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Stories and History

Learn more about the history of Emmet Clay Sports with recollections from members and an assortment of newspaper clippings from years past.

Posted August 2011…Closing Remarks & Passing the Baton:

As time passed, and more and more developing occurred the Sportsmen’s Club was becoming more and more hemmed in. It was getting quite obvious that we would have to move. We had talked about moving quite a number of times down through the years, but there was quite a division among the members so it just fell by the wayside until it would come up again. Some could see down the road a lot farther than others. It finally got to a point where we move or get shut down entirely.

This old geezer sure didn’t want that to happen and I didn’t know of anyone that did. We were very fortunate in that we had two members that worked for the Little Traverse Conservancy, Tom Bailey and Doug Robinson. Tom’s father had worked for the DNR and Tom was quite familiar with state land and how it could be acquired. He explained that the state didn’t sell land but would trade.

While all this was being discussed a few of us were checking out different properties that we might be able to purchase. Access and the direction of shooting had to be considered because of sun and safety. The amount of acreage had to be considered too. We figured a minimum of 80 acres. We found an 80 in the SE corner of Emmet County that was quite interesting but access wasn’t the greatest.

When Tom Bailey got into the act things started to fall into place. There was State land off Robinson Road in Redmond Township that adjoined HSOC, around 90 acres. Somehow Tom managed a trade for our club if we purchased the 80 acres in the SE corner of Emmet County.

It was unanimous that we should move forward on this. It was an ideal place for what we wanted. The shooting direction would be good in regards to the sun. We had a good safety zone and lots of room for expanding. Access was also very good. The decision was made.

So the wheels began to turn. Our property on 31 was expensive and zoned commercial and had to be put up for sale. We purchased the 80 acres in the SE corner of Emmet County previously mentioned.

Tom Bailey and Doug Robinson went to work. The transaction was completed in 1996. As far as I could see it went quite smoothly. Our old property was sold to Fotchman Realty. We were all flying high. I don’t think shooting ever really shut down. We had an arrangement with HSOC to be able to shoot at their club.

Lots of issues were confronting ECSC. Logging had to be done. Skeet and trap fields had to be layed out & built along with deciding where to put the clubhouse. The late Bill Hubbell took the reins here. Two combination skeet and trap fields were layed out. They had to be terraced to accommodate the terrain.

Things were looking up. We seemed to be very lucky to have the right people for the job. When all was said and done we wound up with a first class shooting facility, bar none.

Financially we were sound. Along with selling the old property, Zulski Lumber has managed our woodlot, done the logging, and paid us well. We sold a Conservation Easement to the Little Traverse Conservancy to protect the ECSC club property for future generations. Very smart move to my thinking.

We received $150,000.00 (+/-) from the sale of the Conservation Easement. This was all reinvested to fund improvements. The club no longer had to struggle financially as I have seen in the past. We even have a new tractor, can you believe that!

As we’ve moved on things progressed. A very nice 5 stand was installed and became very popular. Then a crazy quail was installed separating the men from the boys! We have been at this location for 16 years and so far it’s never come to a standstill. I don’t think it ever will.

Getting back to standing still. I hear rumbles of sporting clays. Wouldn’t that be something!

I’m going to end the “Old Geezer” at this, but would like to say I feel very fortunate and am proud to have been a part of all this. I’ve enjoyed writing the history of the ECSC. I sort of got to relive the whole thing.

I’m not quitting without finding a replacement. You know the way of this club is, you don’t quit anything without finding a replacement! The man I have in mind is not an Old Geezer, but he is approaching “Geezer Hood” so there will be a change in the byline. His name is Rich McMillan.

Good luck Rich…

Carl Hitsman

Posted November 2010…ECSC Annual Pheasant Shoot:

From The Old Geez

The annual Pheasant shoot was enjoyed by all. I have to say “Dirk, you done a terrific job, and so did your help.” Of course, I have to admit that I probably had the best back-up man you could have. That man was Russ Glover. Hell he shot some at 70 yds. I didn’t recognize his ammo except I believe it was some foreign brand. And he was shooting a browning sweet 16 ga. Beautiful gun. Maybe that had something to do with the 70 yds shooting. All I had was an old 11-87 Rem. with Win. and Rem. ammo. Near as I can figure, I shot about 39 times. I think I missed a couple, but all in all I think I done pretty well for an old Geez. Russ, I’ll tell you what my uncle used to say “Pretty lucky pheasant that gets away from you and I Russ”. I’ll always remember that expression. I think it fit us quite well Russ.

On the walk up in the P.M. I think there was five of us. There was Fred Rice, Rich McMillan, Austin Koss, Doc, and myself. I shot the first one. It made my day. I think everyone shot at it and it was still flying so I touched off the old L-87 and down it came. I had the same opportunity again, but even I missed. I think the Good Lord says “I think this old geez needs humbling”. Well, I guess it doesn’t do any harm to be humbled.

One other thing I might add, you should try and get in with the right group for the walk up. Austin Koss said he got 7 in row. I don’t think I seen that many. Could be from being an old geez. Austin don’t feel guilty, your time will come, and you will be humbled.

I want to say I very much enjoyed shooting with you all and that I was pleased and proud of the good and safe gun handling that I observed. I’ve always hunted with 2 or 3 at the most, but the dog handler Davis done a good job with our 5 and I didn’t observe any unsafe gun handling.

The weather was ideal. Tom, thanks for the picture. It turned out real well.

To be continued…Carl Hitsman

Posted October 2008…As time went on:

As time went on, the shooting picked up and we got really busy. With two fields with auto-matic traps and lights on one of the fields, we certainly had become big time. So all the talk now became “registered shoots”. Lots of questions arose, were we qualified, do we have enough fields? How do we make the application, who will be the ramrod, and what about food and restrooms? There weren’t any facilities at the fields. Our only choice was the big club house, which was probably 100 yards or so from the fields, through brush, across a creek and sort of a boggy area. But these issues were all resolved. Brush was cleared, a little walk bridge was made to cross the creek, and a nice little trail went to the club house from the fields. I don’t remember who the ramrod was for sure, but I think it was Glenn Garrett. He was the only one that had shot in a registered shoot. The application was made, the date was set, and the chief referee for the state would come up one day and train certain ones for scoring and refereeing. I happened to be one of the referees. It was very exciting and educational. I can’t remember the chief Ref’s name but he was good and knew his business.

This was to be a four gun, two day shoot. I think it was 150 rounds per day. The 12 and 20 were 100 rounds each and the .410 and 28 were 50 rounds each. The bigger bore would be paired with a smaller bore. By now everyone is pumped up real good. After all the Emmet County Sportsmens Club is holding a registered shoot. I shot in all 4 gauges. I think I got back $17, but it was a very complicated system to figure out, who won what. We needed someone who was very familiar with this sort of thing, but didn’t have anyone. As I remember, the whole thing was a disaster. We still had the Rem auto traps with the never ending delay. I think we worked on them before the shoot and got them working quite well. But it would never last and some machines would be worse than others. It was very frustrating to the shooters. On top of that we had purchased some Remington targets for the shoot. Each stack was individually wrapped with newspaper to cut down the breakage in shipping. But lo and behold there was much breakage. We had more broken birds come out of the houses than 20 registered shoots should have all together. Broken targets coupled with delayed pulls, “DISASTER” is the best way I can describe it. Needless to say, the club never bought another Remington target or machine after that.

We had a Calcutta Saturday night under the lights and used all white birds (they weren’t Remington). That was fun, anyone could shoot in it. You didn’t have to be a member of NSSA. You just put your money down and got in line. There wasn’t any squadding and as many could shoot that wanted to. It was a miss and out winner take all. So the group thinned out real fast. I missed the first bird out of the house, so I got to shoot one time. It finished at station 5 with 2 shooters and Walt Jump was one of them, but he lost out.

It was fun to watch. The white birds would really show up against the black sky.

A few years later we held another registered shoot and it went fairly well. But still it was a real hassle when all the figuring was done. Each shooter had a certain class in each gauge. They had punches for any winnings of prior shoots. They had to be figured to see if they had any coming at our shoot and calculate the ones prior. The club got a certain amount of money for holding the shoot.

We had a couple of registered trap shoots and they went quite well. Wasn’t nearly as complicated. That was the extent of the clubs registered shoots. In spite of all the hassle and chaos, I never heard any belly-aching, or witnessed any hostilities or bad manners. They all seemed to be very nice people.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted June 2007…More on Ted Cartwright:

Ted Cartwright made quite an impression on all the local skeet shooters. He was always good at giving advice or coach anyone that needed help. If anyone was having trouble on certain targets, he would help them. He had some very fine skeet guns. I remember he had a Remington 32, which was a very popular gun. He also had a M12 12 gauge and 28 gauge. Also a model 42 Winchester .410. My friend, Herman Eddy would always remark how he would like a 28 gauge. And I used to say, why would you want a 28 gauge? It’s amazing how a person’s thinking will change. I think at one time I had three 28 gauges. I still have two. My thinking now is that 28 gauge is one of the best there is. So I guess my friend’s thinking wasn’t far off after all. But then he was 7 years my elder too, and it does make a difference.

To continue with Cartwright and his guns. He gave us a little demonstration with his Model 12 12 gauge. You have to be familiar with this particular gun to understand the demonstration. Everyone stood around watching like a bunch of kids. He loaded a live round in the chamber, closed the action, and proceeded to take the gun apart, separating barrel and receiver. The gun was held straight up. The barrel and slide action were lifted off very carefully and in a safe manner. Now Ted is holding the receiver by the stock straight up with a live shell sitting big as life all by itself on the bolt. Now we were really bug eyed by now. He asked if someone would volunteer their hat which someone did. He set the hat completely over the shell and asked if he pulled the trigger, would it hurt the hat. Now I want you to know he had our attention. He pulled the trigger, the shell discharged and I don’t believe the hat even moved and certainly wasn’t damaged. He did advise us all not to try doing it. I’ve never seen it done before or after. Perhaps some of you have.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted April 2007…Glenn Garrett Trophy Shoot:

Some Sundays in the summer were really busy so we would use the other field. Didn’t hire any trap boys though, there would always be someone who would volunteer. All in all things would go along pretty smooth. There were always quite a variety of shooters in expertise, experience, etc. Some had shot registered skeet and some were new at the game. I remember one by the name of Ted Cartwright who shot registered targets in the marine corp. He was quite something to watch. I had never seen anyone shoot as good before or since. He could shoot from the waist; he could hold the gun behind his back and shoot. He was quite a performer.

One year Glenn Garrett decided he would offer a trophy for a club shoot. We called it the Glenn Garrett Trophy Shoot. It was a traveling trophy and the shoot would be held every year. It was to be a 200 target shoot lasting 4 weeks or so. Well this old geezer had the top score and supposedly won the trophy, but low and behold Ted came that day and was asking about the contest and why wasn’t he told. We all felt it would be amateurs against a professional. Well that didn’t cut it with him and he was going to shoot in it come hell or high water. He asked if anyone would shoot with him and of course there was one that said he would. So the shoot began, 200 rounds, no breaks in between. The guy that was shooting with him was using a browning semi with the square back, 12 gauge. It had a cutts on the barrel. We were all watching. I don’t know just where in the shoot this happened but the guy’s cutts fell right off the gun. He was dumbfounded. Never the less, Ted Cartwright went on to finish with a 200 straight and claimed the trophy. It bothered me sure, but just to see all this take place was worth losing the trophy.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted April 2007…Automatic Traps Part II

The automatic traps still gave our club lots of trouble. They had too many moving parts. Chains would break; there were two of them. We would have them all made up so when they broke we could just replace them. There was a fellow I used to call in Mt. Morse I believe, can’t remember his name, but he knew more about the traps than the whole Remington Company. He told us the mixture of the lube to put in the gearbox to eliminate any clutch slippage. It worked great. I never met the man but would have liked to have. I think it was the first set of traps we got, came June 25th, on my wedding anniversary. Walt Jump, his son-in-law, and I were at the club waiting for the delivery. We were really gung-ho.

Now these traps were awkward and heavy, I don’t know how we ever got the one in the high house, but we did. They were mounted on skids and could be set right in place of the old manual traps, which had to be removed at the same time. There was to be no interruption in shooting whatsoever and there wasn’t. But for the three of us, it was quite a project.

Well now, let me tell you my wife wasn’t too happy with me at all. Like I said before, I have to give her a lot of credit for the success of the E.C.S.C., not that she gave a hoot about our success. That’s just the way it was.

For a while only one field was automatic so the other field didn’t get too much use.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted September 2006…Automatic Traps Part I:

Around 1960 it was decided to purchase a set of automatic machines. As I remember, there were only two different makes of these machines, Winchester and Remington. The Remingtons were chosen because they held the greater amount of targets. So a couple of us went to the bank. They loaned us the money with no questions asked. We figured the money we were paying the trap boys could pay for the machines, and it did. The club never had any extra funds but seemed to manage O.K. We were paying real estate taxes and that took a big bite from any profit. Also the big clubhouse was like a dead horse and was always costing the club money.

We bought our targets about 10 cases at a time, but we kept shooting. I don’t remember ever shutting down, rain, or shine. But it did fluctuate up and down. I think starting to shoot in the winter was a big boom. Winter league shooting began big time. Two man teams would be arranged so that the top shooters were matched with the lower class shooter and each individual shooter would have a handicap. It was done in as fair a method as the shoot committee could come up with. It was very enjoyable and everyone had fun. Lots of camaraderie.

We would shoot in the worst weather you could imagine. The automatic Remington traps gave us a fit, especially in winter. They had a design where a clutch in the gearbox had to engage for anything to function, cocking, throwing the target, or whatever. Well guess what would happen? You guessed it, the clutch would slip. This would give you a delayed pull, delayed cocking, and delayed the carousel operation. Now you talk about frustration, we sure had a barrel full of it!

The machine had to be taken completely down and the clutch cleaned and relubed. It had to be put back together and carried back to the houses. The work was all done in the field house in the dead of winter and maybe at night. This worked for a short time, but would be back to the delay, and the whole process had to be done again. There was a young snot-nosed kid that used to help me by the name of Jay Bosma, of course I was quite young myself back then. But this kid isn’t even an old geezer yet. In fact, he isn’t even approaching geezer hood. I have to say though he was a terrific help to me. Couldn’t shoot worth a hoot though, but that came later. As I became an old geezer, he seemed to get better. He seemed to really enjoy putting it to this old geezer, and still does. It bothers me some, in the fact that I might have been a bad influence on him. That’s the only thing I can think of really bad about him, but then I think if the situation was reversed, I’d be the same way.

Remington Arms finally came up with a modification that eliminated the delayed pull, but you still had a delayed cocking and resetting for the next target. We finally purchased another set of the same traps, but they were of a new version and didn’t need modifying. The winter gave us more trap trouble, which is understandable. We eventually put electric heaters in the houses and that helped considerably. The E.C.S.C. was on a roll and there was no stopping them. There was no way that shooting clays would be stopped.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted September 2006…Trap Shooting at the ECSC:

The ECSC also had a trap house for regular trap shooting but no machine, no cement pads, very basic. No one was really interested in trap shooting. But I believe it was W.W. Fairbairn and Sons who donated a Western trap, so we hooked it up. We still needed a trap boy to load a target each time, but he didn’t have to cock it. It was quite a unique way of operation. A pipe was run underground to the trap house from behind the shooting stations. A rod ran through the pipe from a long pipe handle and connected to the trap. You had to push the handle forward from a center position to cock the trap, and pull it back to center for the ready position. When the shooter yelled “pull” the puller would pull the handle back from center and the trap would release and throw the target. The puller would then, almost in the same motion, push the handle forward to cock the trap. Hence, the word “pull” derived from this method of operation, and the word “pull” is still used today.

I’m sure there are old geezers out there that can remember these times! Today, all the “puller” (note the name puller) has to do is press a button when the shooter yells, “pull.”

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted June 2006…Old Geezer Gets into Hand Loading:

Once the fields were set up and ready to go, we advertised a little by word of mouth mostly. E.C.S.C. was open on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until around 4 p.m. I got a new MEC super 250 ordered for 12 gauge. Most everyone who loaded got their components from Ken Meyer at Jenison. There was one skeet shooter from that area that would come up quite often. He was kind enough to deliver any components we needed. Ken Meyer had the best prices in the country. It was quite an education believe me to get to where you knew what you were doing. But paid off in the long run.

There were some shooters financially better off than some of us that bought new shells, so we had a small, and steady flow of empties. If you were shooting a semi or slide action gun, the empties would hit the ground. Most of us would pick them up as soon as we were done shooting, the next guy in line had to wait. The field would be picked clean.

Remington’s weren’t the greatest. These were all papers by the way, felt and paper wads. I’ve loaded Winchester shells where the mouth was worn so thin, that if you weren’t careful it would open up and the shot would fall out. I was shooting a model 58 Remington (predecessor to the 1100) and I would have to keep the gun barrel upright and not let the bolt slam shut. I learned that the hard way. If you held it in a downward direction and slammed the bolt home, all the b b’s would roll down the barrel. But that’s getting all you can get out of an empty.

It was amazing to me how these empty Winchester shells could be loaded time after time, go bang and break the target almost as good as a new factory shell. I never kept count of how many times an empty got loaded, but in 12 gauge it was many times. The smaller the gauge though, the less times they could be reloaded. When I would close the bolt real easy on my Remington 58 so as not to open the crimp on the shell, I would hit the bolt operating handle with the side of my hand so as to make sure it was closed and locked. Otherwise, the gun wouldn’t fire. Needless to say my hand was sore most of the time. Great gun though. You could hardly miss with it, especially with that big old cutts on the end of the barrel.

I got away from the 12 gauge though and went to smaller gauges. I have a single barrel .410 my father got me when I was 12 years old. First shotgun I ever owned. It was a Stevens and cost around $8. My Dad had to cut the stock off about and inch. I still have the gun. I was small for my age. Couldn’t hardly pull the hammer back, but it’s one of my fondest memories, getting that gun.

E.C.S.C. didn’t shoot in the winter in those early days. So one nice winter day I got Bob Lucy, owner of Bay Sports Shop, to go to the range with me and told him that I wanted to see if I could break some targets with a .410. I had to have someone in the skeet house to cock and load the machine and also trip it when I yelled, “pull”. I was amazed when I could consistently break station 4 high house. I was satisfied with what I had discovered, just shot a few shells and then had Bob try it. It took 3 or 4 tries before he finally started hitting them. I would watch out the chute to see if he hit or missed. Each miss I hollered more lead and he would do just that until he was out far enough. It did seem like a long lead, but with a full choke .410, it was very gratifying.

Well now I guess you know where this old geezer is going with this. New gun, .410 dies, and all the components. I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t gotten into this type of thing, that I could have been a multi-millionaire, NAH!!! I would have missed all the fun.

I don’t remember just when we started shooting in the winter, but when that started, I never again felt the thrill of when we opened in the spring. There is something to be said for that thrill. Not that I would want to see it ever shut down for winter. No, no, no, no…

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted June 2006…Old Geezer Appointed Shoot Chairman:

I don’t know how I was so lucky as to become the head honcho on the skeet range, but damned if I didn’t enjoy it. Could have lost my happy home, believe me. Every Sunday I was at the range. I don’t know how that wife of mine (coming up on 57 years) put up with it. Must have been love. Everything had to be hauled back and forth every Sunday, (shells all gauges) two 6 v wet cells, money, my own guns and shells.

A record was kept of all rounds shot and shells sold. So everything would have to be tallied. Just another task for this old geezer. My wife was a bookkeeper, so I would lean on her to balance the money and all. I would get upset and everybody around me had to listen to it. So my wife got both barrels, she not only put up with my impatience, but listened to all the details of the Sunday shoot all week. So I have to give her a lot of credit for the success of the E.C.S.C.

We had some busy Sunday’s. It was good to have two fields. Every so often a main spring would break and the field would have to be shut down until it could be replaced. That’s when the old geezer would come into play. We had spare parts to no end, which was a real asset. It was always fascinating to me when a machine would break most the birds thrown, how much advice different ones would offer. There were times when it wasn’t too obvious what the trouble was. I’m sure you people that have been involved in this sort of thing would agree. But one of the main ones to me was “it’s hitting the side of the house” which was what it looked like. The traps were well built and would operate all day long without a failure. But when some little thing would go wrong and it broke birds intermittently, it could be very exasperating. There were no experts in this field, but I knew more about them then anyone at the club. I was very familiar with how they were supposed to work, but it was very difficult to see what was happening when a bird was thrown, because it all went so fast. One thing I liked about these times was that all the shells were paper and they gave off such a delightful aroma. I can remember that aroma since I was 12 years old. You know guys it’s an addiction. There is not one of you that have smelled that aroma, that won’t agree. The plastics don’t seem to have that sweet aroma. It could be that the big shell Co’s are missing the boat here by not somehow introducing that aroma into the plastics. Like I say, it’s an addiction and I’m sure we would have many more shooters because of it. I ask some of you other old geezers, “What do you think? You know, these younger shooters won’t know what I’m talking about.”

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted June 2006…Herman Eddy became President:

Herman Eddy soon became president after we joined. Al Stein from Oden called Herman and asked if it would be possible to get the trap machines in working order and that he could get any parts needed to get them working. He also said he would have his handyman repair the houses and fix the steps going into the high houses. I think his name was Carl Lutz from Oden. So who do you think Herman called? That’s right, this old geezer. Naturally I said, “Let’s go for it.” Neither of us knew a thing about these machines. I sort of somehow got in the drivers seat on this project.

They were very interesting to me and I became real educated as time went on. Remington was real cooperative. They sent the instruction manual with blown up pictures and gave all the adjustments and maintenance procedures. When they were finally ready, Al Stein and I shot a round. Everything seemed to work fine. I shot a 22 using a 12 gauge Remington M58 with a cutts and spreader tube. I thought that was pretty good shooting for being the second round ever. They seemed very easy to hit them, but I was about 30 years old. Now they look like aspirin tablets traveling 90 miles an hour. Beats me what happened. I don’t know what Al shot, but he was using a Winchester 21 12 gauge. As I remember, I shot 2 rounds and bought shells, costing $8 total. I actually was afraid to tell my wife that I’d spent that much money for shooting. It sort of blew our budget.

I hadn’t gotten into hand loading yet, but did shortly after. My friend Herman had been loading hunting loads for some time. I went to his place to load my target loads. He had a Lee I think, using the little dippers for the shot and powder. Worked okay though.

To be continued next month…..Carl Hitsman

Posted April 2006…When this old geezer became active:

About in the late 50’s a friend of mind and co-worker, Herman Eddy, came to me and asked if I would go with him and join the E.C.S.C. We were both avid outdoorsmen and loved hunting pats. So I went with him and we became members of the E.C.S.C. There wasn’t any regular trap or skeet at this time. Everything was shut down. There was a 100 yd. rifle range, but there was Walt Jump and his main interest was holding turkey shoots.

He put on some very fine shoots. There was a sheet metal wall, probably 7′ tall and had double layers because there would be a trap boy behind it loading and operating a little target thrower. The wall was maybe 15′ long, shaped in an arc. The target thrower was mounted on a pivot, so the shooter never knew which way it would go. It made for some very challenging shooting. It went fairly high so as it could be seen over the wall. I remember some young fellow loaning me his Model 12, 12 gauge to shoot. It wasn’t much to look at, but I can tell you it broke the targets. I tried to buy it from him; even twisted his arm but to no avail.

Rifles were also used at these shoots. Walt devised a ramp to roll tires down. A target was fastened to the opening in the tire. This was done at 100 yards. Every deer hunter sure went for it. It was definitely good practice. These shoots always brought in a lot of people.

Everyone had fun and usually took something home, turkey, bacon, or eggs.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted March 2006…Old Geezer Skeet Shooters notes of the past:

Skeet shooting came to a halt in the 50’s. I don’t know the exact year, but Al Gruler, Sr. tells me that his Dad died in 1954 and he was probably one of the most active shooters and kept everything moving. He stored all targets, ammo, and whatever else at their place of business, “Gruler’s Feed Store”. He died right on the skeet fields at Charlevoix. According to Al Gruler, Sr., the groups would go back and forth from Charlevoix and Emmet County Sportsman Club. Glen Garrett was there and told me he was sitting right beside him when he died and he told Glen to let them finish the round. This was before I became active in the E.C.S.C., but I shot many skeet rounds with Glenn and his family. He would tell stories of those years and liked to reminisce. Some Sundays he would have all his boys and son-in-laws out shooting. Lots of times he would make up a full squad of 5. They all were pretty fair shooters.

I think after Frank Gruler died the skeet shooting at E.C.S.C. became dormant. The machines and houses were just let go. There were two skeet fields with four machines. They were Remington traps. The throwing arm would reset itself and the trap boy would set the clay target on the arm and pull a long handle to cock the machine all at the same time. It worked pretty fast. They were electrical released using a 6-volt wet cell battery and tripped from a location behind station four. Big lead covered wire was buried from this location to the machines.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted February 2006…When this old Geezer was asked:

…if he would be interested in writing a little something on the history of shooting skeet at the ECSC I can tell you I had second thoughts, but after thinking about it, some very fond memories came to mind. ECSC was a separate club from the skeet shooters. Skeet was organized in the early 30’s and was first set up near Wabmeme. A few years later it was moved north on US 31 next to where Northern Wholesale Trailers is now located. The ECSC had already been at this location for some time. Barny Kleinheinz donated the property.

The skeet shooters merged with the ECSC and set up the skeet fields. From there on ECSC became synonymous with skeet shooting. This took place in the 40’s, probably right after the war, I’m not sure, bit I did shoot my first round of skeet at this last location in 1947. I was using a Model 12 full choke 30” barrel as I remember, broke 19. I can remember one man on the squad hollering, “don’t shoot the house”. I guess I must have tracked the target a little further than they did, but I sure could break the target a long way away. I never returned for a long time. I was only 18 and had other interests.

To be continued next month…Carl Hitsman

Posted August 20th, 2011…”And Now For The Rest Of The Story…And It Is A Long One!”:

Follow the email thread below (between Russ G. & Chris B.) to read Rich’s response & first post to his new byline, keeping in mind this happened in February of 2011…


Russ wrote:

CB: Dinner did not seem wise while still at the club. It never quit snowing. Of course, the snow ended in Pellston and it was dry all the way home. We shot 125 after you left. I managed a 25 (with a couple cheapies) and 4 24’s. Rich is looking for a K-20 now. I managed to back into the ditch on the way out. Rich rescued me. RM: Thanks for the tow! Back soon. RG


Chris wrote:

Sounds good, except on being stuck. Rich told me about it later in the afternoon. Sometimes it snows like that at the club! Congrats on the straight, and the others too. If Rich is looking for a K-20 (a worthy project, just ask us!) we’ll have to introduce him to Szetella…and the whole Kriegenhoffer experience! Will call this morning and try to lay-away a Model 12 at Guns Galore… CB


Rich McMillan writes his first post…And now…The Rest Of The Story!


Quoting the late Paul Harvey: “And now for the rest of the story….”

First of all, permit me to correct the erroneous reporting. Regardless of what Russ claims, I am not seeking to purchase a Krieghoff, neither in the short or long term.

While it is true that Russ provided me the opportunity to shoot his beautiful Krieghoff, a magnanimous gesture or so I thought, it was clearly done duplicitously. First of all, he had just scored a perfect 25 with the Krieghoff and he really wanted to shoot my gun. Plus, since I had only hit 75% to 80% of the targets, he had an unspoken plan “to fix” my shooting (note: he succeeded). Unceremoniously, Russ used my XS to shoot almost a perfect 25, truly humiliating me since his score of 24 beat my all time personal best of 22 with the same gun. Given that Russ is an expert shot, I quietly accepted such humiliation. However, after shooting the Krieghoff and hitting less than 50% of the targets, I looked forward to resuming with the XS. Imagine my horror upon stepping up to station one, with my trusty XS , and hearing these words: “Rich, I had you shoot my heavier Krieghoff to enhance your gun speed and improve your follow through with the XS. Now let’s see if it did any good.”

Horror of horrors, now even my XS was rebelling, having just been shot nearly perfectly by the duplicitous one.

“Gun speed and follow through” was all I could think of for the rest of the day. Sadly, the XS and I never “bonded” again, resulting in even more misses than with that damned Krieghoff.

Out of ammo, just prior to night fall, our shooting was over. We locked up, said good-bye, and Russ departed for home ahead of me.

Finally, I was alone. Licking my wounds and consoling myself, I started the car to head for the cottage. While driving out along ECSC’s winding road and about half way out, I was startled! Walking ahead and toward me was the sillouette of a man, similar in stature to my afternoon’s shooting partner. It couldn’t be but it was, the very one who with his Krieghoff had “tipped my head and shooting upside down.”

Remarkably, Russ had decided to exit ECSC’s roadway by driving his usually reliable truck in reverse for the entire length of the road. So be it for perfection, well almost perfection, since behind Russ the truck was now abandoned deep in the snow where the roadway simply did not go. Fortunately for all of us who shoot with Russ, this man shoots far better than he drives–at least in reverse.

Magnanimously, I spent the next thirty minutes with Russ helping to extract the truck from its predicament, including shoveling snow, and eventually giving Russ a tow. Now rescued and resolute in both spirit and form, both the truck and its sole occupant proceeded undaunted again down the roadway, BACKWARDS. Happily, Russ and the truck, when last observed, were proceeding “forward” on Robinson Road back to Alpena.

So be it for another good day of winter shooting with friends at ECSC.

With apologies to my Krieghoff shooting friends,


Foot notes:

(1) For the record, the afternoon began with three shooters. However, after missing his first two shots from station one, the President then settled down and hit the next 48 straight with his .410. Asserting “executive privilege” and claiming “too much to do,” he abandoned us and went home. Russ and I carried on.

(2) Since this episode might willfully be misrepresented, I have taken the liberty to share these facts with other Krieghoff owners known to me.

(3) Guns Galore owes a commission to Mike Mitchell for the sales of two Browning Model 12s.

To be continued next month…Rich McMillan

Ever wondered what our Sporting Clays Course looks like?

Last fall we engaged a very creative photographer who utilizes a drone.  He actually flew under the tree canopy through the whole course, and gives you a true “birds eye view” of both the course and the club property.

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