This summer, life is not a picnic for some watermelons, coconuts, lemons and cherry tomatoes. On a ranch near Runge, fruit fare will become fair game at the 4th annual Fruit Salad Shoot June 7-8.
The fundraiser will begin at 6:30 p.m. June 7 with a traditional barbecue banquet dinner, keg beer, wine and other beverages. June 8 will start with taquitos at 8 a.m. and progress to pulled pork sandwiches for lunch.
While the event has reached its maximum number of shooters this year, those interested in observing and participating in the dining and social aspects can still purchase tickets.
The novel fundraiser, a long-range rifle fruit shoot, benefits critically ill children at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi and His Grace Foundation, which is associated with Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. The fruit shoots have raised more than $200,000 combined to date.
Each year, 60 to 70 marksman, eight at a time, take their aim at the fruit. From a firing line, they take out watermelons at 800 yards, coconuts at 400 yards, lemons at 200 yards and cherry tomatoes at 80 yards. First, second and third-place trophies are awarded, and shooters who work for law enforcement get their own trophy.
Another event, a .22-gauge rifle shoot, has both adult, age 18 and older, and youth, ages 12-17, divisions, and the guns and ammunition are provided.
The entry fee for the long-range rifle competition is $400 per shooter and includes a guest or spouse, $500 for husband-and-wife shooters, and $300 for law enforcement shooters. The .22-gauge rifle shoot is $50 for youth and $100 for adults. Spectators get in for $50.
"We want to make sure we can get through all the shooters before we run out of daylight," said Jeff Sellers, one of the event organizers. "Historically, about 125 to 150 people, including spectators and shooters, show up at the ranch."