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Owen County has often been recognized for its beautiful landscape, its number of skilled craftsmen, and a strong sense of community. However, this summer Owen County will be recognized on a worldwide level when the U.S. Open Sporting Clay Championship takes place at Elk Creek Hunt Club.
The U.S. Open is the second largest sporting clay event in the world. More than 1,000 shooters from all over the world are expected to compete in the event, which takes place June 23-28.
Elk Creek Hunt Club Manager Gary Kathman said planning the event has been a two-year process.
“It’s been just like building a multiple-story building from the ground up,” Kathman said. “We’ve had to hire vendors, trappers and referees as well as getting sponsorships for things like shells and guns.”
Kathman said the event will be covered by different types of media.
“We’re still working on that aspect of the event,” Kathman said. “However, it will be covered.”
Kathman said at least 2,000 people will be in Owen County during the week of the U.S. Open, which will bring Owen County business-owners more profit that week.
“We’re hoping the event will bring a lot of money to our local businesses,” Kathman said. “With the amount of people who will be in the county during that week, I don’t see how it couldn’t.”
Kathman said Elk Creek Winery will be handling food for the event and there will be about 20 industry vendors available to provide shooters with ammunition and other things.
“The whole county is really pitching in to help put this thing together,” Kathman said. “Owen County Search and Rescue will be there with first-aid as well as the Sheriff’s Department for traffic control.”
County and city officials are also preparing for the event, as a way to show off the county and city.
Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith said she feels the event will benefit citizens of Owen County.
“This event is going to be very well attended,” Keith said. “We’re hoping it will bring in a lot of money for our businesses. It will also be beneficial to the county because we will be receiving a good deal of positive exposure.”
Owenton Mayor David “Milkweed” Wotier said he feels the event will make citizens proud of their city.
“I’m excited that this event is being held here,” Wotier said. “It’s going to be one of the biggest things to ever happen here. It will put us on the map and be something we can all be proud of.”
Several special events will take place during the week of the U.S. Open. The county will host a historical tour for visitors June 26. The tour will be guided by carriage through Owenton with a visit to the farmers’ market.
Storytellers will be set up at different locations along the tour to bring the past alive. Storytellers will include Bill Watson and Georgia Green Stamper, as well as others.
The First Annual Arts in the Park will be held June 27 at the Owen County Fairgrounds. The event will display works by local artists, as well as exhibitions, including wool-spinning and ironworking with a forge.
Entertainment will be provided throughout the day. Entertainment will also be provided at Elk Creek Winery throughout the week.
Kathman said he is confident the event will go well.
“I’m not fearful of anything,” Kathman said. “I know the event will turn out like we want it to. Let’s just hope the weather cooperates with us.”