Ernie was introduced to trapshooting by a local Niles Banker, Dick VanSchoiack. In 1969, he shot his first ATA targets at Berrien Springs where he laughs, “I broke a 59 in handicap.”
A life member of the ATA and MTA, Ernie attended the Grand American for 37 years and has attended the shoots at the MTA home grounds since 1969. He has shot in at least 7 other states including Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. Ernie has shot over 500,000 targets – 308,100 singles, 120,500 handicap, and 109,700 doubles. One of his favorite places to shoot was Seaway Gun Club because “it was a well-run shoot and we had lots of fun with friends.” Ernie fondly remembers the marathon shoots he would attend with MTA Hall of Famer, Russ Saathoff.
No matter where the shoot, friends always knew Ernie was there when they saw his “Party bus,” a 38’ Army Ambulance bus he converted to a motor home. Back in the day on the MTA grounds, there would be 2 rows of pop-up campers. Young shooters Leo Harrison and Brad Dysinger would camp next to Ernie. Ernie’s wife would feed the growing boys.
While he was not a top competitor, Ernie has been an avid promoter of trapshooting. He began running Howard Township Sportsmans club in 1978 and has thrown over 8 million targets at his club over the years. Ernie says he would throw whatever the shooters wanted and has hosted many 1000 bird marathons. He still holds 39 shoots each year.
Ernie’s promotion and support of Michigan trapshooting goes beyond throwing mega targets at his club. He helped many youth shooters get into and learn the sport through the clinics and training programs he has offered. Ernie has hosted many clinics by top shooters and instructors. Kay Ohye has held clinics at Ernie’s club since 1984. Ernie organizes and hosts many youth shoots and currently has 30 to 70 youth shooters coming to his club.
Ernie most remembers the people he has met in trapshooting. “I love the sport. It lets you meet people from all walks of life. I can’t wait to see them the next week at the gun club.”