HomeNewsArticle Display

Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

Participants in the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute grill steaks for dinner at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts members of Sheppard Air Force Base for a clay shooting competition, a dove hunt and a steak dinner every year. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

82nd Training Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Lyle K. Drew, second from left, and volunteers from Sheppard Air Force Base present a gift of appreciation to Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark, third and second from right, at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021.. The Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts Sheppard Air Force Base every year and organizes various shooting activiites, hunting and a dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

Deborah Clark speaks before dinner at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021.. The Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts Sheppard Air Force Base every year and organizes various shooting activiites, hunting and a dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

Emry Birdwell stands at the evening dinner at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts Sheppard Air Force Base every year and organizes various shooting activiites, hunting and a dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

Volunteer workers start the fire on grills at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute east of Henrietta, Texas, on Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Dove Salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and includes a clay shoot, a dove hunt and a steak dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

82nd Training Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Lyle Drew, shoots in a field east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. Sheppard Air Force Base is hosted annually on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch to participate in huntng, shooting competitions and dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

82nd Medical Group Commander Col. Felicia Burks participates in a clay shooting competition at the Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The clay shooting competition was one of many events at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute hosted by the Birdwell-Clark ranch. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

82nd Training Wing Vice Wing Commander Col. Kirk Peterson participates in a dove hunt at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salut on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Birdwell-Clark Ranch hosts members of Sheppard AFB annually for various shooting competitions, hunting and dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute

Members of Sheppard Air Force Base watch the clay shooting competition at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The dove salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and includes various shooting competitions, hunting and a steak dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 19

82nd Training Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Lyle Drew, shoots a shotgun at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute on Sept. 11, 2021, Henrietta, Texas. Sheppard Air Force Base is hosted annually on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch to participate in huntng, shooting competitions and dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 19

82nd Mission Support Group Commander Col. Charles St. Sauver participates in a clay shooting competition at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Clay County Dove Salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and hosts members of Sheppard Air Force Base every year. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 19

82nd Training Group Commander Col. John Lofton III participates in a clay shooting competition at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Clay County Dove Salute hosts several members of Sheppard Air Force Base and consists of a clay shooting competition, a dove hunt and a steak dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 19

982nd Training Group Commander Col. Terry Koester shoots in the clay shooting competition at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Clay County Dove Salute hosts members of Sheppard Air Force Base on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 19

A volunteer worker shows clay shoot participants how to load ashotgun at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The clay shoot is one event in the Annual Clay County Dove Salute which hosts several members of Sheppard Air Force Base every year. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 15 of 19

Steaks grill over a fire at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Clay County Dove Salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark ranch and hosts several memebers of Sheppard Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 16 of 19

A volunteer worker cuts steaks for participants in the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The event is held in annually with Sheppard Air Force Base service members on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 17 of 19

Active duty service members season their steaks at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Dove Salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and includes a clay shoot, a dove hunt and a steak dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 18 of 19

A volunteer starts a fire on a grill at the 16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute at Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Dove Salute is held on the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and includes a clay shoot, a dove hunt and a steak dinner. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

16th Annual Clay County Dove Salute
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 19 of 19

80th Flying Trianing Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Mueller stands in a field at the Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, Sept. 11, 2021. The Annual Clay County Dove Salute is held to invite Team Sheppard into the community and as a thank you to active duty service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant)

HENRIETTA, Texas – What began as a gesture of appreciation and thanks in the wake of 9/11, the annual Clay County Dove Salute has turned into a much-anticipate event for many at Sheppard AFB.

It was fitting that this year’s event fell on the 20th anniversary of the day the worst of humanity reached the shores of the United States. This event, hosted by Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark at the Birdwell-Clark Ranch east of Henrietta, Texas, was the 16th annual hunt and steak burn.

Every annual dove salute is special and heartwarming, but his year’s Dove Salute was especially memorable for both the Birdwell-Clark Ranch and the Sheppard community.

“There’s a couple of reasons why this year’s salute is special,” Clark said. “It’s coming out of that COVID experience, to be able to have that camaraderie again, and number two, for it to fall on 9/11 and for that to actually be the inspiration behind wanting to do this for our military.”

Clark remarked that this was just a small way that she and her family could say thank you to the armed forces and that the Dove Salute was one of the highlights of the year for them.

“We have lots of opportunities to share what we’ve been given out here and that’s important to us,” she said.

Over 140 members of Team Sheppard showed up to enjoy the Texas hospitality of the Birdwell-Clark family.

Brig. Gen. Lyle K. Drew, 82nd Training Wing commander, said he and others from Sheppard are thankful for the gratitude local communities show the men and women of Sheppard. He said it’s important for those in uniform to participate in such events to return the appreciation shown to them.

 “The community is committed to the success of Sheppard Air Force Base,” Drew said, “and any opportunity when they open their doors, we need to come in fully and happily and engage with them.”

The event consisted of a clay shooting competition hosted by the Big Covey Quail Coalition, a dove hunt and a steak dinner, in which participants were able to grill their own steaks. Winner of the clay shooting competition were awarded a Top Gun trophy and bragging rights until the next year’s event.

At the end of the night, Brig. Gen. Drew presented the Birdwell-Clark family with a plaque of appreciation for their continued hospitality.