Diagnosed in 2008, Carmen Neil has survived breast cancer not once but twice. This self-proclaimed small town Georgia girl watched her grandmother and mother both battle breast cancer and has been an active volunteer in that world long before her own diagnosis. She calls it a “stormy blessing”, one that showed her what she was meant to dedicate her life to. Carmen was grateful that she had the means and support to have diagnostic tests and treatment but realized she was incredibly blessed. “There are so many other women in the local communities that do not have the means. They put it off until it’s too late, and this is what this is about.”
The mission of Ta Ta Bang! Bang! is: To end late stage breast cancer by providing funds to local not-for-profit community hospitals for screening and diagnostic testing for breast cancer diagnoses. In it’s inaugural year in 2013, there were 80 shooters. Two years later, over 300. The Georgia event is the flagship and now kicks off the multi-state tour every year. Ta Ta Bang! Bang! has raised more than $150,000 to date helping patients in 28 counties/hospitals in Georgia and Tennessee.
When Carmen Neil invited me to shoot at Ta Ta Bang! Bang! Georgia, I knew I wanted to get involved. I called my good friend Tarra Stoddard from Reel Camo Girl and asked her to make the drive down. Her family had been touched by this disease and if we were celebrating ambitious women who live life to the fullest, I needed her on my team! A friend of mine introduced me to two young female competitive shooters, Morgan Goette and Julianna Johnson, who happened to be local to the event and they rounded out our team of 4. We banded together to raise a goal of $1,000 for our team, and with the generosity of friends and family, we exceeded that goal.
Let me tell you that if you only somewhat care about a cause, you don’t put in the effort to run a sporting clays event let alone a multi-state one. I was greatly impressed by the attendance and organization that day. Team Ta Ta Bang! Bang! worked tirelessly on the course and behind the scenes to make sure everything went according to plan. There were kids of all ages shooting, families, teams of co-workers; it was a beautiful showing of support.
I’ve shot in a lot of charity events and let me tell you, this was no “fluff course”! This was set up for the true competitor. I’ll admit, without telling you my score, that this course kicked my butt. As for my teammates, it was incredible to watch the young competitors shoot. Their focus and calmness was something you’d expect from shooters twice their age. I am proud to say that Morgan was awarded the prize of top female shooter with a score of 89.
The sponsors were a who’s who of the shooting and hunting industry including: Cabela’s, Browning, Beretta, Benchmade, Ameristep, Millennium Treestands, 4-S Advanced Wildlife Solutions, Havalon, and Bresser to name a few. The low country boil dinner was a real treat for this land locked gal, as was the live auction that followed.
Carmen says “Breast cancer tried to end me. Now I’m trying to end breast cancer.” Spend a day with her and you will know a strong and beautiful woman on a mission.
For information on shooting in the upcoming 2017 events, donations or sponsorship please visit tatabangbang.org
Team Registration Table
Team Sportsman Channel L to R: Tarra Stoddard, Courtney Nicolson, Julianna Johnson, Morgan Goette.
Old Hudson Plantation, Sparta GA
Morgan shooting, Julianna planning her shot.
Courtney Nicolson with Carmen Neil, Founder of Ta Ta Bang! Bang!
Alex Clark showing off his flair.
Some of the awards.
Carmen awarding top female to our teammate Morgan Goette.