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Tyler Shoberg / Forum Communications Co., Published April 29 2012

Horace Shooting Park back with a bang

HORACE, N.D. – Nearly 1½ years after going bankrupt and closing its doors to the public, a Horace landmark and popular destination for gun lovers is back with a bang.

Located two miles north and three miles west of Horace, The Shooting Park officially reopened for business earlier this spring. Boasting pistol bays, a rifle range and several trap and skeet fields, the public gun club offers shooting enthusiasts a myriad of options within a stone’s throw of the Fargo-Moorhead area.

But the big keys that new owners Mark and Karen Erdmann, of West Fargo, want to emphasize are tradition, safety and fun. In essence, the park is going back to its roots.

“I feel like we’ve listened to people,” manager Jesse Molstre said. “We’re giving them what they want.”

Other club standards returning to the lineup include league shooting, which kicks off May 6 and runs for 14 weeks, and the traditional Wednesday Steak Night.

The Shooting Park is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday through Sunday from April until roughly late November. Membership – which includes an 11-round punch card – is $100 for individuals, $125 for families, and $50 for youth. Pay-as-you-go fees are $8 for a round of trap or skeet, or $8 per visit for rifle and pistol ranges. The latter includes targets or pistol stands.

The Shooting Park had been an area staple since it opened in the late 1970s. But when new ownership took over in May 2007, some things changed – to the chagrin of regulars.

The facility’s iconic namesake was switched to Adventure Shooting Sports, even though “everyone still called it The Shooting Park,” Molstre said.

Adventure Shooting Sports, which boasted 1,200 members at one point, abruptly filed for bankruptcy and locked its doors in November 2010.

Months after Adventure Shooting Sports was locked up, the Erdmanns purchased it and began the arduous process of remodeling.

The 4,200-square-foot lodge, which needed to be updated, was gutted. Approximately 1,500 truckloads of dirt also were hauled in to build up the berms surrounding the pistol bays and rifle range.

The Shooting Park will have 13 trap fields, three skeet fields, three pistol bays and more than a dozen benches at the rifle range, which has target areas set at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards.

For Molstre, who has frequented Horace gun club his entire life, the upgrades and changes are a labor of love.

“It’s been a huge learning experience,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time at this range, in particular, and have been to hundreds of ranges across the country. We’ve tried to incorporate the good things from those places here.”

For more information on The Shooting Park, visit its website at www.theshootingpark.com, e-mail them at theshootingpark@aol.com, or call (701) 282-3805.

Tyler Shoberg is a reporter for the West Fargo Pioneer, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper