Here at ISOtunes, we strive to make an impact in our community. Our sponsorship program connects us to organizations and customers around North America, and we love hearing their passionate stories. One customer in particular, Tony Shivley, is making a big impact in his community with the East Porter County Clay Crushers. ISOtunes Sport is an official sponsor of Tony’s shooting team, and we felt his story is worth sharing. Read on to learn about Tony and his team's impact in East Porter County, Indiana.
Who is Tony off of the range?
- Tony is Vice President of a large concrete company, traveling around the United States as part of his day job. He enjoys riding his Harley, and his family love tractor pulling. He was raised in the country and has been involved with tractor-pulling since high school.
Who are the East Porter County Clay Crushers?
- “We are a school shooting competition team for students in grades 6 through 12, based in northwest Indiana,” says Shivley. “Our mission is to provide safety training and education to students while teaching responsibility, integrity, and sportsmanship.”
What made you want to work with kids?
- One of the most impactful experiences of his life occurred 20 years ago. His niece was diagnosed with spina bifida - a condition that affects the spine. She had multiple surgeries at Riley Children’s Hospital, and Tony frequently visited. Seeing the children at the hospital made a lasting impact on Tony. He saw firsthand how many kids were sick but were still very happy despite their diagnoses. “This fueled my desire to help kids,” Shivley says. He started a golf outing he led for 18 years, and he sat on the Riley Children’s Hospital Board of Directors. Despite not having kids of his own, Tony feels very passionate about working with children.
What got you into shooting?
- In October 2020, he picked up sporting clay and went to Texas for the national sporting clay competition. His friend, a pro who lives in Michigan, was able to direct Tony to competition and introduce him to a ton of amazing people. This launched a love for trap shooting and sporting clay.
Why did you establish the East Porter County Clay Crusher?
- At this national competition, he noticed a lot of kids shooting and competing. Which got him thinking “we don’t have anything like this at home,” said Shivley. The schools in East Porter County, Indiana, are very small; they don’t even have a football team. Because there are only three elementary schools in the entire district, Tony realized it wouldn’t be too difficult to unite all schools in a shooting team. “It’s the only sport in the district that competes together. All other sports are competed by individual schools only,” Shivley said. Around the time the pandemic hit, his niece was an adult, and he wanted to pivot where he placed his energy. After doing a lot of homework and research, Tony felt confident that he could gently introduce the idea of a shooting competition to the School Superintendent. Tyler Brock, Indiana State DOT Officer, helped back Tony’s idea and presented it to the school board. The idea passed unanimously, and the organization has taken flight since then.
Why do you feel so passionate about teaching firearms safety and education?
- “I want to educate kids at a young age so they don’t abuse or misuse a weapon,” says Shivley.
What are some valuable lessons you think students can learn from your program?
- “Responsibility is so important,” says Shivley. “If you are going to be responsible for holding a firearm, then all your other responsibilities must be in line.” The staff communicates directly with the students, not via the parents. Once they know the student is responsible, they can trust them to be safe.
How has the East Porter County Clay Crushers left an impact in your community?
- Shivley claims their team has generated a lot of excitement and brought many people together. Parents consistently contact the team staff to ask how they can volunteer and help. “Not a week goes by that I don’t receive phone calls asking ‘how can I start this in my own community?,’” says Shivley. “We are very lucky because we have the proper facilities, and raised money to rebuild two trap houses.” Shivley and his team share his facility with other teams. They applied for nonprofit status, which they got, and their team started an endowment fund. Tony applied for both of those himself. “If there's anything in my life I'm truly proud of, it’s getting those started,” says Shivley. “We now have a board of directors. Within the year, we have put together a very good mousetrap.”
To learn more about Tony’s team, check out his team’s website, and head to our sponsorship form if you’re looking for support for your cause.