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
was number one on the seniority list and he
moved back to his
, 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
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.
recovered from his
first heart attack he
would come out to the club every week until he
passed away," LeRoy
...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
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
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
Since September 2000 Ft. Thunder has co-sponsored a youth day with the East Ottertail County Deer Hunting Association
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
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.