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Owner and Operator
Ft. Thunder Shooting Center
Perham Enterprise Bulletin
Certified Safety Instructor for Rifle
Coon Rapids Youth Firearm Safety
Gopher State Retrievers Club
St. Louis Park Sportsmen's Club
University of Minnesota
Lakesurfer.com - LeRoy Atkinson named to Skeet Hall of Fame
LeRoy Atkinson LeRoy Atkinson named to Skeet Hall of Fame 04/24/2003 LeRoy Atkinson, owner and operator of the Ft. Thunder Shooting Center in Perham, will be inducted into the Minnesota Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame this weekend.The Hall of Fame Ceremonies will be Saturday, April 26 in Eagan.After working for 14 years for Pepsi Cola in Coon Rapids, in 1972 Atkinson decided he was number one on the seniority list and he moved back to his hometown, Perham, and built his own gun club.He was 38 years old and decided that now was the time to make the move with his wife and family. He purchased the land and broke ground for the original clubhouse in July of 1971 with two trap fields and one crazy quail. "We ran into a snag when finishing the clubhouse.Someone broke in and stole all the lumber that was just dropped off," he said.The clubhouse was put off until the following April.They had to completely restore an 11-room home as well as finish the clubhouse. LeRoy ran a 10-week league that summer.In 1972, a skeet field was added.The following year, two more trap fields were added and another skeet field.In 1974, they started to throw registered trap and skeet targets with leagues for both.In 1974, he started the Luke Repestsky Memorial Shoot.Repestsky was from Minneapolis and used to shoot at a gun club there. "After he recovered from his first heart attack he would come out to the club every week until he passed away," LeRoy said.Atkinson went to the University of Minnesota in 1983 and established the first state 4-H state shoot with about 65 boys and girls."In the summer of 1992 the wife and I talked about adding three more skeet fields and trying for the Minnesota State Skeet Championship," Atkinson said. In 1993, he attended the Minnesota Skeet meeting and proposed putting in the three fields and told the board members he would like to host the State Championship.The board said to go ahead and put the fields in by November 1 of that year.Atkinson built the fields and they were done on time.He went down to the December meeting and said he was ready to hold the state shoot in 1993.After a lengthy nose-to-nose discussion about the ability to host the shoot, a vote was taken in Ft. Thunder's favor. "We've hosted the State Skeet Shoot every three years since," he said.In 1995, Atkinson built a 24' by 40' addition on to the clubhouse to accommodate the state shooters in 1996."It made our club a lot nicer for everyone with tables and a TV, with that addition, the club is now 24' by 80'," Atkinson said.Since September 2000 Ft. Thunder has co-sponsored a youth day with the East Ottertail County Deer Hunting Association. Atkinson began shooting at an early age with his uncle north of New York Mills.He was introduced to trap shooting in 1957 at the Twin City Hopkins Gun Club.He was a regular at the St. Anthony Gun Club in Anoka and Winchester Metro in Blaine.He has been a member of the St. Louis Park Sportsmen's Club and the Gopher State Retrievers Club. He also had many other interests, like running the Coon Rapids Youth Firearm Safety where he was a certified safety instructor for rifle, pistol and shotgun.He also coached football for the Coon Rapids Athletic Association and American Legion baseball.LeRoy worked with WCCO sportsman's show with Rolly Johnson at Roy Ostrums sporting goods reloaders clinic.