By Bruce Harper Karnes Countywide staff

KARNES COUNTY –The fourth annual Fruit Salad Shoot was held Saturday, June 8, at a ranch venue approximately eight miles south of Runge off State Highway 81.

The multitude of shooters weren’t looking to poke holes in paper targets, but were looking to punch a few holes in watermelons, oranges, lemons and tiny cherry tomatoes, depending on how good a shot the assorted riflemen and rifle-women were that day.

The shoot is a fundraiser that originated as a by invitation only event, and has grown every year of its existence.

“We have a large group of friends and supporters who come out each year, but we can always use one or two more shooters,” said Jeff Sellers, one of the event’s organizers.

Entry fees and funds raised at an auction the night before at a banquet held at the ranch on Friday provide the funds.

“Thanks to our auction last night, we can say that our little function has raised more than $250,000 over the four years,” Sellers said.

The auction included hunting trips, custom knives and many other items in the outdoor and shooting areas of interest.

Karnes County Commissioner Sean O’Brien was one of the participants and mentioned, “Jeff was almost in tears when he announced the event had produced $250,000 in the four years.”

The shoot is geared to long-range, high-powered rifles, although there is a .22 caliber event that was just started this year for the youngsters and those not wanting to use the big guns. The shooters start out with watermelons set 800 yards down range and then progressively get closer to 400 yards, 200 yards, 100 yards and then the last distance is just a scant 78 yards. Watermelons are used for the distant ranges, but as the range comes down, so does the size of the fruit.

Oranges, then lemons and then on the last and closest range for the rifles a small cherry tomato sits atop the sawhorses used to prop up the fruit/targets.

The range is open for eight shooters at a time with the order specified by the organizers. Spotters are used to help the shooters with their aim. The shooters are allowed five rounds during a time slot of five minutes to smash as much fruit salad as they can. Scores for hits are tabulated and the one with the most hits during all the stages is declared the Fruit Salad Shoot champion.

As mentioned before, the event has raised a significant amount of money over the four years. Proceeds this year, as in past year, are designated to go to the Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi and the Children’s Hospital in Houston.

“They are great hospitals doing a lot of good for our communities. The Driscoll Hospital alone has told us they have treated over 15,000 youngsters from Karnes County, so the money helps locally,” said Sellers.