rise because almost everyone is physically capable of doing it, kind of like golf or bowling.

"It's really starting to turn into a family game," said Robert Crow, Director of the National Sporting Clays Association. "We've got over 600 clubs nation-wide currently and we see that number increasing each year."

"Probably has something to do with the fact that baby boomers are retiring at a rate of about 10,000 a day, and it is right up their ally," said Rollins Brown, a competitor from Vero Beach, FL. "It's very similar to golf but its probably a little more exciting."

Not only does the chance to compete against the best shooters from around the world draws people to the U.S. Open, but so does the friendships people make at the tournament.

"Yeah, I hope to do well in Master Class, and the beyond that, its hanging out with people that we see a few times a year that are friends," said Rollins.

"Saturday evening it's pretty intense," said Crow "Everyone is looking at the boards not only for the top shooters, but also each of the concurrent, different age groups, the ladies.

The U.S. Open is in South Carolina for the first time ever, definitely something Back Woods Quail Club owner Rick Hemingway is pumped about. Especially since his club got it on the first attempt at bidding for the event.

"It's kind of like the golf industry. If you took Pawleys Island area, there are tons of golf courses and they all know each other. But if one just popped up out of the blue and decided they wanted to have the U.S. Open golf championship it would be stunning because no one would think they could handle it," explains Hemingway. "That kind of what I've been able to do here in South Carolina.

The U.S. Open in Georgetown is a spectacle. Over 1,000 competitors will be in town competing in up to 10 different events throughout the week spread out over 500 acres of land, including the main event this weekend.

Then you have the spectators and vendors from all over the country.

"Its really unique and if you are an outdoorsman, this is the place to be this weekend," said Crow."

"My objective is to have all 1,100 competitors, 100 plus vendors, not being able to wait to come back to South Carolina," said Hemingway.

Hemingway says this is only the second time the Sporting Clays U.S. Open has been held in a state south of Virginia since it began 20 years ago. The other time was in Georgia in 1999.

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