John and Penny McLeod, along with their son Hugh McLeod, all of the 7th Tennessee Infantry, hosted what has become an annual event at their home this past Sunday. The McLeod's graciously invited members of the Northwest Territory to their home in St. Clair for a day of N-SSA style team shooting, food, and friendship.
In addition to the McLeod's own team, members of other NWT Confederate teams such as the 1st South Carolina, 15th Virginia Cavalry, and the 14th Tennessee Infantry along with their Yankee "guests", the 7th Wisconsin Volunteers, all gathered at the McLeod's home to commemorate the end of the 2003 season, and in some cases say goodbye to their skirmish comrades until the beginning of the 2004 season.
Starting at Noon, there was a seemingly endless shooting competition, run expertly by Hugh McLeod. The teams for this event, were drawn from a hat, with chance deciding who would be teammates for the day. All shooting was done in the style of the N-SSA, with the exception that since it was not an official N-SSA function, many people were not (yet) skirmishers, and were competing in this type of format for the first time. All were welcomed, regardless of skill or experience. The McLeod's have used this event as a way to welcome new teammates, showcase the N-SSA to new people, and to show that this sport is more than just shooting.
The Teams shot a variety of targets ranging from eggs, clay pots, and water bottles at 50 yards to clay pigeons and Milk jugs at 100 yards. The winner of course was decided by the shortest elapsed time. All had a good time!
Midway through the competition, John McLeod urged the teams on, wishing to get the shooting over with and get to the true point of the event! John and fellow 7th Tennessee teammate, Ed Hildreth, cooked what must have been nearly a ton of food, resulting in a Barbeque even the Founding Fathers could be proud of. The food and the ensuing friendship is the point of this event. John enthusiastically shouted at the end of the shooting, "Let's Eat!"
The event ended well past dark, with all leaving for home with a good feeling, yet perhaps a bit of sadness. To many, this day marks the last they will see many friends until May of the following year. Due to this, one participant, Wally Gibson of the 1st South Carolina stated "I wouldn't miss McLeod's shoot for anything." I couldn't agree more, thanks John, Penny, and Hugh, and the rest who helped make this happen!