Entrants in skeet shooting event support breast cancer research

Section: Capital Region,  Page: B1

Date: Monday, March 21, 2011

SARATOGA -- There are walks dedicated to raising money for breast cancer research along with canoeing events and motorcycle tours designed to give survivors and their loved ones something tangible to do in the fight against the disease.

Robert Guay, the owner of the Alcove Marina & Pub, sought a more literal message. He organized a trap shoot in the name of breast cancer research called "Take a Shot for Breast Cancer."

Sheila Jweid-Webber, who will count five years free of cancer this summer, was ready to take him up on the offer.

"I'll picture a drawing of my tumor on the bird," she said.

The fundraiser is in its fifth year. It drew 54 shooters Sunday and raised $1,600. Over the course of five years, Guay has sent more than $8,000 to the American Cancer Society. The money is earmarked for breast cancer research.

The shooters lined up in the slush along the Hudson River to wait for their turn to take aim at clay disks -- called birds -- about the size of tea saucers. Ice on the river was still thick enough to hold fishermen a few hundred yards away, but warm sun made for a nice day to be outside on the first day of spring. At a word from the shooter, "pull," the men working the traps hit a switch and a pink disk flew out of the trap into the air over the river. The goal for every trap shooter is to hit 25 out of 25 birds, explained Maureen Watson, from Waterford.

Husbands, wives, old friends, fathers and sons dressed in a mixture of pink and camouflage. The youngest shooter was 12-year-old Thomas Sperry from Waterford. Watson, whose grandmother died of breast cancer in the late 1990s, had her bangs colored pink for the occasion. Watson said she grew up in a family of shooters and hunters and raised her children to know how to handle guns.

"People who grow up around guns have better respect for them," she said.

Janet Buckmiller, another experienced shooter, had a breast cancer scare when she was 20. The lumps her doctor found turned out to be benign, but she has been dedicated to prevention in the 20 years since. She is also dedicated to gun safety and promoting shooting sports as a safe, family activity.

"You have to know your target and beyond," she said.

Reach Hornbeck at 454-5352 or by e-mail at lhornbeck@timesunion.com.