Members Of Oakdale Gun Club Are As Special As Their Facility

A few weeks back I spent an afternoon at an east metro gun club in the Twin Cities and I walked away quite impressed.   In fact, I learned something about gun clubs that day.   It’s not just the facility’s modern equipment and location that makes it so great.   It’s the people who all share in the experience and their love for guns that is the true foundation of any successful club.

Now, mind you the Oakdale Gun Club in Lake Elmo, Minnesota is no ordinary club.   In fact, with 1,500 members and a waiting list that takes roughly 3 years to get in as a new member, the OGC is one of the largest clubs found in Minnesota.   It’s boasts members from throughout the Twin Cities, but predominantly within a 20–30 minute drive from its gates.

IMG_0476Like I said this gun club has all the amenities of what you would expect in a first-class operation.   A modern trap range, competition range, various pistol and rifle open ranges, a clubhouse and even a classroom that stays busy with lots of educational activities.   Recently OGC spent over $640,000 to update the facility and to ensure it will be meeting the needs of its shooters for many years to come.

But let me get back to what make this or any gun club special.   It’s the people.   People who care about their passion, but also people who care to share their knowledge and experience with other like minded individuals.   And this is what makes a gun club like OGC really stand out from the crowd.

I met Mike Emery, the owner of Northern Rifleman, who also is OGC’s Marketing and PR director.   Mike helped me host the first Annual Midwest Fishing & Hunting Bloggers Day at their facility and ensured all bloggers who attended received a top-notch experience at the event.   My hat’s off to Mike for all he did to assist us that day even though participation by bloggers did not exactly overwhelm us.   But that’s for another story.

I also got to meet one of the other personalities at OGC who made a big impression on me.   His name is Michael Gerster who happens to be the club’s legislative director.   Michael is a tireless advocate for our shooting rights and spends a great deal of time working at all levels of government to ensure politicians don’t trample on our gun rights.   He works with local landowner-neighbors to the club when they have noise concerns, he lobby’s park boards, city/county government, all the way to the Minnesota State Capitol where he advocates for gun owners statewide.IMG_0475

I also met a host of members who are proud of their club as they very well should be.   Each year OGC teaches between 400–500 firearms safety students for the MN DNR which I believe is the largest single facility in the state to accomplish that task.   Speaking of classes, the OGC puts a lot of emphasis in education.   Take a quick look at their class offering HERE.   I’d venture to say just about any type of class on firearms or safety a person might need can be found at the Oakdale Gun Club.

Now, you might think why should any of this matter if I’m not a member.   Please check OGC’s website before making plans, but much of the facility and education is also available to the general public.   While the facility is open year-round to members who pay a fee and volunteer club service hours annually, non-members can also enjoy much of what the club has to offer on a more limited basis.   For instance, OGC offers a Novice Trapshooting Night to encourage the general public a chance to get some coaching and participate in a safe, fun, low-pressure environment.

IMG_0459Indeed, I’ve spent a great deal of time touting the wonderful people and opportunities at the Oakdale Gun Club.   Certainly, if you are within easy driving of OGC you need to check it out and make some new friends who share a common passion.   On the other hand, if OGC isn’t nearby it should still serve as a great inspiration to check out what your local gun club has to offer.

All across this great country you’ll find gun clubs providing opportunities for shooting fun and learning.   In many instances they are only a short drive away.   If you’ve been considering a gun club membership take the time to act soon.   You’ll discover you’re not just joining a club with access privileges…you’ll also be opening the door to make many new friendships with some of the best people around.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Heading Off To The SHOT Show Soon

Just to let you know this blog will likely not be too active during the coming week because we will be off to the 35th annual SHOT Show held in Las Vegas.   Because there is too much to see and do at SHOT, several years back I decided how I wasn’t going to spend precious time sitting down writing about the experience when I should be living it.   Sorry, that’s my policy.

In the meantime, however, I urge you to follow my Twitter feed:  (@jim7226)

And/or LIKE my Sportsman’s Blog Facebook Page:

as this is where I will be actively communicating the SHOT Show experience in realtime.

I do, however, understand the desire to hear about what new products are being introduced and may be on the marketplace soon.   Therefore, I urge you to also follow these two blogs as they do an exceptional job of delivering the new firearms products information quickly and with skillful knowledge on the topic:

Viva Las Vegas!

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Are You Ready For The Next Zombie Attack?

“I just don’t get it!”   That was a comment I remember an older gentleman saying at the January 2012 SHOT Show.   His remark was in reference to the growing number of booths that were showing some item associated with Zombie warfare.   It might have been a display showing blood…guts…and plenty of gore, or it might have been something much more innocent such as paper Zombie targets.   Whatever the case, there seems to be a Zombie revolution taking place in the shooting world.

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, Zombie shoots in the country takes place at Ahlman’s Gun Shop in rural Morristown, Minnesota.   This morning I decided to check it out.   I did not participate, rather, I watched and took video of the massive event.Photo3

So, what is a Zombie shoot you ask?   I gotta be honest…when I left the shooting range I was still scratching my head over this question.   I suppose Zombies are much more acceptable to shoot than people, but the truth is a Zombie shoot is just a good ol’ fashion excuse to get out and shoot your guns.   That’s really all it is.

In today’s event there were no scores kept.   It was just a bunch of good-natured guys and gals spending a day doing what they love—shooting.   Oh, and with that many folks toting guns safety was a top priority, but I was amazed at the quality of shooters and the respect nearly all of them showed for keeping things safe and playing by the safety rules.

Scattered throughout the gun range were plenty of bloody, nasty props just to remind everyone the true reason they were there.   And most participants had ample supplies of ammunition to feed shotguns, handguns, and the ever present modern sporting rifle.   A bevy of stages allowed shooters to get their fill of short range, as well as long range shooting.

Quite honestly I was very pleased to have made it out of there alive, considering I came unarmed just to cover this event as media.   No Zombie attacks.   Perhaps they figured that because I was not carrying any guns I did not have a brain worth seeking.   Who knows.

The scene outside Ahlman’s Gun Shop in Morristown, Minnesota. It’s a Zombie apocalypse. Proceed with caution.

The point is as silly as these Zombie shoots may seem to some within our shooting ranks, there is no denying how the Zombie craze is catching on at a feverish pace.   And that’s good.   Seriously, the person who developed this concept is a genius and should be congratulated by every gun owner.

The more people we can attract into shooting the better off our shooting heritage will be.   Not everyone owns a gun to go hunting.   Many firearm owners have them purely for self-defense or pleasure shooting.   Still, we are all brethren who must fight for our shooting rights together.

Not everyone likes to target shoot at paper with concentric circles and a bullseye.   Some folks want action, suspense and a little bit of flair which comes with going on a Zombie hunt.

That old timer I overhead at the SHOT Show in January…I’m not sure what role he plays in the shooting industry.   I suspect he could have been a dealer who was just walking the show looking for deals.   Makes me wonder.   How long will it take for a guy like that to recognize that if he quickly embraces this silly Zombie craze…well, heck…he might be able to sell a few more toys to folks who look for wacky ways to have fun?   I suspect not too long.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.