As has become the norm, the Hodag Sports Club drew another very large crowd to its annual banquet held Tuesday evening at the Quality Inn in Rhinelander.
Each year hundreds of people pack the banquet hall to take part in what has long been referred to as the social event of the year for sportsmen and women.
The Hodag Sports Club Banquet started over 40 years ago as a wild game feed and has steadily growing into the huge event it is today. Many wait all year for their chance to win donated guns and other prizes as well as to eat a great meal and enjoy the company of other sportsmen and women.
Raffle prizes are donated by area businesses and families. All proceeds from the banquet are earmarked for capital improvements, according to the club's charter,
The club undertook several projects in 2019, it was noted.
At the rifle and pistol range west of Rhinelander, the big news was the addition of a 200- and 400-yard range. These ranges are located next to Cowboy Town. The rest of the work on these two ranges is expected to be completed later this year. This will include finishing the road to the targets as well as resolving some soil and drainage issues. The range is operational, but the 400 yard range will not be plowed out in winter.
The shotgun and archery range also underwent some work in 2019. It addition to the usual painting and maintenance, some tree work was done. Workers took time to clean up the growth of trees on the range buildings and parking lots. This clearing, according to a club brochure, will allow the buildings to last longer.
This year's projects also included finishing the 15-stand Sporting Clays course east of the 5-stand and archery range. The road was put in last fall and the hope is to have the course operational by June of 2020. This will be a modern course offering 30 throwers and will also utilize a card system allowing shooters to purchase targets at each station. All funds from the banquet will be used to help with the Sporting Clays Course project. The club is also accepting Shooting Sponsors for that project. Three stations have already been sold and there is interest in five more. Sponsorship for each station is $2,500 and will give the sponsor a 2X3' sign on the station for 10 years.
The Hodag Sports Club is also the home to the Rhinelander High School and middle school trap clubs. With the addition of the middle school club, there are now over 40 youth shooters who utilize the club.
The rifle range offers Single Action Shooting Society Matches during the summer on the second Saturday of the month. It also offers Northwoods Practical Shooter matches on the fourth Sunday of every month from April to October.
The shotgun and archery range, located on Highway C, offers trap league on Wednesday or Thursday during the summer. There is also a five stand league that will be running this summer where shooters can shoot any time and post league scores. For more information on that league, email Phil Kriesel at email@example.com
For information about all activities and matches held at either facility of the Hodag Sports Club, or for information on membership, visit hodagsportsclub.org or find them on Facebook.
Finally, the Hodag Sports Club regrets that the United Steel Workers of America was inadvertently left off of the banquet brochure this year. The $500 donation given by the Steel Workers will allow the club to continue work on the Sporting Clays Range, thereby allowing the high school to have a sporting clays team this year. The donation was greatly appreciated, the club said.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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