The Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association saw many families attend their annual Family Fun Day and Open House on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event included shooting demonstrations from a wide variety of disciplines, including cowboy, close quarter battle, rifle, rimfire, and more.
Guests and club members of all ages dropped by the range on Saturday to enjoy the sunshine and a bit of shooting, too. Some participated as spectators, while others showed off a lifetime of skills. Some even had the chance to shoot a gun for the very first time.
Joel Potvin is just six years old, but he shot his very first gun during the Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association’s Family Fun Day.
Leo Regnier is the association’s secretary. Regnier and fellow association member Bruce Greenwood worked together to assist the young shooter at one of the range bays on his exciting day of firsts.
Potvin fired his first shot from a shotgun, which he admitted: “kinda hurt”. Next, he tested out a handgun.
“I missed both targets,” said Potvin. “But I’m gonna try again.”
He did just that. After Regnier and Greenwood offered a brief instruction about hand positioning, safety, and where/how to squeeze the trigger, Potvin took another shot at the range. This time around, he sniped three targets.
“That was good,” he said. “I hit two balloons and one spinner.”
Kim Roth is Potvin’s mother and says he was very well taken care of at the event. The family attended with Potvin’s grandfather Jon Adolph, who is an avid hunter.
Potvin may be new to target practice, but he had some advice for fellow shooters: “Just aim for the targets.”
Before noon, Regnier said he had already experienced a steady stream of people either participating at or spectating from one of the range’s ten bays.
Grayson Klassen, director of public relations for the Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association, was available Saturday to assist participants and spectators at the event. He estimated that between 20 to 25 different firearms were on site at the range, but noted that people seem to really love the AR10 semi-automatic rifle.
Klassen said that more members came out to volunteer for this year’s event than in previous years. The club actually has between 550 to 600 total members, but Klassen anticipates that number to rise by year’s end, especially once the hunting season begins.
“The last few years we have seen an increase in members,” said Klassen. “People want to try it out.”
Klassen and all instructors at the range were sure to remind newcomers that shooting a gun is a safe activity when practised correctly.
Holly, Klassen’s wife, has been a member of the Fish and Wildlife Association for three years now. She was thrilled with Saturday’s turnout and happy to be “blessed with great weather”. In recent years, Holly said the association has seen more young families come out to participate and even join the club.
By promoting safety and inclusion, Holly feels that the association is working to de-stigmatize any perceived negative associations that might accompany the sport of shooting.
“Hopefully education takes away some of the fear.”
Tom Nicholson is the Rifle Committee head for the Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association and was in charge of the rifle bay on Saturday. He had four of his own guns on site for the event and offered a bit of advice and background information on the firearms used by Family Fun Day participants.
Kerri Mingo was one such participant. On Saturday, she shot a “Mare’s Leg” with guidance from Nicholson. The “Mare’s Leg” was designed in 1832 and is commonly referred to as a western gun. The firearm was preferred for short range shooting and was particularly useful for trappers who may have had to defend themselves against a bear or other wildlife, Nicholson explained.
Mingo came away from her practice shots with a huge grin and told Nicholson she was giddy.