The sport of American trap shooting has something to offer whether you are 9 or 90 or confined to a wheel chair.
Not all that many sports can lay claim to a blanket statement like that.
The Pondera Shooting Sports Complex, one mile west of Conrad, just past the ball fields, is well on its way to completion.
When finished, the complex will be home to several different types of shooting sports as well educational programs, like Hunter Education.
Volunteers are still working to complete the indoor shooting range, however, the trap range has been up-graded with an automatic thrower, handicapped accessible cement shooting lanes and a new cement tap thrower house.
As soon as the temperatures become a little less brutal, the pop-pop sounds of shotguns will be heard across the grain fields as trap shooting begins at the complex every Wednesday at 6p.m.
Anyone, with an emphasis on anyone, who is interested in shooting trap is welcome to join the fun, Scott Johnson tells the Independent-Observer.
Whether you are a seasoned pro or have never picked up a shotgun ,you are welcome to shoot with the trap group. “There are many shooters who will be happy to help you learn the discipline,” he says.
He explained that they normally shoot a handful of squads at 16 yards, a few at handicap and now at the end of the evening we will be able to shoot a round or two of doubles.
This has been made possible by a grant from the National Rifle Association and others. The trap shooters were able to purchase a new top-of-the-line Pat Trap thrower, build new trap houses and install one new set of sidewalks.
In addition, the Tri-County league has monthly shoots in Conrad, Choteau, Shelby and now Havre. The public is welcome to come out and watch the shooters.
Johnson says that shooters take aim on 50 birds (clay) at 16 yards and 50 birds at handicap. Kids get the first 25 birds for free and after that is $4 for 25 birds. For more information, contact John Shevlin at 278-7043, Johnson 278-9176 or Jerome Glimm, 278-3574.
Youth who have turned nine by Oct.1, 2008 have the opportunity to sign up for the 4-H Shotgun project at the Pondera County Extension office by May 1.
These youth will shoot in June with a certified 4-H instructor and have the opportunity to compete in the Marias Fair Shotgun Tournament in Shelby on July 12.
All youth shooting in this discipline will have to demonstrate the physical and mental maturity to handle a shotgun to their instructor, in order to be accepted into the program.
They will also need to join 4-H in order to participate in this project. This is separate from the youth program described above for 12-18 year olds, which is not a 4-H program.
The Conrad Lions Club has received the prestigious Most Improved NRA Rodeo award for 2008.
Like it says, the award comes for hard work at the rodeo grounds in making improvements to put on a better show for fans as well as making the arena better for the cowboys and cowgirls.
At the facility itself, Lions members rebuilt roping boxes, made improvements to the pens behind the boxes and striping chute and catch pens for timed events.
“This makes it much more user friendly for our contestants and the chute crew,” commented newly elected Lion president Joel Rouns.
Other improvements were made in the announcer stand with new siding and windows; a new deck for the ambulance crew was added; chutes and arena fences were painted and made more attractive and new flag poles for the American and Canadian flags were installed.
For the fans, the Lions Club obtained new bleachers from the CMR Fieldhouse and rearranged the old bleachers, giving more choices for seating .
Rodeo fans can still opt out to sit on the hillside or use the new bleachers.
A new ticket booth has been added, so now you can park your vehicle first and then purchase your ticket on the way to your seat.
Fans will recall that the date for the Whoop-Up Rodeo has been changed to the second weekend in June, when hopefully the weather is a little warmer.
This also makes it possible for cowboys and cowgirls to hit more than just one rodeo for that weekend.
Increased money, $1,000, was added for the rough stock, which helps draw more contestants, and $750 was added for the timed events. The Whoop-Up Rodeo also became co-approved with the Canadian Rodeo Association, which helps to draw more contestants from north of the border.
In addition, a new sponsor program was initiated which generated more advertising to help pay for the added money and ground improvements.
In other news out of the Lions Club, at their Monday meeting, Kenny Kronebusch was elected to be the Whoop-Up Parade Grand Marshall.
There will be more information about Kronebusch in the I-O as the parade and rodeo draw near in the second weekend in June.
An election of officers took place on Monday as well.
J. Rouns was elected president; Mike Harding is the first VP; Dan Wilcox is the second VP; Tom Ophus is the secretary; John McFarland is the treasurer; Jerry Jerome is the Lion tamer and Lyle Orcutt is the tail twister.
As you may recall at the beginning of the New Year in 2008, the members of the Pondera Medical Center Wellness Center started recording the miles they were walking/running and tracking it on a map.
What started out as a fun way to keep track of mileage has turned into a quest to journey around the world.
It is 2,229 miles from PMC to New York City and the wellness group “strolled” into New York on Feb. 4, 2008. The group had the Atlantic Ocean at their feet and any number of destinations to strive for. Given the time of the year, they chose to try to make it to Ireland in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
They “swam” the Atlantic and arrived in Dublin at 5:10 p.m. on March 17, in time to partake in the celebrations. Dublin is 5,409 miles from PMC – that’s a lot of miles all done on foot. From Dublin they headed south to Rome, Italy, which is 6,591 miles from PMC. The group arrived on April 5, and celebrated with an “Italian Potluck” lunch down in the Wellness Center.
Next stop Athens, Greece 7,083 miles from PMC, then Iraq 8,442 miles where a warm thank you went out to all the troops. From the war zone they made their way through Iran (8,884 miles) and Afghanistan (9,889 miles) before heading to Shanghai China, which was 12,900 miles from PMC.
From China it was back in the water for a “swim” to Alaska (I have no doubt in my mind the members were dreaming of the breath taking scenery that Alaska has to offer, while working their tails off on the bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals).
The members arrived in Anchorage (17,330 miles) on Oct. 17.
From Anchorage they headed to Honolulu, Hawaii (20,112 miles), arriving on Dec. 29, to soak up some sun. From Hawaii they swam to Acapulco, Mexico, logging in 23,901 miles. They arrived in Acapulco, Mexico on Feb. 12, 2009.
From Acapulco they headed up the coast to San Diego, California and then on to “Sin City,” Vegas, Nevada.
The only two things I could get out of the members were (1) they arrived on March 4, and (2) they have collectively logged 25,708 miles. Other than that they are sticking to that saying, “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas”. From Vegas they traveled to Salt Lake City then back to PMC. They arrived at PMC on March 13, at 11a.m. (Friday the 13th is not as bad as everyone lets on).
The Wellness Group has logged a total of 26,639 miles in just a little over a year.
The Wellness Center members traveled 5,425 miles farther than they needed to, but the scenic detour was worth it. This was a fun way to put everyone’s day-to-day grind in prospective. It is amazing how the miles added up and how a relatively small group can accomplish big things.
Editor’s note: Charlene Bouma, Manager of the PMC-Wellness Center, submitted this article.