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CORK’S OUTDOORS COMPETES ON FINNISH TV’S “AMERICAN FOOD BATTLE”

Posted on 23 June 2012 by Cork Graham

California draws visitors from all over the world. Some come for the wine. Others come for the sun. Many come to see what has been described by such literary luminaries as Jack London and John Steinbeck. It was Steinbeck Country (the Duckworth family, depicted under a pseudonym in The Grapes of Wrath, has a family graveyard and ranch just down the way) that a production team from Finland’s JIM TV had come to film an episode of AMERICAN FOOD BATTLE. The main ingredient was to be the well-known feral hog of California.

Within an hour of meeting the cast and crew at the gate to Native Hunt Ranch, we were onto pigs. They were huddled under the overhang of a large, old oak when we came over the knoll in a four-wheeler. I knew they had to be there what with how a cold snap and rain had rolled in the night before. I breathed a sigh of relief as they weren’t where they normally were on Native Hunt Ranch. There was a lot riding on getting a pig today. I had a new AR-15 that UT Arms had specially made for our sister online publication, GCT Magazine, that need to get practical use, and I was guest-hosting a new cooking show for Finland’s JIM TV satellite channel. AMERICAN FOOD BATTLE had come out all the way from Helsinki to see how we hunt and eat in Monterey.

Frankly, I was actually delighted with how swiftly things were happening. Though I have spent a bit of time at rocker and friend, Michael Riddle’s Native Hunt Ranch, and enjoyed watching the multitude of animals on the property, there’s nothing guaranteed in nature. Normally, the pigs like to hang out in a canyon that bisects the ranch, a thoroughfare between the Fort Hunter Liggett Military Base on one side, and another ranch on the other.  It wasn’t very comfortable navigating across the green hills of Monterey County in the early morning drizzle, and so I knew the pigs had the same problems. Like the log house lodge that serves as respite from the cold and rain to guests, the shelter  under California oaks provides the same.

When we encountered the feral hogs, I pointed to a glade of oaks, and hushed, “Pigs!” Henry Dhuy, the cameraman, grabbed his equipment from the back of vehicle. I grabbed my AR-15 from its case, and did my best to chamber a round quietly. The pigs were tired from what must have been a horribly unsettling night of rain, thunder and lightning, and were sluggish in making a break from comfort: all of them were huddled next and on top of each other to keep warm from the wet and cold. By the time I edged over the hill, and checked back to make sure the Finnish cameraman was ready, two had come to their feet. One of them would be mine.

Laying the forestock of the AR-15 on a collapsible bipod, I quickly lined up the crosshairs on the smaller of the two pigs. This was a cooking show and I was doing my best to get the best-tasting porker in the bunch, 50 yards away. With the RR-CQLR’s crosshair bead centered on a point made by an imaginary crossing of two diagonal lines, from base of ear to eye on the other side, I touched off a round. The 65-grain hollow-point hit the 55-pound sow, and she jumped straight up in the air, just like countless cottontails I’ve shot in the head with a .22LR. After a few photos to record the event, we transported her over to the skinning shed on the other side of the ranch, and began the quick process of gutting and skinning the perfect-sized porker. Innards are oft lost in this modern day.

“You want the liver and kidneys?”

I think it’s because so many hunters, and even cuisine enthusiasts, just haven’t been taught the merits of liver, heart and kidneys. Our parents delighted in these. Our ancient ancestors, long before the advent
of agriculture thrived and survived on these, so much so that it was all they needed….and they didn’t get tooth cavities which became more prevalent as we moved from hunter/gatherers to farmers, from meat to grains.

“Do you want to work with these?” I asked our culinary masters from Finland. Chef Henri Alén, and Sommelier Nicolaus Thieulon, are co-owners of the successful Muru Ravintola, a French and Italian fusion restaurant in Helsinki. Veterans of a variety of cooking and travel shows in Finland, they’re well-versed in not only cuisine and but also pairing good food with wines. They took the liver, kidneys, heart and ham. I took the ham and the backstrap. The meat cut like butter it was so tender.

Heading back to the lodge’s open bar and roofed kitchen, we began work on meat preparation. I was going to offer my old bear, deer and wild boar standby Vietnamese-style marinated and grilled meat on rice noodle and salad, for the competition. The Finnish team opted for wild boar bourguignon.

Knowing the Fins have a long history with firearms, not the least of which is noted in history and present day by Sako, a manufacturer of fine rifles and ammunition, I invited the hosts to do a bit of target shooting off the back deck at a metal target stand 50 yards away. I’d been looking forward to getting more practice with a GLOCK 17 and my new favorite 1911, the S&W 1911TA. Emptying the 1911’s magazine into the target, the show’s producer, asked if he could have Henry Dhuy, a Los Angeles-transplanted cameraman, collect some video of me teaching an impromptu basic pistol shooting class, albeit at very long ranges.

Alén and Thieulon were ringers. Henri attributed his great shooting with the Glock 17 to his days as a recruit in the Finnish Navy.  When we were done it was time for me to get to work on the grilling of the meat component of my dish so that both our dished would be ready at the same time. I’d say more, but that would be cheating the viewers of finding out who won the competition. According to the producer, this season is presently being being edited and will be broadcast on JIM TV spring 2013.

 

Explaining the recipe…

So what was it like to be on Finnish TV? Very edifying! Here in the States, aside from language-dedicated audiences, such as those of Canal 14, we shoot in English for an English speaking audience. In Finland, a nation that was one occupied by Russia and Sweden, the production team shot English with me, and then in Finnish and Swedish between Alén and Thieulon. It gave me a lot to think, and you’ll begin to see some add-ons at Cork’s Outdoors, and our other multi-media publication, GCT Magazine, for our international audience.

 Hunting the Black Rifle

When hunters began using AR-10 and AR-15 rifles many words were fired back and forth between two camps. One camp considered the introduction of the “Black Rifle” a pall on the activity. The other camp lauded the attributes of the AR as a fine addition to the hunting community, either with a full 30-round magazine, for varmint control, or a five or 10-round for big and small-game. Many of those in either group can often be determined by their generation.

Many more options, many more calibers.

Those over thirty years old are often in the first group. They were also likely to have had their first experience in hunting with a more traditional lever action, pump, or bolt-action rifle. AR enthusiasts, on the other hand, were often introduced to the AR-style of rifle through M16/M4 they were issued in the military, or attracted to the firearm through watching action-adventure movies. Perhaps they purchased a civilian version of weapon they carried during their youth and want to recapture that part of their military life, and used it to plink and enjoy the relaxing activity of target shooting. Unlike the other shooter who probably graduated from a learning to shoot with bolt or pump action wood-stocked and started hunting small-game, then developed into a big-game hunter, the shooter first introduced to shooting through the military, had never hunted, but suddenly wanted to try it out, especially if they’re part of the “slow-food” movement that has sprung up in response to Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. They went to the firearm in which they were well-versed: the AR platform.

Personally, I have no problem with the use of using AR type rifles, though I also prefer to hunt with a more traditional bolt-action or lever-action rifle. I’m not partial to shooting fast with a rifle having the type of pistol grip on AR and AK-type rifle. It’s a smoother transition to shoulder a rifle or shotgun from a two-handed, ready, carry with a traditional type of grip, like the straight, English-style grip on a Winchester 1894, or a curved grip on a Model 70. An AR15 on the other hand makes, because of its overall design, for a precision rifle for shooting from a rigid position, a stand or a blind, with a platform a set of shooting sticks. The reason is that the pistol grip  found on Black Rifles positions the trigger hand in a very relaxed position when the rifle is shouldered and enables the shooter to put all tension into the trigger finger.

In the world of traditional hunting stocks, this positioning of the grip hand is accomplished by either adding a pistol grip to a slightly modified stock, or forming a stock in the manner done for a thumbhole stock. One of the most accurate rifles I ever owned, the Savage 93R17 BTVS, was a true tack driver, for not only the stainless steel bull-barrel and AccuTrigger, but also the thumbhole laminated stock.

With regard to whether using an AR-15 or AK-47 is sporting or not, is pretty mute. Most states already require a round limit on magazines. Also, most hunting situations offer only a few viable shooting opportunities before the animals make it to safety: while shooting to remove the enemy’s will fight is the norm in war, incapacitation; shooting for a “clean kill” is the objective in hunting. Regarding overtake, there are laws and whether the shooter is a law-abiding hunter, or poaching game hog, is irrespective to what firearm the person in question is carrying. Finally, do you think the animal being shot really cares how sporting it was that you just killed it with a 5-shot bolt action rifle, or AR15 with a hunting regulation-required 5 or 10-shot magazine?

Whether you hunt with a traditional wood or composite stock, or an AR15 rifle that was originally designed to arm soldiers, is your prerogative. How you carry yourself in the field is was matters, and just as importantly how much time you spent on the field getting to really know the ins and outs of your firearm of choice, and its ammunition, to make sure that your shot is fast and efficient, both for the least amount of duress to the animal targeted, and the increased likelihood its flesh will be delicious at the dinner table.

Cork Graham is the publisher of GCT Magazine and Cork’s Outdoors. For his latest books, writings, and appearances, follow him at www.corkgraham.com, Facebook and Twitter. He is also a small-arms instructor and security consultant with ETS; for more information visit: www.emergencytacticalskills.com

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Searching The Wild Within with Steven Rinella [Radio Interview]

Posted on 14 March 2011 by Cork Graham

I thought I had accidentally landed on one of the ever-increasing number of hook and bullet channels when I came across an ad for The Wild Within, hosted by Steven Rinella; not the Travel Channel. With the way Travel Channel programming has followed the New Yorker nepotism of the New York publishing world, it seemed as though you had to be either a New York whinning, potty-mouthed ex-junkie chef-turned writer, carrying a child-like fascination with Apocalypse Now; or a New York glutton with a penchant for traveling the country in search of restaurant-promoting food competitions, to get your own series. To see a Michigan-born-and-raised hunter and trapper hosting a show on that channel floored me.

With great anticipation I waited for the first airing: finally a hunting show that went further than an inundation of boring kill-a-minute, 30-minute sponsor advertisements, pushed on the new overabundance of outdoor channels—how I miss the educational hunting shows broadcast during the 1980s and early 1990s. More importantly, here was a show that would, hopefully at least, reveal to its viewers how to dismantle a deer.

Can you believe that the major outdoor channels actually don’t want any close ups of the processing of game? Many would think it’s because of the advertisers, but not the programming directors who pushed for this—because they’re afraid it’s too politically incorrect: Now you know why Cork’s Outdoors TV isn’t broadcast on satellite, though many requests from the different outdoor channels have come down the pike this year—they won’t allow me to show you how to even gut and skin a feral pig!

Rinella learning to make fish arrows in Guyana

 

THE WILD WITHIN

The first episode of The Wild Within was set in a place I know well, and remains as my hunting and fishing heaven: Alaska! There are very few states left where you can truly live off the land as a hunter/gatherer, and Alaska is at the top the list. On Prince of Wales (POW) Island, where Rinella and his brother own a hunting cabin, there’s a plethora of sustenance.

I must admit that I was hoping Rinella would’ve hunted near his home, in New York or New Jersey, for the first episode. Everyone flies to Alaska for an outdoors show, and yet there are so many poorly-represented, great hunting places right next to such a major center of anti-hunting: Ingrid Newkirk and Wayne Pacelles’ cash cows, PETA and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) campaign from NYC. But, you can’t go wrong with Alaska, especially Southeast Alaska: bush planes, remote cabins, full crab and shrimp pots, and Sitka blacktails in good number…having lived and worked around the world, there’s a reason Alaska is the only place I ever truly get homesick for…

From Alaska, The Wild Within continued to Montana the next week, and that’s where I think the shake-down cruise for the show hadn’t yet found its legs. As Rinella mentioned to me over the phone, this is their first season, and they were just getting their steam and there was a question as to what to focus on: historical, environment and conservation, or the adventure of hunting, fishing and gathering.

This happens with all types of programming, whether scriptwriters on shows like Hawaii 5-0, or producers on TopShot. For most, it’s the first time the production team has met and are just learning each other’s quirks, along with not only clearly filling out the premise through field experience, but also editing and trying to coordinate programming with the broadcast company.

It especially gets interesting when parts, or all of the production team have never even participated in the main activity of the show…As is often the case, producers take the job no matter their own lack of knowledge or experience—perhaps you’ve heard of actors in Hollywood getting hired for a film, saying they’ve been riding horses since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, or that they hearken from a long line of motorcycle riders, yet the most they’ve straddled was a bar or diner stool while searching the jobs section of a newspaper? Same thing.

If you noticed that some episodes seemed to be off, like San Francisco (as one based in the City by the Bay, I know well the amazing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and gathering—I was aghast to see Rinella collect roadkill, totally illegal in California) which slapped me in the head with a big “Huh?”, or the Montana episode, that made me wonder whether this was a show best suited for the History Channel. When Rinella told me that The Wild Within was originally formulated for sale to the History Channel, it all made sense: the Molokai and Scotland definitely fit within the parameters of Travel Channel, while the Montana show appeared shot for either the History or Travel Channel.

So, like any crew on a new boat, a new production has a variety of learning curves related to the first shake-down cruise, of which this new season definitely has its highs and lows. Part of the problem can be that programming doesn’t actually coordinate to shooting and editing. What may have been shot first, ends up as an episode broadcast much later in sequnce. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was with the POW Island episode, when I heard Rinella repeat that oft repeated saying given non-hunters: You’d be paying $30 or $50 a plate for this in a restaurant!

Again, YOU CAN’T LEGALLY BUY TRUE WILD GAME IN THE US!

Not until the Scotland episode did Rinella clarify that in Europe, where the laird of the land owns the land, game, livestock and those who work it (one of the main reasons my ancestor, David Graham, said to hell with Scottish and Irish landlords, and took his family of Calvinists to South Carolina in 1772—hitting home the final point to King George with a round ball at the Battle of Kings Mountain), true wild game is shipped to market in Paris and London, and sold much fresher in the butcher shops of little villages that neighbor these hunting estates.

I was impressed that the introduction scene of the Scotland episode had Steven Gow, the Scots ghillie (hunting guide), working on meat that was to be shipped out that week. They really captured the hunting in Europe, and how much of a commodity it is. It also made me cringe, remembering how in the US we’re quickly following in their footsteps: $800 to $1,500 to shoot a wild boar in California?

We already have enough problems with a majority of the population growing up in urban areas, having lost their hunting, fishing and gathering traditions by generations—traditions that would have helped keep a clear public eye on such fabricated science pushed by PETA and HSUS. Charging horrendous fees on game that legally belongs the citizens of a state, does nothing but create an elitist attitude about something that was so free and drew many from their nations of origin.

In the Scotland episode, the hunter, angler, gatherer, theme of the show really came across, from field to table. And, this last weekend, the Guyana show carried it well again. This theme of field to table, and local bonds built, is the strength of the show, and even its honesty works, though it did make me recoil a few times, starting with the crippled blacktail that they finished off in the first episode in Alaska, and then a wounding arrow shot on a tapir.

During the Central America War, tapir found a fond spot in my heart. I was at a secret Contra base along the Honduran border, and because of the ridiculously low rations afforded our Cold War allies by US Congress budget cuts, we had to augment beans and rice with whatever animal protein got from the jungle.

Contra with three Sandinista rounds in his gut, leaving on my medevac in.

 

For the same reasons of the bigger bang for the buck Rinella mentioned on Sunday’s Guyana episode, the Miskito tribal members fighting in the Nicaraguan Defense Force (FDN) guerrilla unit I accompanied, targeted the tapir with dogs—much more meat than a hapless cuzuco (armadillo) or iguana. Imagine mountains, sides steep as cliffs, and during the rainy season, knee-deep mud, and thick brush and tall canopy—a shiver runs up my spine remembering firefights conducted under those conditions. We carried AK-47s to make the shot on the hungrily sought tapir table fare, but also to defend against surprise attacks by Cuban and Russian Spetsnaz-trained Sandinista Special Forces units.

Those harried days of the 1980s came rushing back as Rinella narrated on the tapir, and Jim Jones (I worked the Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco for NBC, along with longtime NBC cameraman and Jonestown survivor, Steve Sung—see enough bullet and fragment wounds and you recognize them easily, especially along the arms), but also the creepy crawlies and slithers that leave you not only very uncomfortable with a bite or sting, but even perhaps in the end, dead.

The Guyana episode also struck home the difference between sport and subsistence. In Alaska, those of us who actually survived on our caught or shot food, had no problem shooting a caribou in the water—in contrast, those who flew in from out of state for a hunt, or lived in Anchorage, would never think of doing so for the flak they’d get from their hunting party.

And this is where I’ve started enjoying the show, when in the beginning I had my misgivings with its clarity of purpose. The Wild Within really gets its legs when it focuses not on the historical qualities of hunting, or an area, something that can easily be touched on at the beginning, in short review, as with reference to Reverend Jim Jones in Guyana; but instead focuses on the present-day locals, the conditions, and work a subsistence lifestyle requires: shooting, trapping, catching and gathering everything you need from the environment, doing it day in and day out, no chance of calling in a sick day, especially when you have to provide for your family.

That’s Entertainment!

As Rinella mentions on the adjoining Cork’s Outdoors Radio episode, TV is definitely focused on entertainment (whether a travel show, or sadly of late, the news) first, and secondly, if you’re lucky, you educate as much as you can between those emotion-stirring moments, in the hopes that the viewer will pick up a book and go further in-depth. That’s where I laud the Travel Channel in even airing such a program—showing hunting and gathering for what it is: not necessarily pretty, sometimes amazingly gorgeous.  The upcoming Texas episode promises to be quite the saddle-burning ride…

The Wild Within comes into its own as it remembers that premise by focusing on the local peoples, and their quest to keep sustained on what the wilds offer them. Most importantly, not as one of the other proliferations of survive in the wilds and get out alive shows, but instead looking forward to the trip outdoors, the resulting fine meals of game and fish, to that reconnection with oft-lost skills that kept us alive where we all originally came from—the wilds!

Related Links:

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy the interview of The Wild Within’s Steven Rinella on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:

TOPICS: Steven Rinella, author and host of THE WILD WITHIN, speaks about his writing and adventures for the Travel Channel.

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Stars and Stripes Foundation Celebrity Shoot: August 21, 2010—Be There! [Radio Interview]

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Cork Graham

(L-R) Gary Graham, Joe Penny, Melinda Clarke, Tim Abell, Joe Mantegna

As wars protract, especially counterinsurgency wars, it becomes much easier for a society to forget its warriors sent to fight that war—especially as other distractions come up, like corruption in the government, and an economy in dire straits. It’s happened many times in history, well-recorded in ancient Greece and Rome, and our own history.

Who remembers why my father’s war is still called “The Forgotten War”? Pick up a copy of Breakout to know why those who fought there and that war should never be forgotten or lost to history. And who remembers, contrary to what many who later protested against the war say they didn’t, that there was very large support in the United States for getting into the war in Vietnam in 1963 to 1965? Then, there was my generation’s war, “The Secret War”, that if you weren’t paying attention, you totally missed…it never ceased to amaze me how focused everyone was on making the big bucks during the Yuppie successes of the second term of President Reagan, when that very President, and we down there fighting The Secret War, were wondering if the greatest capitalist democracy in the world would soon have Soviet tanks parked on its southern border, revving their engines to bust across and take back ‘Old Mexico’, in the first of what would be two final campaigns for total world domination by Communist States.

Now, of course, times change and we’re in what’s called “The War on Terrorism”. This I consider a misnomer, as terrorism is just a tool of every force that doesn’t have majority support from the populace—and who in their right mind would support a front whose doctrines support stoning women for adultery and rape (it’s the woman’s fault, you know, according to these fanatic Islamic terrorists), forcing women to be subservient and cover themselves from head to toe while the man can walk around not only uncovered but checking out less clad non-Muslim women (any hints of mysogyny?), and much worse and actually most dangerous—a belief that everything they desire resides in the after life. At least when we were fighting the Soviets and Red Chinese, they were economically directed and didn’t want to destroy that which they could use once they won.

What we’re in is another counterinsurgency  (CoIn) war, just that we’re in one against a political front whose fighters have no regard for the environment or the people who walk upon the Earth. They’re just focused on subjugation and religious dogma…I could go on and on about CoIn, something I understand well from years of personal experience, introduced to it with my earliest memories of my life: The Tet Offensive of 1968 happening in the skies above, and just on the other side of the wall of our home, in Saigon. But, like why I hunt and fish, subjects so much more important than can be explained in a quick soundbite or even a single magazine article, they’re best left to all the information being dispersed at our other online multimedia magazine: GCT Magazine.

Let’s just say that I have many more life experiences than those that started with me becoming a traditional print outdoor magazine writer and newspaper columnist in 1994. And if I hear another antihunter say, “How would you feel if bears were armed and hunting you?” I’m gonna bonk them on the head in my frustration, because, YES–I do know what it’s like…and hunting and being hunted for a political cause, and hunting for food are like comparing apples and oranges!

Cork Graham and his Sgt. waiting for an evening helicopter ride

Assisting Those in the Battle Coming Home

I especially know what it’s like to come back from a war, with the rest of the populace going on about their business as if there were no war: one week in a full on firefight, both sides receiving heavy losses; and the next week, taking a break from a morning’s surfing and flirting with bikini-clad coeds…a surreal awareness of reality…most of all, never even being allowed, or, in the end, wanting to talk about “It”.  Thankfully, I was pretty lucky and came back with only 10 years of major migraines, shot knee and a few superficial wounds…nothing like what veterans the Stars and Stripes Foundation help came back with…

It’s knowing about what it’s like that makes me jump at every chance to help those warriors coming back from their call of duty. Men and women go to war for a number of reasons. The benefit of their service to us in a democracy is that when they go to fight in foreign countries, dealing with all the dangers and cultural conflicts, (even overcoming the setbacks of our own backstabbing budget-cutting politicians that sent them into the fire in the first place), to arrive at success, we as a result don’t have our sworn enemies slapping us silly on our own soil…is it too much to ask to just give a hand, when there’s a need?

These are men and women who go off to fight, so that their families and friends don’t have to experience on the streets of the United States, Canada and the UK what those in Third World nations experience every week…even those in the US and Europe, who naively go about their business, badmouthing those who protect them—defending your country can sometimes truly be a thankless job!

When these men and women comeback not completely whole, either psychologically, or physically, there’s definitely a responsibility of the people whom they defended to roger-up, to come to the call of their defense and well-being, after they’ve offered life and limb and so much more, for your continued life and lifestyle. Especially when these men and women who because of their strong character would prefer to just keep quiet and buckle up. It’s hard to come back from a traumatic experience and ask for help, even when it’s necessary.

…I remember when I came back after surviving almost a year in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s political prison system, and the look on my grandmother’s face. Men and women who come back from the Dragon’s jaws, don’t need nor want your pity. They just need a helping hand when it’s warranted. Missing limbs, blindness, and debilitating subconscious reactions to daily peacetime events fit into that category—that’s what Start and Stripes Foundation does; it provides assistance by filling in the holes left by federal inattention or lack of funding.

Hollywood’s Best

(L-R) Dan Reeves, Robert Duvall, Mark Christianson

When Hollywood stands up to help, it’s truly the cream of the crop! Sadly, Hollywood historically lost its way jumping into the back pockets of tyrants and murderers like Joseph Stalin, Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara, not respecting the difference between understanding free speech, romanticism, and being avant-garde; and just being a pawn toward a murderous tyrant’s aims…

(L-R) CSM Mark Christianson, Nana, Dan Reeves, James Woods, Mern

Not everyone in Hollywood is that lost…One of my personal joys was receiving an endorsement from Charlton Heston for the title pages of my 2004 Amazon TopSeller Vietnam prison memoir, The Bamboo Chest. This was from a man who, even long after his passing, I still think of dearly when I think of all that is and was good in Hollywood: producing films that emulate Mankind’s higher aspirations, taking story-telling of heroes back to what Homer did around a campfire, sharing myths and tales about characters overcoming challenges to make a better society…not films about anti-heroes that have no beneficial emotional reward and only leave the audience running through the Yellow Pages in search of a good therapist.

What seems to be a common thread through all of Hollywood that I respect is a stand for what’s right and honorable. It’s what in the past has stirred actors like Frank Stallone, James Woods and Robert Duvall to get involved with the Stars and Stripes Foundation, along with longtime supporters such as Michael Gregory, Leslie Easterbrook, Joe Mantegna, Joe Penny and Michael Dudikoff and my friends Patrick Kilpatrick, James Partee, Tim Abell and Steve Kanaly.

(L-R) Joe Penny and Patrick Kilpatrick

Celebrity guests attending this year will be: Joe Penny; Leslie Easterbrook; Michael Dudikoff; Michael Gregory; Tim Abell; Joe Mantegna; Marty Kove; Michael Rooker; Steve Kanaly; Peter Sherayko; Lilly Sieu; DB Sweeney; wildlife artist James Partee; Frankie Anne; John Fasano; Richard Edlund, A.S.C.; and Patrick Kilpatrick, along with a few others like myself who haven’t been as yet listed on their website’s homepage.

Special guests will include world-renowned action-thriller novelist and past commander and founder of US Navy SEAL Team 6, Commander Dick Marcinko, Medal of Honor recipient Jon R. Cavaiani, and legendary Vietnam Sniper Chuck Mawhinney, whose record tops legendary Gunny Carlos Hathcock’s by ten.

The Stars and Stripes Foundation Celebrity Shoot

Founded and organized by shooting personality Dan Reeves, Command Sergeant Major (California, Nevada, Arizona) and retired Special Forces operator Mark Christianson and his wife Lisa, foundation treasurer and business affairs director, the Stars and Stripes Foundation has been building revenues for a number of organizations that provide direct assistance to wounded military veterans since 2006. The existence of the Stars and Stripes Foundation arose out memories of the shameful treatment homecoming United States and the Free World’s defender’s received from the late-1960s through to Desert Storm—those that forget the lesson of the past are doomed to repeat them…

Every year the Stars and Stripes Foundation reviews the direct assistance organizations out there, and focuses the funds for that year on the chosen organization. This year, the monies collected through the celebrity shoot and raffle will go toward a group that provides therapy and assistance dogs to veterans. If you’ve read my article on my PTSR site, you know how important this is: Puppy Love

The cost the Stars and Stripes Foundation will offset is $1,800 per animal this year—doing good by doing right!

My therapy dog, Ziggy, no longer a pup, with my trout-fishin’ birthday brother, and Rock Legend, Ronnie Montrose last week.

Looking Forward to Seeing You There

I’ll be arriving at a bit before the 8 a.m. start and will be bringing a box of The Bamboo Chest to personally sign for patrons that day, with all the proceeds going to the Stars and Stripes Foundation.

The event is open to spectators to observe and cheer on the competitors in a supportive family-style event full of camaraderie. If you want to shoot trap and skeet you’ll be assigned a team. One celebrity will be assigned to one veteran, and these two will be assigned to a shooting team totaling five.

There will be trap and skeet, rifle and pistol competitions with 9mm pistols provided by Ruger and Smith & Wesson, along with AR-15 forms of the present military issue M4 from Colt and Smith & Wesson with necessary ammunition. Though you’ll have to bring your own shotgun for the trap and skeet (I’ll be bringing my Browning over-n-under 20 gauge for the skeet and my Remington 11-87 for the trap), all the 20 and 12 gauge ammo will be provided by Fiocchi along with support from the National Rifle Association.

There will also be free .22 caliber rifle events for children and young adults to participate in.  Very much a come out and enjoy a great sunny day at the Oaktree Gun Club in Newhall, CA on August 21st, starting at 8 a.m.

Visit the Stars and Stripes Foundation website, sign up and come on down to the Oaktree Gun Club in Newhall, CA to show your support—and have a great time doing so!

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy Star and Stripes Foundation founder CSM Mark Christianson’s interview on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:

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