Havre Daily News
A member of the Bullhook Bottoms Blackpowder Club wants to quell any inaccurate perceptions about the group.
“We're not were not just a bunch of beer-drinking, loud-mouthed fools out there shooting,” Chuck Gehringer said Thursday. “It's all about family, family, family.”
The organization is holding its 27th annual blackpowder shoot this weekend at Fort Assiniboine. Competitions start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Organizers of the Memorial Day weekend shoot said they expect to have about 100 registered shooters. The registration fee is $2. The awards ceremony will be Sunday at 4 p.m.
Competitors of all ages are welcome. A few years back, Gehringer's grandson, who was 2 years old at the time, won a shooting competition.
Jim Griggs, the club's range officer, has three generations of his family competing this weekend. Griggs, who has been with the club since it was formed in 1976, said he just loves the hobby and who he shoots with.
The weekend's events include various marksman competitions along with a few more jovial games. Participants will vie for a prize in a pancake race. Teams of two start with all the fixings to start a fire including one match, wood and kindling, a four-inch pan and a dollop of pancake mix. Each duo cooks the pancake until it's almost done and then one of the pair has to run 25 yards with the pan, flipping the pancake mid-run, before returning to the starting point. Whoever finishes first wins a frying pan with a decoupage design and their name on it.
“It's a kick. It's a hoot,” Gehringer said about the pancake race. He said the competition was created one winter when a few of the guys were sitting around “dreaming up diabolical things to make people go berserk.”
Another event thought up when a few
members of the group “just didn't have a heck of a lot to do,” Gehringer said, is the frying pan throw in which three-pound, 10-inch cast iron pans are hurled for distance. This competition is for the ladies and men dressed in drag. He said none of the guys have gone to the effort because “they can't just roll up their pants and throw on their wife's dress - they have to wear what women have on underneath as well.”
The one who can chuck the pan the furthest gets a sweatshirt embroidered with the blackpowder clubs' emblem and their name on a trophy, which will be displayed at the business sponsor of the event. This year Pizza Hut in Havre is the sponsor.
Most prizes are shooting related and handmade by the club's members. Awards include carved wooden chairs, shooting tables and wool blankets.
Participants of any age can compete in the adult competitions but grown-ups cannot drop down to the junior levels.
Gehringer said the results are posted on a board similar to how golf scores are reported so there are no secrets among the club.
“So I can see how badly this 12-year-old girl just kicked my can,” he said.
Gehringer said the club has had shooters from as far away as the Netherlands, Japan and Great Britain.
Although the shooters bring their own guns for the competition, Gehringer said those interested in trying out one of the weapons can usually find a marksman willing to oblige.
“It's really a wonderful, wonderful group - very giving and forgiving, fortunately,” Gehringer said.
The club is not only for kicks but is also a community-orientated organization.
They help many local causes and recently aided in a benefit thrown to raise money for the group's president, Dusty Huestis, whose daughter has a rare birth defect. The dinner and auction brought in about $18,000 for Huestis and his family.
shoot has “gone from an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend into a big production,” Gehringer said as he was cooking sloppy joes for Saturday evening's feed.
“I don't know if that is good or bad, but doggone it, it's fun - it's an absolute riot,” he said.
The supper will be open to all registered members and their families and also will include buffalo and beef burgers.
Gehringer said although weapons including guns and knives are involved with the competitions, the group always stresses safety.
Griggs said all are welcome to the shoot and the club encourages visitors.
The shoot will be held no matter what kind of weather the weekend brings. Gehringer said the club has shot in snow, rain and wind.
The latter actually being a benefit for the Havre-area shooters, in fact they are lost without it.
“If we get a clear day, it's sad to see us fumbling around without the wind,” Gehringer said.