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Continued: Anderson: Having a ball with ballistics

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 24, 2013 - 10:40 PM

Also there’s a Wilderness Hunt competition with 15 targets, with guns going to the winners.

Add to these attractions various food stands and two live bands, and the result is a real-life spectacle that draws more than 5,000 people to Morristown one August weekend each year.

About 600 who attend, Larry said, are interested specifically in trying out the latest guns from manufacturers such as Remington and Winchester, among others.

“We might sell 200 guns over the weekend, but that’s not enough to cover our costs and not the reason we hold the roundup,’’ Mike said. “We’re more into the fun part of it and exposing people, including people unfamiliar with guns, to the shooting sports.’’

Unspoken by Mike or his father is an obvious point:

Gun ownership — whether for target shooting, hunting or personal defense — is a social activity. Examples: Trap shooters meet other trap shooters at ranges. Ditto skeet shooters and pistol shooters. The same holds for bird hunters and deer hunters, as well as collectors.

In fact, in many cases, lifestyles revolve around gun-centered activities

Certainly Larry Ahlman’s has, not just professionally — he took over the business from his father — but personally. Some of his best days, he’ll tell you, occur while holed up in the family hunting shack near Isabella, Minn., not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Mike’s life has unfolded similarly, except that in addition to hunting with guns, he also chases deer and elk with a bow.

So it is that their notion of recreation and good times is centered to a large degree on the shooting sports, about which they are unabashedly evangelistic.

“Any kid that comes through, I want them to shoot as much as their parents will let them,’’ Mike said. “Shooting is fun.’’

• • •

Thinking of driving to Ahlman’s to check out the roundup Sunday? Here’s more to know:

• Admission is $10. If you want to compete in the Wilderness Hunt, it’s $20.

• Champion gun spinner, trick roper and “whip artist’’ Johnny Hotshot will be on hand.

• More than 40 different shooting ranges, each professionally staffed, will be available.

• Badlands Bill Oglesby will be on hand.

• Civil War re-enactors will demonstrate, complete with cannon discharge.

  • related content

  • Video: Gun-fest aims to promote sport of shooting

    Monday August 26, 2013

    Tank rides and automatic weapons are part of a shooting-sports and family-fun festival at Ahlman's Gun Shop of Morristown...

  • Duck harvest stands out in good year for small game

    Saturday August 24, 2013

    2012 was a very good year for duck hunters, and for those pursuing small game in general.

  • Rick Mandler of Wells, Minn., was among the crowd giving shooting a shot at at Ahlman’s Shooters Roundup on Saturday. His choice was a .45-caliber machine gun.

  • Smoke filled the air as Civil War re-enactor Jason Grimm of the Battery 1 First U.S. Artillery helped Mike Walker of Albert Lea, Minn., fire a Gatling gun. There’s also are western melodramas replete with shootouts.

  • A sign tells how and why to get to famous Ahlman’s Gun Shop.

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