The Forest Grove Rod and Gun Club is locked and loaded for the Hans Saenger Memorial Trap Shoot this summer.
When health restrictions relaxed earlier this month the club’s new president Al Cooper said he and fellow organizers sprang into action to organize the popular annual event. Over the next few weekends, he said they’ll be pulling a few work parties to get the range all ready for the shoot scheduled for Sunday, July 11.
“We’re going to have 50 targets. We’re welcoming members, non-members, ladies, youth,” Cooper said. “Anyone who comes has to have their proper licensing and all the COVID protocols will be followed too.”
This year they’ll have three divisions: one for men, one for women and one for junior participants. Each winner will receive a hat, a tailor-made champion’s jacket and a trophy. The shooting kicks off at 11 a.m. and will likely go until 3 p.m. with a flat $10 entry fee. Cooper said they’ll have a barbeque and potluck lunch going at the same time.
The club hopes to see a big turnout, Cooper said. As this will be the first Hans Saenger Memorial he’s attended, he’s not quite sure how many people to expect but said if 20 to 30 people show up, he’ll consider it a success.
“What else are you going to do on a Sunday? It is a fun shoot and yes it’s a completion but it’s more fun than anything else.”
The club has resumed its trap shoot practices every second Sunday, starting on Father’s Day. Cooper said the next shoot will be on July 4 and they’ll go until the weather doesn’t allow it in the fall.
Meanwhile, their new clubhouse is nearing completion. The club is preparing to use money from a Cariboo Regional District grant to install a water system so the washroom will work, making the site more comfortable, Cooper said, and so that people don’t have to go out and “fight with the spiders” in the bush or outhouse.
Cooper took over running the club this year from longtime president Marshall Gaudreau. While Cooper only joined the club three years ago he said he used to be president and hold other executive positions with gun clubs in the Lower Mainland.
“I live in Lac La Hache, so I’m kind of in the middle. Lone Butte is a long way to go, Williams Lake is a long way to go but Forest Grove is close by and a small club,” Cooper said. “This is a small mom-and-pop type club, so that was more the attraction than anything.”
This summer he said they’ll be making several improvements to the range, partly to accommodate the RCMP, who will be using it for training, but also to entice people to join.
“We’re looking at putting in a skeet field. We have one trap house for shooting trap and we’ll put in a skeet house over the trap field which will also facilitate putting in a five-stand,” Cooper said. “It’s just fun stuff.”
Skeet shooting, Cooper explained, is a bit like the duck hunt carnival game. Clay pigeon targets emerge from two fixed locations at a variety of angles and shooters compete to see how many they can shoot with their shotguns.
He also intends to make the range itself a little safer by putting in a dirt barrier by the side of the rifle range so they can set up an archery range beside it. Cooper is hopeful a generous equipment operator will donate some time for some of these changes.