North central Montana is home to the state’s “Golden Triangle,” the bread basket of Big Sky Country where wheat production is king. The three points of the triangle are Havre on the east, Great Falls on the south, and to the west, the lovely little city of Conrad. Conrad sits on the northern plains about 63 miles northwest of Great Falls and the Rocky Mountain front is about 25 miles due west; the views are spectacular. Just off I-15, it is one of the nicest towns I have visited in Montana. Conrad’s population is about 2600 and it is the county seat of Pondera (pronounced ponder-ray) county. We spent a little time traveling the residential streets and of course, “the main drag.” I was amazed at how well each home and business was maintained; lawns neatly mowed, gardens weed free, every building clean and tidy; obviously the folks there take great pride in their community. Conrad is also home to the Pondera Shooting Sports Club (PSSC).
As many of you know, I really enjoy traveling and competing at Montana’s myriad gun clubs and I recently traveled to PSSC for the first time. The occasion was the club’s “Legacy” ATA registered trap shoot. PSSC is located west of town at 972 Granite Road; your phone’s GPS will take you to the front door. This is a fairly new facility that opened in 2008. There is a large outdoor pistol bay that can handle centerfire handguns, archery, and rimfire firearms. A huge building houses the indoor pistol/archery range that can accommodate lots of shooters. A nice lobby and large meeting room are also part of the facility and there is ample RV parking. Finally, and most importantly for me, the club sports four very nice, modern trap ranges. As you can see in the accompanying photos, the walkways and stations are level and well-marked, a must for us grumpy old trap shooters. The trap houses are identical, both in size and finish. While it may seem like a little detail, having the same “sight picture” can be a real asset when shooting competitive trap.
The PSSC “Legacy” shoot is a two day, 600 target affair. 100 singles, 100 handicap, and 50 pair doubles are shot each day. Besides daily awards, trophies are given to the highest scoring shooters and class winners in each event over the two days. I suggest you take a good look at the Dan Orlich trophy, it is waaay cool.
A previous commitment kept me from competing both days of the PSSC “Legacy” shoot and quite honestly I didn’t shoot very well on Saturday. I made the comment that, “I haven’t shot this poorly in a long time” and a youngster watching asked me, “You’ve done this before?” Well that pretty much sums up my scores, but the great people and facility of the PSSC more than made up for my lousy performance. It was a great time, and I’ll be back for next year’s “Legacy” shoot. If you find yourself on the western edge of Montana’s “Golden Triangle” check out the Pondera Shooting Sports Club, where friendly is the number one reward for everyone.
Be safe and good shooting.