OldArchive / Sports

Ladies Enjoy Day at Range

"Treat all guns as if they are loaded."

Chris Aydelotte patiently explained handgun safety to a group of eager students last Saturday at the Towanda Rifle & Pistol Club.

After all, it was Chris's idea to hold a Ladies' Day Fun Shoot at the range on Bridge Street Hill.

By all accounts, it was a resounding success.

All 40 openings were filled quickly, local sponsors stepped up to offer many door prizes and, most importantly, the women all seemed to be having fun.

Heavy showers greeted the women when shooting started at 9 a.m., but their spirits weren't dampened.

When the last of the door prizes were handed out around 3:30 p.m., the sun was out reflecting the mood of organizers and participants both.

"Did everyone have as much fun as I did?" asked Chris prior to handing out the door prizes.

"Yes" was the general consensus.

The participants were split up into four groups and rotated between shooting sites that featured .22 handguns, .22 rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders.

The groups spent a little over an hour at each spot, learning shooting and safety tips from experienced instructors.

Fred Aydelotte, Chris's husband, was very impressed with the instructors.

He singled out Jeff Castle, who ran the shotgun site, with patience and good humor, and Jerry Chandler, who worked at the muzzleloader canopy.

"People volunteered all kinds of expertise and equipment," Fred explained.

He was especially appreciative of Chandler, a local instructor for the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, who provided the canopies.

"Without them, we would have been washed out by noon," Fred said referring to Saturday morning's heavy rain.

The ladies at the shotgun site enjoyed shooting clay pigeons and bunnies.

"Man, is that fun," said Beverly Smith of Springfield, who was celebrating her birthday.

Another woman was celebrating her first wedding anniversary that day.

Diane Wittig of Bloomsburg, who was invited to participate by her friend, Stephanie Olver of East Troy, demonstrated a great deal of skill at the shotgun, hitting five out of five clay pigeons during one stint.

"Twelve years ago I tried the shotgun and I couldn't hit anything," she said.

Fred observed that about half the women were shooting for the first time, and another quarter of the participants could be described as inexperienced shooters.

Among the door prizes were a .22 rifle, won by Kathy Barrett, and a muzzleloading rifle, won by Daily Review reporter Erin Lemley, who was doing participatory journalism.

"It was successful beyond my fondest dream," Fred said. "We spent a lot of time crossing our fingers and holding our breath, but it worked out perfectly."

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