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Novices, sharpshooters try out six-guns, skeet shooting in introductory sessions

Posted Aug. 06, 2011, at 5:34 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 08, 2011, at 5:49 a.m.

Poll Question

Debbie Harman of Penobscot gets a few pointers on proper shotgun handling from Albert Faust during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club, of which Faust is a member. The Penobscot County Conservation Association sponsored the introductory shooting sports event at the club with the help of a National Rifle Association Foundation grant.
Debbie Harman of Penobscot gets a few pointers on proper shotgun handling from Albert Faust during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club, of which Faust is a member. The Penobscot County Conservation Association sponsored the introductory shooting sports event at the club with the help of a National Rifle Association Foundation grant.
Austin Nute, 14, of Winterport pulls the trigger on an AR-15, a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, to hit a target 200 yards away during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club.
Austin Nute, 14, of Winterport pulls the trigger on an AR-15, a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, to hit a target 200 yards away during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club.
Austin Nute, 14, of Winterport gets a few pointers on how to properly handle a Bushmaster AR-15 from club member Dan Lawrence (seated left) as club president Ron Barron (in background) looks on during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club.
Austin Nute, 14, of Winterport gets a few pointers on how to properly handle a Bushmaster AR-15 from club member Dan Lawrence (seated left) as club president Ron Barron (in background) looks on during Saturday's open house event at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club.

HAMPDEN, Maine — There was a slight delay in the action Saturday afternoon at the Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club.

The six-shooters and shotguns had been left a little too long in the sun and needed to cool off before the cowboys and cowgirls could handle them. The five would-be robbers waited patiently on the range to be shot again and again by visitors seeking to try out cowboy action shooting.

Dave Bartlett brought three of his four sons — Luke, 19, Zach, 15, and Chad, 13 — all of Bradley to a daylong program called Introduction to Shooting Sports. To a man, they hit their targets and walked away smiling with satisfaction.

“I grew up with the opportunity to shoot competitively,” Dave Bartlett said. “A lot of the high schools had teams when I was a student. I brought my sons so they could get an introduction to competitive shooting. I thought this would be a good experience for them.”

The program was sponsored by the Penobscot County Conservation Association and the Hermon Skeet Club and the Hampden club. The daylong program designed to accommodate up to 100 people was funded by the National Rifle Association Foundation based in Fairfax, Va.

Established in 1990, the National Rifle Association Foundation is the tax-exempt arm of the NRA, according to information on its website. It promotes activities designed to promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological and artistic context.

Funds granted by the foundation benefit a variety of constituencies throughout the United States including children, youth, women, individuals with physical disabilities, gun collectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and competitive shooters, according to its website www.nrafoundation.org.

“We had a similar event two years and three years ago,” Charlie Rumsey of Bangor, an NRA instructor who teaches frequent gun safety and training courses, said Saturday. “Afterward, membership spiked at both clubs so we thought we’d have another one.

“We want to share this experience and encourage more people to take it up,” he added. “We want to get kids out of the gravel pits and on the ranges.”

For Rumsey, aka Rimfire, safety comes first but a close second is dressing up like gunslinger form the Old West in cowboy garb, including the boots, hat and gun belt.

“It’s been a good experience and a lot of fun,” Chad Bartlett said. “What I liked best was the variety, I guess.”

Debbie Harmon of Penobscot said that although she has been bird and deer hunting, she has never done the kind of competitive shooting she tried out Saturday in Hermon and Hampden.

“I’d never done anything like this before,” she said. “This is fun but it’s been a great opportunity to learn.”

The event was also an opportunity to leave the range grinning from ear to ear after shooting down those bad guys looking to rob the only bank in a one-horse town transported to Maine for an afternoon from the Old West.

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