Best Meat Shoot

American Legion Memorial Post 439

Six or seven years ago, Valley Park's American Legion Post 439 had run out of funds to host its Sunday meat shoots (a 30- or 60-year-old tradition, depending on whom you ask). Three years later the post was back in the black and able to resume the shoots, but it was only this past winter that, as organizer Lionel Hall puts it, "We really got things going again." And boy, did they ever. The event draws good shots from Webster Groves to Ballwin, Kirkwood to Chesterfield: a mostly white, mostly male, mostly nicotine-addicted crowd ranging from teens to senior citizens. They come with their twelve-gauge shotguns and form long lines to plunk down three bucks and spray a round at a paper target hanging 30 or so feet away. The closest to the "X" brings home the bacon, pork steaks, loins, ribs and other cuts of pig, not to mention roast beef. The shoot starts at noon and ends fourteen or fifteen rounds later, when the beer coolers empty and the sun sets. It's a blast of an afternoon that feels a long, long way from the big city.
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