By Starrla Cray
WAVERLY, MN Whether people want to sharpen their shooting skills or cultivate friendships, the Waverly Gun Club hits the target every time.
The club was formed about 40 years ago, and has around 70 members.
“We get some joining every year,” club treasurer Leonard Schlief said.
Schlief has been helping with the club’s trapshooting leagues for the past 15 years. One of the leagues, for ages 12 through high school, practices every Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“This year, I think we have about 20 kids,” Schlief said. “I had my sons in it, and now my grandsons are in it. They have a lot of fun.”
Later this summer, the league will compete against other teams at a state-wide shooting event in Alexandria.
Schlief is also involved with an all-ages trapshooting league Thursday nights, starting at 6:30 p.m. This year, there are 10 teams, with between five and eight people on each team.
Schlief, who has more than 25 years of shooting experience, is on the team “Hit and Miss.”
In July, there is also a special ladies’ trapshooting league, Schlief said.
Another popular event for women is “ladies’ only night.”
“Women can come out and shoot for free,” said club member Al Moy. “They come from all over the Twin Cities, Gaylord, and all the nearby communities.”
The Waverly Gun Club is a corporation that’s owned by its members.
“Different people have different duties,” Moy said. For the past few years, he has been in charge of ladies’ night.
“It’s an opportunity to get familiar with 22-caliber handguns and rifles,” he said. “We have range safety officers and instructors out there.”
Ladies’ nights are the second Tuesday of each month, May through October, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
The club will provide 22-caliber guns, pistols, and rifles, as well as targets and ammunition. Participants are welcome to bring their own, if they would like.
Many of the supplies for the gun club are provided through grants from the Friends of NRA, www.friendsofnra.org.
“The club has been fortunate,” Moy said.
This year, the Friends of NRA will be donating $5,000 to the club, which will go toward shotguns, clay pigeons, ammunition, and other needed items.
Moy, who is part of the Friends of NRA in Wright County, was recently named the Midwest region Friends of NRA volunteer of the year.
“It’s been quite a successful group,” Moy said. “They’ve been quite good to the Waverly Gun Club.”
Dedicated shooters enjoy coming to the Waverly Gun Club year ‘round.
“We’re open all winter, except November,” Schlief said. “We’re probably one of the few ranges in the area to be open in the winter.”
Many of the club events are during the warmer months, however. The handgun league, for example, had practices throughout May, and DNR safety training took place in April.
There will be a pistol league starting in September, and a “black powder shoot” with carbines, pistols, cannons, and mortars will take place in August. Each year in October, there’s also a rifle-range sight-in event.
Regular meetings are the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the clubhouse.
The clubhouse is also the site of conceal-and-carry permit training. An application for the class is available on the club’s website.
“The clubhouse gets used if they have classes, and for hunter education,” Moy said.
The lower level features a recreational clubroom and restrooms, while the upper level has a large meeting/training room.
“It’s a pretty well-equipped club with nice facilities,” Schlief said.
Shooting enthusiasts have a variety of options at the Waverly Gun Club. Moy’s favorite is pistol shooting, which has a 25-yard range and featuring eight stations.
Rifle target shooters can practice on a range of 50, 100, or 200 yards.
For trapshooting, there are two automatic trap throwers, and lighting for night shooting.
The club is located north of Waverly at 4465 Desoto Avenue SW.
A family membership is $200, and it includes children ages 18 and under. Membership forms are available on the club’s website, or by calling (763) 658-4644. Someone is at the club Thursday nights to answer questions.
For more information, call Al Moy at (612) 889-4423, Ken Reinert at (612) 308-9259, or Russ Johnson (763) 675-3527.
Details about the club are also available at www.waverlygunclub.org.