Brooksville Squirrel Hunt, a fun event that brings families together

The crowd at Stable Faith Cowboy Church in Brooksville.

Of the 168 teams that participated in the second annual Brooksville Squirrel Hunt competition, my sons’ team, #87, the Gronk team, finished 27th with a total weight of five 4-pound squirrels and 9.53 oz.

Truth be told, we left the weigh-in at Stable Faith Cowboy Church around 2 pm last Saturday feeling prematurely smug about winning. The $20 entry fee came with two tokens for the world-famous free footlongs, courtesy of the nearby Coney Island Drive-Inn, and our hot dog lunch was quietly spent investing the $1,600 purse for first place.

Reality hits you fast in the chipmunk game, unfortunately. After the final count, the blue ribbon was awarded to Shannon Brass and Dillon Pinkston, who submitted a 5-pound, 1.85-ounce bag. Now that the kids recognize the standard for future competitions, they are hungry to participate again next season.

Cile and Harrison Nance

Hosted by Michelle Payne of Brooksville, this squirrel hunting competition launched last year. It was so successful that Michelle and others decided to make it a tradition to encourage children to participate in outdoor activities.

“We had aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, cousins, moms and dads, and neighbors taking out youngsters (in competition), as young as 3 years old,” Michelle said. “This will be an annual event as long as we have supporters!”