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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2010 - Page 24

Mike “Duke” Venturino SHOOTINGIRON TM THUMB BUSTIN’ MUSINGS FROM THE DUKE t his column doesn’t concern handguns. It’s about one three-year old girl and hundreds of decent, gun owning, human beings. Our leftist news media loves to portray we “gun people” — as I prefer to call us — as nut cases. At best we’re considered louts who go around shooting up road signs while swigging beer. At worse, the public in general is told we’re dangerous brutes just looking to shoot somebody. Let me give you an example of what real “gun people” are like. A company familiar with all Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters is Montana Vintage Arms. They are manufacturers of high quality sights and telescopes used on such rifles. An employee there, Lars Waldeisen, has a beautiful daughter named Lucy. During her three-year checkup Lucy was found to have a rare form of cancer. Treatment for Lucy’s ailment has required traveling from Montana to places as distant as New York City. Of course that means considerable expense for the entire family. In the spring of 2009, Montana Vintage Arms, together with Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing organized a benefit raffle. The prize consisted of one of Shiloh’s beautiful recreations of a Sharps Model 1874 .45-70 rifle fitted with both Montana Vintage Arms’ target grade metallic sights and one of their telescopes. Along with it came a custom wooden box for the telescope by Kansas woodworker Harold Forcum and a bullet mould by Montana custom maker Steve Brooks. The most modest prize was a hardbound copy of my book Shooting Buffalo Rifles. Retail value of the prizes was put at $4,500. Gun Brutes And Louts: not! Lucy affle tickets were priced at $50 each, which in today’s economy is not an inconsiderable sum. As match director of the Montana Regional BPCR Silhouette Championship in June 2009 I took 20 of those tickets to the event. I had fears about being able to sell many, again due to the state of the economy which our wonderful news media never tires of harping about. Those 20 tickets didn’t last the first day. Then we had to take people’s money and addresses with a promise to mail their ticket stubs to them. Be aware that my match was a small one. We could only accommodate 64 shooters total. Other BPCR matches did the same and word was spread about the raffle. Checks for tickets came from far and wide, even from other countries. Drawing for the raffle was set for July 16th during the awards ceremony for the BPCR Silhouette and BPCR Target National Championships. That was at the NRA’s Whittington Center outside of Raton, New Mexico. Ticket buyers did not have to be present to win. Now get this part. Several other people and I traveled to the “nationals” with many ticket stubs belonging to other people. One and all those people had given these instructions to us. “If I win, then I want you to go up on the stage and auction the prizes to the highest bidder with all the money also going to Lucy.” That was the sentiment of all these “gun crazy louts and brutes.” R Doing The Good This was the prize, although we think Lucy is the real prize! A Sharps Model 1874 .45-70 rifle fitted with both Montana Vintage Arms’ target grade metallic sights and one of their telescopes went to the lucky winner. MOIST EYES A nd I want you to soak up this part too. When Jim Gier, president of Montana Vintage Arms took the microphone at the time of the raffle drawing, he informed us that 500 of those $50 tickets had been sold. That figures to $25,000 with every single penny of it going to the Waldeisen family. The cheer raised from the crowd was enormous and looking around I saw many grizzled looking middle aged and older shooting competitors with glistening eyes. Keep in mind too the BPCR crowd is a relatively small one compared to the numbers participating in other shooting sports. I don’t know the fellow who won the raffle, nor even where he came from. What I do know is that we “gun nuts, brutes and louts” as a group are honorable, decent human beings. And I’m sick and tired of being portrayed as anything else! * Thanks should go to: Montana Vintage Arms, 61 Andrea Drive, Belgrade, MT 59714 and Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing, PO Box 279, Big Timber, MT 59011. 24 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2010

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