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Also lost in the fire were more than 100 wildlife mounts, including big game such as elk, moose and deer, as well as game birds, which covered the walls of the clubhouse and restaurant.
“I lost about 80 mounts of my own,” said Urseth, who has traveled the world hunting and fishing as host of the “Quest for the One” TV show. “Among them were two 391-inch elk, five moose and a world record bush buck from Africa. There were also about 10 whitetails that scored between 140 and 165 inches, and African plains animals.”
The hunts for many of those big game animals were filmed and photographed for his show, so he’s hoping those images might be used to make replicas.
Also lost in the blaze were albums and photos and memorabilia from tournaments over the years, and guns, including ones loaned to youths and an array of new ones the club sold.
“There’s a lot of memories,” said Terry Correll, longtime manager who was among the first on the scene. “My worst nightmare happened.”
A shooting history
Urseth and another partner bought the property in 1985, which included a small lodge and 350 adjoining acres. Travalia later bought out Urseth’s partner, and the pair have operated the business together ever since.
The main building, originally built in 1972, was expanded in 1985 and 1994, and underwent a major remodeling two years ago, Urseth said. Over the years they added horse barns, dog kennels and more land.
“In 1986 we put in the second sporting clays course in the U.S., and it’s always been the largest,” Urseth said.
“We’ve tried to be a premier outdoor facility for the Midwest. Above all, we’ve tried to be a place where people can get to know each other, where relationships and friendships grow, where people can share good times together.”
Besides holding numerous charity fundraisers, the club also has a nonprofit arm that operates the Minnesota Youth Hunt Camp for boys and girls ages 12 to 16. The free weeklong camp, launched in 1986, teaches kids how to shoot and hunt and even clean and cook their own game. About 60 kids attend each summer.
“It’s a wonderful program,” said Urseth. “It’s been so gratifying.”
But now Urseth and Travalia are focused on rebuilding. Last week’s fire means a new chapter for the Horse and Hunt Club.
“We’ll be bigger and better,” Travalia said.
Doug Smith • email@example.com