In 2015, prolific sporting clays shooter and Syria Gun Club member Jim Nassif approached then-Potentate Bob Herbert with a proposal. Their vision was to pair a love of sporting clays with an event that could generate a charitable funding source earmarked for Shriners Hospital for Children - Erie. Without hesitation, the concept was approved, and the Sporting Clay Charity Shoot was born.
From concept to successful event is typically a long road, but these quick-acting Nobles saw the potential. “We went through Shriners International Headquarters to get it approved,” says Bob Herbert, Past Potentate. “We had to hurry (in our first year). In less than 6 weeks we had the event planned and raised $29,000. Jim and Eddie do a great job with sponsors and event planning.”
Noble Ed Aiello was an early supporter of the event and joined in the planning. “Our thoughts were to try and improve the identity of the Shrine to young people who shoot and use it as a forum to talk about what we do,” Ed said. “We’ve brought in patients and their families to talk about how the hospitals have helped them.”
The venerable planning committee deserving of the credit for the Charity Shoot’s success has consisted of Nobles Andy Young, Jim Nassif and Ed Aiello. Dave Galardini has always been a strong supporter, and Jason Ross joined in 2019.
Noble Jim Nassif describes the event as appealing to the sporting clays shooter. They offer a continental breakfast, 100 rounds of sporting clays, lunch, gun raffles, 50/50, auction items, men’s and ladies’ trophies and special room rates all set in the beautiful backdrop of the Laurel Highlands at Seven Springs.
It’s a purpose-designed event that benefits our mission: to support the SHC-Erie Hospital. A day of sport shooting fun delivers more value to those contributing than a donation alone. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a fully qualified 501(c) 3 charitable organization under IRS regulation. Sponsor’s and participant’s donations ARE tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by the law. “The participant’s money donated is a deduction, plus you’re doing great work for the philanthropy. It’s a win-win in a single day event,” says Bob.
Ed Aiello describes how this event attracts considerable sponsorship dollars, “What we do is contact (Erie) hospital and find out what capital projects they’re working on, this year it’s two new state-of-the-art Skytron surgical operating room tables. We like to tell sponsors what we’re funding instead of simply collecting money for the hospital.“
The event’s first year monies went to a C-Arm Ultra Sound Machine. Second year’s monies bought food supplements and wheel chairs. Third year’s monies acquired an EOS Low Radiation Dose Imaging Machine. Fourth year’s monies purchased two new General Anesthesia Machines.
Selecting a specific capital improvement project to support through the charity shoot has gone over so well with sponsors that in five years this event has raised just under $415,000 for Shriners Hospital for Children - Erie.
This year’s total is $83,400 and, coupled with an ‘Erie Gives Day’ contribution, the 2019 edition looks to net nearly $96,000 to help purchase this incredible equipment. On Erie Gives Day, each dollar donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children will also receive a prorated match from The Erie Community Foundation and its sponsors. The amount changes each year based on the dollars in the Erie Community Foundation's special fund, but typically amounts to 13-15%.
An immeasurable debt of gratitude is owed to these generous sponsors: Mark Raymond, Dave Galardini/RBC Wealth Management, Mary Maniecki, Jim & Connie Nassif, Al Bove, 3GS Consulting, Miller Wielding, Hanco, Shrine Gun Club, Joe & Polly Connelly, Ed & Joan Aiello, Medpipe, Tony Bucciero, and Robindale Energy.
Syria’s Harige Unit (The Clowns!) also deserve a special recognition for their much-appreciated participation.
At the annual Imperial Session, a Temple Sports Report is given detailing how much money is raised from sporting events sponsored as charitable fundraisers for Shriners Hospitals for Children. This year, 30 Temple events were highlighted that consisted of high school and college All-Star football games, hockey games, golf outings etc. Not one of these events equaled the earnings of our 2017 and 2018 Sporting Clay Shooting events.
Bob knows very well how successful the concept has been, “Not one of those events by another Temple has gone over 100K in this year's Temple Sports Report, and they have not beat what the Syria Gun Club's Charity Sporting Clay Shoot did in five years.”
Noble Andy Young was instrumental in gaining the early support of the Syria Gun Club. He passed away on June 28th, 2019. Andy was an active Mason in Perry Ionic Lodge #796 and a Shriner in Syria Shrine where he served as Shrine Ambassador, Shrine Gun Club past president and secretary. Andy was an active member of the Sporting Clay Shoot and its planning committee.
“Andy Young he was the BEST,” Jim Nassif said, “and a great encourager and supporter of our fundraiser. The Shrine lost a great man!”
“This year, the money will be donated in memory of Andy Young. Andy was one of the chief supporters from the Gun Club, so we’ve decided that when the money goes in it will be a contribution in the memory of Andy,” Ed said.
Planning for 2020’s Sporting Clay Charity Shoot will begin later in 2019, and the Gun Club is requesting your support. Participants can come for lunch only or join in the fun and shoot. Bronze, silver and gold sponsorships are available, and all donations benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children - Erie. Contact Ed Aiello for more information
“We do this for the children,” says Bob Herbert. “The Shriners have 22 pediatric specialty hospitals that help thousands of children each year at absolutely no cost to their families. The hospitals help children who have problems of the bones, joints or muscles, and children with cleft lip and palates or who have been severely burned. Three of the orthopedic hospitals also specialize in treating children with spinal cord injuries. In addition to the medical care provided to children by Shriners Hospitals, most of the hospitals are also actively engaged in research, searching for cures to crippling childhood diseases and better treatments for burn injuries. The operating budget for Shriners Hospitals for Children is approximately $2.2M dollars every day. Every time we treat a child, we are improving that child’s life. We appreciate your support and the support of the kids. It’s all for the children.”
Representatives from the North Hills Home Brew Fest were present in Pittsburgh’s North Side section this past Saturday August 24th. The air tingled with excitement for the debut of the 2019 winning beer from Tim Guido’s Hounds Run Brewing. Bucco Blue had finally arrived! Through an incredible partnership between Penn Brewery and the North Hills Home Brew Fest, the winning beer is brewed and served for a limited time to try at Penn Brewery.
“It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that, says Hounds Run Brewing’s Tim Guido. “And I was hesitant because I call my friends about the beer I make, you know, and they want to drink the beer. They’re not really good critics. That was the biggest thing to get past was giving total strangers my beer. I was going to have to face what they really thought, and they weren’t going to candy coat it.”
Tim might be a humble guy, but his Bucco Blue is no humble beer.
Winning a prestigious event such as the NHHBF has catapulted Tim and his Wife Andrea into home-brewed beer stardom. Andrea says recognition has come quickly.
“What I noticed is the craft beer drinkers going from beer fest to beer fest and how the word had spread. They’re like ‘oh this is the blueberry that won, you’ve got to try this.’ Friends that might have missed it at the North Hills Home Brew Fest are excited to try it. So the word had spread in a small amount of time,” she said.
Tim is now emboldened to enter other beer-brewing festivals with plans for showcasing his skills again soon.
“I had been home brewing about 10-11 years,” Tim describes. “I was working with a friend and we got into drinking craft beer about 15 years ago and it was sort of like a big change. Previous to that I would drink Genesee Light, Bud Light, and then I started drinking craft beer. There are so many different options and styles, and so I got interested in it. Somebody introduced me to a home brew shop in Tarentum. I ended up buying a $75 starter kit with a couple of pre-packaged ingredients. Once I started brewing I said wow this is drinkable, I could do this. And then it started snowballing. 4 or 5 years ago I built my own 3 vessel system on a double burner. Every year it’s like I have got to do something new. The whole engineering part of it I love.”
Tim Guido’s Hounds Run Brewing boasts between 12 and 13 different styles of beer. Some of Tim’s favorite beers to make include Kolsch, Rye IPA, Tangerine IPA, and a Gingerbread Stout for the holidays.
If you were at the 2019 NHHBF, then you got to taste Bucco Blue in all its glory. Brewing at scale, however, means accepting a few adjustments.
“The process (at Penn Brewery) is pretty much the same as what I do at home”, says Tim. “The 2 biggest changes are when I do it at home, after the primary fermentation happens, I rack on top with whole frozen blueberries. (Penn Brewery) won’t take a chance on wild yeast being on the blueberries, so we had to go with blueberry puree right into the primary fermenter."
"The second thing was the honey. I put my honey in usually on day 2 of primary fermentation. Here they won’t put anything in while its fermenting, so we had to put it in the boiler,” Tim said.
The excitement for the debut of the winning beer and the smile on its creators’ face overshadowed any differences in production methods.
It seems like a new brewery is opening almost monthly across Western Pennsylvania. Tim says he is appreciative of the home-brewed beer industry, and he roots for the small operations. “I sort of think the smaller the better. I like the shops that are set up in storefronts, you know a couple 1000 square feet.”
Tim came close to opening his own brewery a few years back. It having never launched, though, Tim considers a bit of a blessing, and a cautious tale for those with brewery ambitions.
“We looked into opening a brewery in Lower Burrell about 4 years ago. We actually found a place, we went through the zoning, I actually got financing and then the relationship soured with the owners of the building. We were ready to roll. We were ready to start signing the leases. I had my equipment picked out. Some red flags came up with the building owners and it caused us to take a step back.”
Tim and Andrea see home brewing as a worthwhile pastime, and don’t envision any plans to capitalize on the newly-found fame of winning the 2019 NHHBF.
“We are not interested in expansion now,” Tim said. “We’ve talked about it and we’re comfortable doing what we’re doing. It’s for fun. It costs us a lot of money because I like to expand and to do new stuff. This is a good avenue - finding these festivals where I can give product away instead having all this beer and wondering what I’m going to do with it. The biggest thing is that I like to brew as much as I can just to keep on getting better and try new things.”
Thinking of taking a shot at the North Hills Home Brew Fest crown? All you need is to do your research, says Tim. “There is so much research available on the internet through different publications and things. That’s all I do, read research and try and come up with new things. Don’t be afraid to do it and try something different. What’s the worst you can do? Drink bad beer for a couple of months to get rid of it.“
Tim and Andrea can't wait to return to the North Hills Home Brew Fest in 2020 to defend their title. But Tim has no qualms about the competition at this popular Pittsburgh event. There is an even bigger reason for why Tim and home brewers around the region continue to brew.
“Well I didn’t expect anything when I first entered. That was the nice thing about it. I had zero expectations. I went to the Oakmont festival a month later, soon after winning the North Hills Home Brew Fest, and I changed my lineup, which didn’t win that time. There’s going to be a lot of expectations now. There’s a lot of good beers that people are making for these festivals. It’s not about winning for me. It’s actually about the camaraderie. It’s about meeting the other brewers. I brewed for several years by myself. I never talked to anyone about brewing.”
“I like the camaraderie between them, says Andrea. “They’re not keeping secrets about their brewing methods or what they do. Everybody’s happy to share, and I like that about it.”
“You see that with professional Brewers as well, Tim said. “They may hide bits and pieces of their recipes, but if you look on any commercial brewer’s website, they'll tell you what goes into those beers. There are no secrets.”
It is no secret that the North Hills Home Brew Fest is returning in May of 2020 to the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Pavilion. We’ll be cheering Tim on, and can't wait to see you all there!
Outdoorsmen and sportsmen of all kinds, dust off your gun rack and gas up your pickup because our yearly pavilion party is almost here.
The Syria Shrine Sportsman’s Bash returns once again to the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Pavilion, 1877 Shriners Way Cheswick, PA 15024 this June 20th, 2019 from 12pm-5pm.
FOR TICKETS: Click here or contact Kenneth Stuart (412) 716-3159 - Make Checks payable to: “Syria Shriners”
Sponsored by the straight shooters of the Syria Gun Club, this 'Saturday Afternoon Special' is one of the Syria Shriner’s most popular annual fundraising events. There’ll be plenty of fun and guns again this year under the pavilion.
The crowd will be buzzing with excitement as each number is read. Food, Beer and Refreshments are included. Bring your appetites as well!
Ticket Donation Pre-sale: $30.00 / At Gate: $35.00. Doors open at 11:00 A.M. Free parking, beautiful June weather and non-stop excitement!
Over 100 hundred chances to win amazing prizes including cash and firearms. 1 gun will be given away every 10 minutes. Don’t miss the table raffles, gun tables and our many Units, Clubs and Caravans who are sponsoring their own prizes.
The 2020 prizes include:
ALL SOLD TICKETS MUST BE TURNED IN BY 12:00 P.M. JUNE 20, 2020 TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN
1 Number Per Ticket - 3,500 Tickets Sold.
Guns Provided By Sportsman Supply Co. 724-287-4294 - Coors Sponsored Event.
All Unsold Tickets Become the Property of Syria Shriners.
Must have Ticket to Enter Sportsman’s Bash – Winners need not be present.
FOR TICKETS CONTACT: Kenneth Stuart (412) 716-3159 - Make Checks payable to: “Syria Shriners”
Prizes void after 30 days. Not responsible for typographical errors. Continuous Raffles all day long include Table Raffles, Gun tables, 50/50, etc.
*All proceeds benefit the Pittsburgh Syria Shriners and are not tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.