“There are no accidents” Oogway told Shifu in Kung Fu Panda.

So perhaps it was no accident that SFS California was left temporarily homeless as recently as June when Dana Point High School had to pull out due to field renovations. Although things may have seemed pretty gloomy at the time, everything turned out just fine.  In a community-wide effort that brought over 1,200 players and 41 teams to Murrieta Mesa High School, SFS California raised $46,710, besting last year’s total by over $12,000.

Venues that can handle an event the size of Shootout for Soldiers are not easy to find in Southern California, especially on short notice.  Nevertheless the California Organizing Committee of Michelle Hankin, Tony Berk, Amanda Thibeault, Charlie Arthur and Kristen Macy was left undaunted and sprung into action. 

In seemingly no time, Arthur who is the head boys’ lacrosse coach at Murrieta Mesa High School had secured his home field with the support of his Athletic Director. 

The Murrieta area is known for its robust active-duty and retired military community, and Arthur predicted that the presence of that community would give this year’s SFS California a unique vibe, and unique it was.  The entire local community seemed to be chipping in. 

Local favorites, the Phoenix Patriot Band rocked away in the courtyard,  Murrieta Mayor Jonathan Ingram presented a proclamation, and nearly 100 volunteers helped the event run like clockwork.  Team Rubicon, a California partner, had an information table set up in courtyard while many of their volunteers were fighting the Holy Fire that was raging just a few miles up the road.  Save a Warrior, another California partner, also had a table.  Thunder, the Lake Elsinore Storm mascot, and DJ Jeff also showed up to energize the players and fans. 

National Charity Partners the Gary Sinise Foundation, Semper Fi Fund, Team Red, White & Blue, Army Ranger Lead the Way also had a welcome presence at the event.

On the field, the Stripes outscored the Stars 168-158 to give the Stripes a commanding 1,786 to 1,754 with the final leg of the journey being played in Seattle this weekend.

Everybody who participated in Shootout for Soldiers California deserves a shout out, but special recognition to Matt Simpson for being the top individual fundraiser at $2,423 and the top team, Long Beach Lacrosse Club for raising $4,120.  Not far behind were Tyler Wrightson who raised over $1,500 and CDMxSFS which brought in $2,991. 

Talks have already begun for 2019-If you want to learn more please contact California@shootoutforsoldiers.com


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