It was a picture-perfect spring day in Dallas, Texas for the third annual Boot’n & Shoot’n event at the Dallas Gun Club. Sixty teams of four plus countless supporters gathered to enjoy the day of shooting sporting clays, a raffle, live auction and concert featuring Texas country legend Charlie Robison, and the Boot Campaign was thrilled to be part of the action once again. The all-day affair was presented by lead sponsor Benchmark Mortgage, R.E. Cupp Construction, Mercury One, Sam Pack Ford and QSLWM and was catered by Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. Through team registrations, raffle and auction proceeds, merchandise sales and individual and corporate donations, more than $370,000+ was raised to support Boot Campaign’s mission!
Six military heroes accompanied Boot Campaign staffers to the event this year: Tom Trotter, James Sides, Dave Lyon, Andrew Bottrell, Mark Little and Johnny Morris were our special guests, treated to a full weekend of Texas-sized entertainment. Boot Campaign celebrity supporter and Olympic rifle shooter Amanda Furrer joined the crew for the weekend as well, attending Boot’n & Shoot’n and the following day’s activities to get to know more about the Boot Campaign.
The day began with the expert hospitality of Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, who provided coffee and breakfast for the crowd, followed by a warm welcome and safety briefing from Benchmark Mortgage CEO Stewart Hunter. Each of Boot Campaign’s veteran guests were placed on a team with Boot’n & Shoot’n participants, and new friend Amanda Furrer traveled the course with the Boot Campaign to visit with supporters and check out the shooting stations. The merchandise booth stayed busy all morning outfitting participants and spectators in boots and Boot Campaign apparel. The number of boots on the ground was truly inspiring.
By midday, all teams had completed the three different courses and made their way back to the main event area where Babe’s served a true Texas lunch. That fried chicken and catfish sure was tasty after a full morning of shootin’! During the afternoon announcements and presentations, special guest Taya Kyle spoke to the crowd about her recent experience on the “Patriot Tour” with Marcus Luttrell and her ever-growing dedication to our nation’s military families. After her inspiring speech, she paused for a bit to chat with guests and sign copies of her late husband Chris Kyle’s book “American Sniper.”
Boot’n & Shoot’n also featured a celebration of the Boot Campaign’s second recipient of a “Heroes into Homeowners” grant, Dave Lyon, USMC (Ret), who received $20,000 to support his journey to forever homeownership. The grant is a direct result of the efforts of Operation Home Giveaway, a fundraising campaign conducted by Benchmark Mortgage. Looking forward to starting the home-buying process soon, Dave plans to find a place in the San Diego, Calif. area complete with a yard for his son and his service dog Stanley. Dave continued, “Boot Campaign is an incredible organization that has somehow stumbled upon the correct formula of assistance, opportunity and embrace that allows veterans like me to open the eyes of others as well as broaden our horizons on what it takes to move forward.” Partnerships with our like-minded sponsors give wings to programs like Heroes into Homeowners, and we are very grateful!
On-hand for the presentation was last year’s Operation Home Giveaway recipient SSgt Joey Jones, USMC EOD (Ret), who went on to join the Boot Campaign staff in 2013. Joey accompanied the group of veteran guests throughout their weekend in Texas, providing his unique perspective as both a Boot Campaign beneficiary and Hero Ambassador.
Shortly thereafter the raffle was called, with several lucky attendees winning a Toby Keith autographed guitar, a Boot Campaign-branded Sig MK25 pistol, dinner with the governor and first lady of Texas and a fully decked-out four-person utility vehicle (UTV). In true American spirit, several items, including the UTV, were donated to the live auction, and the frenzied bidding caused quite a stir among the crowd – bids flew at lightning speed as guests tried to win their favorite prizes and the auctioneers worked overtime for the Boot Campaign.
As the sun was high over Dallas, Texas legend Charlie Robison took the stage for an hour or two of boot scootin’ country tunes – combat boots, that is! Robison belted out tracks from his latest album “Beautiful Day” as well as longtime favorites including “Barlight” from 1998’s “Life of the Party.” It was awful warm out there, and the crowd was mighty grateful the band sang on in the sweltering heat. Robison’s high-energy show marked the end of another successful Boot’n & Shoot’n event.
James Sides, one of the veteran guests joining the Boot Campaign for Boot’n & Shoot’n, shared, “The event was spectacular and I met a lot of amazing people eager to just hang out and talk with veterans. I hope to do many more Boot Campaign functions and fully support them! The Boot Campaign is an amazing organization and I’m so proud to participate with them.”
The Boot Campaign is honored to have been a part of this year’s event and extends our sincerest thanks to Benchmark Mortgage, R.E. Cupp Construction, Mercury One, Sam Pack Ford, QSLWM, Shiner Beer and Babe’s Chicken Dinner House for their generous support and contributions. To learn more about the Boot Campaign and to support our efforts to promote patriotism, cultivate awareness and provide assistance for America’s military families, please visit www.bootcampaign.com today!