PORTLAND -- The first shots were fired back in 1913 and a century later, the Portland Gun Club is still going strong.
“I shoot here every Thursday,” said 72-year old Ray Kiste, who has been a member for 45 years. “I retired about 19 years ago, and I’ve shot more than 100,000 rounds since I retired.”
Another longtime member, Warren Lacasse is 68 and still loves target shooting. “It’s a great sport, and this club’s 100-year anniversary speaks for it,” he said.
The Portland Gun Club is the only gun club located in the city limits. When it first opened, it was nearly impossible to get to the club by car during the winter months. Now a whole neighborhood surrounds the club on Southeast 174th Avenue.
“People used to come out here on the train with their knickers and their tweed jackets and their little caps,” said former Gun Club President Terry Mowdy, who has been a member for 32 years. “We’re grandfathered in, and people knew when they moved here that’s what they could expect. And here we are.”
And they are having a blast. The club has more than 150 members, young and old. It’s open for shooting on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and they welcome the public. The club features trap, sporting clays and 5-stand.
“I just enjoy shooting,” said member Moe Bragg. “I enjoy the competition. I’ve shot all over the United States. That’s what we all do. You shoot against yourself as much as anything and try and break a score.”
But it’s more than just the competition. It’s the camaraderie as well. It’s a chance to share stories and good times. Some members have been enjoying the club for more than 50 years and come every week.
“Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays. We’ll give Sundays to the wives,” Bragg laughed.
The Portland Gun Club will host the State Championships starting June 13 and it will run four days.