Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, April 1, 2012 | 2:28 a.m.
Some of the biggest names in country music gathered at the Desert Hills Shooting Club in south Boulder City on Saturday morning for the second-annual NRA Country/ACM Celebrity Shootout.
The sporting clays competition was part of a weeklong series of events sponsored by the Academy of Country Music leading up to tonight’s 47th Annual ACM Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Saturday’s shoot, emceed by Headline Country’s Storme Warren, featured a two-course, 10-station, 40-target competition circuit for 20 teams of five shooters, each led by a celebrity team captain. Guests including ACM Awards co-host Blake Shelton and nominees Neil and Reid Perry of the Band Perry sat down for a hearty early morning breakfast with NRA Country officials and shooting club members before braving the course.
Other new and returning celebs at the competition included Lee Brice, Craig Campbell, Easton Corbin, Ira Dean, Eden’s Edge, Aaron Lewis of Staind, Craig Morgan, Cowboy Troy, football legend Dave Butz, Outdoor Channel personalities Matt Duff, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, Nick Mundt and Laura Schara, as well as TNA Impact Wrestling stars Jeff Hardy and James Storm.
During the meal, Warren introduced guests and spoke briefly on the subject of Second Amendment rights, invoking the support of the country music community.
Teams hit the course around 9:30 a.m., with Shelton taking a quick lead.
“This isn't a popularity contest, it's about skill and ability to dominate,” he told the media after finishing off an impressive round at the first station. Shelton went on to explain that despite his packed schedule this weekend, it was important to him to make time for Saturday’s shoot. “This is about a right that I want to support and that I believe in, and if I can have fun while doing that, that’s even better.”
Shelton said he’s looking forward to his return as co-host alongside Reba at tonight’s ACM Awards and jokingly added that he’ll try not to embarrass his family.
The competitive nature of the event didn’t keep the singer from being in high spirits. “I don’t wanna be cocky, but if you want to see history in the making, you better get moving!” he told the media as he headed over to the next station.
Perhaps he spoke too soon. The competition came down to a shootout between Craig Morgan and the Outdoor Channel’s Lee Lakosky for the top shooter prize, with Morgan taking home top honors. Morgan's team Rivette Refuge Preserve, led by ACM nominee Aaron Lewis and him, took the prize for top team.