PELKIE—Muzzle loaders from Calumet south to Quinnesec, from Ishpeming westerly to Ontonagon, and from many towns in between took part in a Black Powder Shoot sponsored by the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club, M-38 Pelkie, on Saturday, February 2nd.
Braving cold temperatures and a foot of new overnight snow, these shooters took aim at paper targets as well as at heavy metal gongs in Flintlock and Traditional Side Hammer Muzzleloader Competition.
Some were decked out in fringed buckskin, some wrapped in colorful blanket coats, and others were braced against the chilly winter weather clad in the traditional "Yooper" Carhart jackets, blue jeans, swampers and chooks.
This new O.S.C. event, open free of charge to the public, is spearheaded by Jon Henkel and his wife, Sandy, both excellent marksmen who live in the rural Pelkie area. This couple, new members of the club, has become instrumental in starting a new program that can be enjoyed by many.
The first Black Powder Shoot received much praise from those who were newcomers to the range and club facilities as well as from Ottawa Sportsmen's Club members who joined in the fun. Those who entered the competitive shoot as strangers to one another left after having made new friends who shared a common interest in black powder shooting.
Lyle Merrill, President of the Quinnesec Falls Muzzle Loaders Club and one of the Directors of the Upper Peninsula Muzzleloaders Association spoke briefly after the warm-up lunch and award presentation held in the clubhouse after the shoot.
Merrill applauded the Ottawa Sportsmen for promoting Black Powder shooting and indicated that he will gladly help the club and O.S.C. member Jon Henkel in any way possible to continue to build a successful Black Powder Program.
Other U.P.M.L.A. members who attended were its President, Clyde Mikkola of Calumet and Past President Jim Jeffery of Lake Linden. Ripley resident and treasurer of the Quinnesec Muzzle Loaders Club Dave Ouillette was on hand early to help the Henkels with setting up the shoot.
Joe Dyke, Vice President of the O.S.C. and a muzzleloader who also took part in the competition, took a few moments to welcome everyone to the club facilities and inform the group about the Ottawa Sportmen's good works.
Very few shooters left without receiving an achievement ribbon or door prize, but the top three winners in the Traditional Side Hammer Gong Target Division were Dave Ouillette, Jon Henkel and Stathi (Scotty) Pappas of Hancock.
Others who also placed in this division were Phil Carlson from Ontonagon, Sandy Henkel and Mike Mickus, who resides in Hubbell. Mike took some ribbing as he had left his gun at home, bringing only a camera to take pictures for the OSC Website. But, after being handed someone's muzzleloader and being coaxed into competition, Mike went home with a couple of ribbons as well as some very nice pictures.
First, Second and Third prizes in the Flintlock Gong Competition were awarded to Clyde Mikkola, Lyle Merrill, and Dave Paquette, who hails from L'Anse.
These fellows also contended in the Flintlock Paper Target Division changing the order somewhat with Merrill placing 1st, Mikkola taking 2nd, and Paquette keeping his 3rd place spot.
Traditional Side Hammer Paper Target Division blue ribbon winner was Phil Carlson. Other ribbon winners were from top to bottom, Jon Henkel, Scotty Pappas, Dave Ouillette, "Gunless" Mike Mickus, and Sandy Henkel.
Junior Youth Division competition saw 12-year-old Seth Merrill of Quinnesec placing first, and brothers Matt (age 11) and Josh (age 14) Jaehnig of Chassell placing second and third, respectively. This was an over-all competition with the young men shooting at paper as well as gong targets.
Many others who didn't place as ribbon winners still went home with some very nice door prizes donated by the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club and others.
Jon Henkel has indicated that there's been interest shown in allowing the use of scope-mounted muzzleloaders at future shoots. In order to accommodate all who would like to join in, Jon will open competition in this Scope-Mounted category at the next Black Powder shoot on March 2 as well as for future shoots scheduled at the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club range the first Saturday morning of April and May.
Jon also said he will gladly open a Women's Division if more ladies would like to come out to the range.
He stressed that this Black Powder event is meant to be fun and is a friendly competition only.
The indoor range building is heated for quick warm-ups and the clubhouse will be open for hot coffee and sweet treats during the shoot with a hot lunch served after the competition. Ribbons and prizes will continue to be awarded each month through the final competition on May 4th.
For more information on the Ottawa Sportsmen's Black Powder Shoot please call Jon at 353-6511 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.