The second annual Heart Mountain Challenge was held on the weekend of June 26th-27th on Heart Mountain, near Cody, Wyoming. This was a precision long-range rifle shoot, with all proceeds benefiting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. This year we were able to raise over $76,000 compared to last years $16,000.
This was an extremely difficult course, consisting of two separate ranges, attracting some of the top shooters in the country. Targets range in distance from several hundred yards to over 2000 yards. The up and down angles, the distances, the wind and terrain can challenge even the best of shooters. But this is what these shooters thrive on.
A special thank you must be given to Peter Kneip, event planning extraordinaire, for his hard work and dedication to the logistical portions of this event. Peter’s countless hours of work behind the scenes ensured a smoothly executed, high class event, from start to finish.
Participants ranged in age from under ten to the mid seventies. We had civilians, law enforcement officers and active duty Special Forces all shooting side-by-side, and all are planning to come back next year.
There was a kickoff dinner for donors and sponsors on the Friday night preceding the shoot attended by 60 people. On Sunday night, we held a barbecue and awards banquet for 180 shooters and their families. MG (Ret.) Clay Hutmacher spoke to the crowd about our mission. Tristan Merz spoke about the tragic loss of her husband, Col Alex Merz, and how SOWF stepped in to help her children. I had a couple of active duty Special Operators approach me and share stories of losing buddies in combat and having SOWF step in for their children. We all understand the mission of SOWF, but when you hear first hand stories from those that benefit from what we do, and from those that know of those who benefit from what we do, it really drives it home. We can never replace a lost loved one, but we can make life a little easier for those that have to carry on. That is what we do.
H. James Dager
Special Operations Warrior Foundation