'PULL' | Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club prepares for 20th annual show and sale

On any given day Michael McInerney, president and range master of the Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club, can find someone at the pistol range.

It is, after all, one of the club’s most popular ranges.

So, it’s no surprise the organization is celebrating a crowning moment this month: membership has reached a record high with 875 members. Twenty-four people signed up just last month.

The achievement comes just in time for the club’s 20th annual Sportsman’s Sale and Gun Show on Sunday, Sept. 22. The sale features hundreds of items for sale from members such as hunting, fishing, and shooting gear, guns, knives, optics, reloading and other sporting goods.

Admission for the event is $1 with proceeds going to the group’s Safety Club.

The show lets members use the venue to buy and sell their excess equipment, McInerney said.

New this year is a Sunday brunch beginning at 9 a.m. The club is also hoping to attract motorcyclists from the 2013 Oyster Run in Anacortes, which is being held the same day.

The club is a sponsor of the Oyster Run for the first time this year. McInerney said to expect many motorcycle riders around the area.

For club members, the annual sale is fun and practical. Don Bernard is hoping to sell some of his gear as he packs his bags for a move to Montana.

Bernard, a Langley resident, has been a member for about two years, but hasn’t been shooting as consistently he would like, he said. He will be selling two of his shotguns, a pistol, reloading bins and other supplies at the show.

The event aims to help shooters connect with each other and acquire those hard-to-find items. Some things, such as handguns, ammunition and reloading supplies are in demand, McInerney said.

“In today’s political climate we have trouble buying some supplies,” McInerney said.

McInerney advised participants to arrive early, but there are also benefits to arriving late. By the end of the day some sellers will try to bargain their items off for any price, he said.

Last year about 150 people came to the event. Sellers seemed happy with the turnout and sales they received, he said.

The club also holds events and competitions for shooters throughout the year. One event where McInerney has found great success is metallic-silhouette shooting, where metal animal targets are placed at varying distances and sizes depending on the distance.

In 2008, McInerney received the honor of being the 108th person in the world to shoot all ten targets consecutively. He used a small bore, lever-action .22-caliber rifle.

“I was absolutely shocked there were as few people who had done that,” he said. “I thought there would have been thousands.”

McInerney practices at the range about three times a week. When preparing for the competitions he said he works on getting his head in the right place to focus and be consistent with every target he hits.

Shooting has been a way of life for McInerney. He was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he remembers never going to the store to buy meat because everyone hunted.

“It was a natural extension, getting into shooting,” McInerney said.

The club offers competitions at their numerous ranges: a rifle range, pistol range, action pistol range and four shotgun ranges set up for trap, continental trap, skeet and sporting clays.

About 60 guns participate in each competition, McInerney estimated, which is about 30 people because people usually bring multiple guns, he added.

McInerney has been in the club since 1978. He’s seen it grow over the years from two shotgun ranges to four, adding a metallic silhouette area, and the newest addition — an action pistol bay.

McInerney said members are drawn to the social aspects of the club as well. The club is unique by having a restaurant, bar and dance floor, he said.

“Word has gotten around that this is a good place to dance,” he said.

Bernard said there is a lot of camaraderie at the club. He felt like he was really accepted after joining and that the people are wonderful to shoot with, he said.

One piece of advice Bernard remembers getting is to have fun. The club provides a relaxed, enjoyable environment with lots of laughs and support, he said.


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