There may have been a football game, but Superbowl Sunday didn’t stop members of the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club from getting in some competitive trapshooting anyway.
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Standing atop a hill overlooking spectacular scenery, groups of shooters took turns blasting away at orange-colored “clay pigeons” under an azure-colored sky.
The “pigeons” were saucer-shaped biodegradable combinations of clay and resin mixed in with a little fertilizer.
Orangevale resident Mickey Razy was one of the competitors. A member of the club for two years, he said he’s been a shooter and hunter for 45 years, but now he just does it as a hobby. “I like the camaraderie,” he smiled.
Another competitor was Pat Carsten of Placerville who was there shooting with her husband. She said she began doing it for fun but soon realized she had a strong competitive streak as well.
She, along with others, were participating in the Pacific International Trapshooting Association Multiplex in which they competed against other shooters in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho and British Columbia. A scorekeeper tallied their hits and misses and then sent them off to headquarters for ranking.
Carsten said the competition is held once a month from June to February. Normally 10 to 15 shooters from the club participate in the event. Club traps throw single, double, and “wobbler” pigeons. “Wobblers” are pigeons with varying flight paths.
Rob Charny, who is president of the club, was competing on Sunday along with everyone else. President for 13 years in a row, the Diamond Springs resident said he was also president for five years in the early 1980s.
“We are the oldest active gun club in California. We were established in 1911, but have not always been at this location,” he said, noting that they have the only public shooting range in the county.
Charny said the club started out as a group of men who liked to fish, hence the “rod” in the club name. They would get together to stock the surrounding lakes by filling big barrels of fingerlings. Then they would haul the barrels up to the lakes either on their backs or using donkeys.
However these days, few of its 800 members are there for the fishing. Instead they come for all the different shooting activities the club has to offer.
The calendar is the key
Open year round, Charny said the club runs off a calendar that lists all of its scheduled events. That calendar is featured prominently on its Website.
The schedule lists all the different groups using the facility as well as when the 40 acre range is open for practice.
With a membership that is 70 percent men and 30 percent women, Charny said people take up shooting for different reasons. “As a hobby, a sport, to hunt, or for self-defense,” he said.
He said the cost of membership is only $50 a year for those under 65. For those over 65, it’s $30. Since it’s a family membership, the one fee covers everyone. In addition, people pay a nominal fee to shoot at each range with nonmembers paying a higher fee.
Cowboys and a shoot house
In addition to the trapshoot range, the gun club has three ranges on its ground floor with the capacity to run three events simultaneously.
One range is for pistol shooting where 10 people at a time can shoot at metal and paper targets that can be set at varying distances up to 25 yards.
A middle range is left open to people’s imagination and can be set up for any number of scenarios such as shooting around a door, through a door, around a barrel or under a car.
The third range is for rifles. It has 13 positions to shoot from with targets at 50 and 100 yards away. The rifle range includes a chronograph stand for measuring the velocity of hand-loaded bullets since many people like to reload their own.
The far end of the rifle range also has a “shoot house.” It’s a multi-room shack where people can learn how to clear a house — live. Paper targets are set up throughout the house and the shooter goes from room to room, peering around corners and shooting to clear it of the bad guys.
The gun club includes a wide variety of groups using its facilities including an El Dorado County youth trap team of high school students; an action pistol group for those with semi-automatic pistols; a group of junior rifle shooters; and law enforcement personnel including the El Dorado County Sheriff’s department, district attorney’s office, animal control, U.S. Forest Service, and Cal ISO — which helps maintain the state’s electrical grid and has its own law enforcement team.
Another group using the gun range is called the Cowboys. They are guys and gals who dress up in period costumes and shoot firearms from the 1890s, including pistols, rifles and shotguns. They hold competitions once a month for speed and accuracy, with their next event scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8 starting at 8:30 a.m.
Clean up and train up
Being that the club is an all-volunteer organization, Charny said everyone helps take care of the gun range. People have to pick up their own casings and they have work parties to maintain the property and keep the weeds whacked.
The club also sponsors a program called P.L.I.N.K. which stands for Please Leave It NRA Kleen. The program consists of groups of volunteers who go to shooting areas in National Forests and other public lands and clear out the trash. Charny said up to 30 people are often involved in these clean ups.
Charny said that safety is maintained at the range by enforcing the rules and by always having range safety officers present, who are also volunteers.
“Everything is safety, safety, safety with us,” he said. “We make sure everyone here follows safe practices. Our range safety officers ensure that. That’s what makes the club important — safety, education and experience.”
Charny said there is no requirement for anyone to take a safety course to shoot, but they do offer instruction through independent instructors for those who want training.
For those particularly interested in getting a Carry Concealed Weapon License, there is an upcoming class on Saturday, March 9, which Charny will be instructing.
It will be an all-day training program that is $125 for first timers and $75 for renewals. In the morning he will focus on firearm proficiency which includes ensuring the person knows how to target a gun, clearing it when it jams, and showing proficiency. The afternoon is more classroom with a discussion of all the legal issues associated with gun use. If people pass the course, he issues them a certificate. They then have to take the certificate to the Sheriff’s Office for further processing.
Those interested in the class can contact him at either 530-903-8752 or go to his Website at sierragun.us/services.html.
Asked about the current drive to further restrict gun rights, Charny said, “We consider ourselves helping to keep everyone appraised of what’s going on regarding Second Amendment rights. We are an NRA affiliated club, and are a staunch Second Amendment supporter of the right to bear arms.
“The current assault gun legislation is unconstitutional and it’s written so it won’t apply to politicians like U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein who has her own concealed weapons permit and bodyguards. It’s absolutely silly that a pistol grip or color can make a gun illegal.
“Our club is here to promote gun safety, responsible use of firearms and Second Amendment rights.”
Those interested in learning more about the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club can do so by going to its Website at edrgc.com/ or calling 530-903-8331.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.