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Auburn Trap Club History
The Auburn Trapshooting Club had its humble beginnings in the late 1940’s in a cow pasture of a dairy off Auburn-Folsom Road owned by Orin Ellingston. When housing began to encroach on the property, a group of members began looking for another site and found nearly 25 acres at Lorenson Road off Highway 49.
Howard Staats, now living in Loomis, recalls that he joined forces in 1949 with a group including Al Dias, Sam Vitas, Orin Ellingston, Paul Clayburn, Skip Hawkins and realtor, Bud Simpson in finding and arranging the purchase of the property. Staats, then an automobile salesman, sold the front half of the property bordering Highway 49 and funds (about $3,000, he recalls) from that sale were used to pay off the mortgage on the remaining 25 acres and start building the club anew. A Quonset hut was erected as a clubhouse, together with a “privy” and the first trap was installed. the first trap one was donated by another club President, Jim Harris. Another trap was obtained through an NRA grant.
According to current board member T.E. Treadway, the initial operation was far from the space age “voice calls” now employed on the firing range. “The old traps were operated manually by one man sitting at the 25-yard line, cocking and releasing the clays with a long steel rod, and another man in the trap dropping into the mechanism.” Press Lannom Jr., who, like his late father served several terms as club President in the early days, says he was shooting at the age of 13 (in 1957) and watched the club fold in the late 1960’s. “The old timers weren’t coming around much anymore and younger people weren’t as interesting in shooting then,” he says, “and that’s when we were building the new block clubhouse. Because we were relying on volunteer labor, construction had halted until one day we fired up the wood stove in the old quonset hut and started a chimney fire in the attic.”
The metal structure was saved, though, and sold to a farmer in Lincoln for hay storage when the new building was opened. Lannom says, too, the open-air overhang which now is a focus of club activities (recently renovated, replacing wooden support posts with steel) was erected with funds from the local fire department, which kept its trucks parked there for several years until a permanent firehouse was constructed.
Auburn nurseryman, Earl Eisley, another long-time member, recalls the clubhouse was erected around 1969, during the term of Bill Misplay. Instrumental in seeing the project through to completion with donors including: Glass Mountain Block of Carson City, Nevada; former Auburn Mayor Paul Brocker, who provided the cedar for spectator’s benches; Pacific Bell Telephone, donated the telephone poles which line the parking lot; Kaiser Cement supplied the concrete; Tanko Well Drilling installed the well and pump and club President Bill Misplay did the plumbing and electrical work. Numerous other club members pitched in their labor at no charge since the club treasury was at rock bottom.
Nebraska resident Bob Swanson, another of the club’s early members who also served as President, confirms that the club was “absolutely flat broke” in the late 1960’s and credits Ed Krieger and Bill Misplay with stirring up interest in trapshooting. “One of the first things I was told then was to never allow anyone on to the property without a warm greeting”, he says. “It was a very friendly place to be.”
Happily, the early 70’s saw a resurgence in interest for trap shooting and the club began the climb to its present vitality.
In an effort to reach and support the community the club provides a place for individuals (members and guests), youth trap teams such as CYSSA, and other various clubs and organizations like The Boy Scouts of America members (in pursuit of a shotgun shooting merit badges) and Law Enforcement training, a safe and friendly place to shoot and practice the sport of Trapshooting.
In addition to its recreational pursuits, a continuing major goal of the Auburn Trapshooting Club has been to promote firearms safety, providing a venue for NRA Shotgun coaching and Hunter safety classes.
Auburn Trapshooting Club strives to be the best neighbor possible and contribute to the common good of Placer County and the surrounding communities while providing a safe, professional and fun environment for its members and guests.