Ottawa Sportsmen's Club News

Carole Williams


"Where There's Smoke, There's Black Powder"

The L'Anse Sentinel July 18, 2002 and

The Daily Mining Gazette
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Upper Peninsula Muzzle Loading Association will host their Annual Rendezvous and Championship Shoot on July 26, 27, and 28 at the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club, located 8 miles west of Baraga on M-38. The event is open to the public and free to anyone who would like to come and watch the competition.

A minimum of thirty Black Powder shooters and their families are expected to attend, many decked out in fringed buckskin and summer mountain man garb, some of it very colorful and elaborate.

Pre 1840 "primitive" camp tents as well as modern RV units will begin setting up on the club grounds on Friday. Firewood and water will be available and the clubhouse will be open for matters of hygiene. Spectators, as well as shooters, are welcome to camp at a cost of $5.00 per unit per day, but one need not camp to compete. Although there will be no food sales on the premises, picnic tables are available for those with baskets of vittles.
All competition during the weekend must be conducted with open iron sights and patched round balls only. Shooting fees are set at $15.00 per person for the weekend: $10.00 for Saturday's Competition and $5.00 for Sunday's competition only. It isn't necessary to shoot in all events. Those interested in joining the U.P.M.L.A. can sign up for an annual fee of $12.00 per family or individually at $10.00.

U.P.M.L.A. membership is required to enter the Championship Shoot and can be acquired on the day of the event at the registration desk. All other competition is open to non-members.

Friday evening's events will begin at 8 p.m. with a "Candle Shoot". This doesn't mean the muzzle loaders will shoot in the dark by candlelight. Quite the contrary, it means the target will be a candle flame and the object is to extinguish the flame without damaging the candle. This is a come one, come all event with no separate divisions. There is no fee to enter the Candle Shoot and prizes for this event will be provided by the U.P.M.L.A.
Championship Shooting will begin on Saturday with the first relay getting under way at 9 a.m. Competitors will take aim at targets at distances of 25, 50 and 100 yards. There will be three separate classes in the Men's Division as well as a Women's Division and a Junior Division for young people under age 16. Men's Division Classes will be determined by ability so that each party has a chance to do well within his class.
This Championship Shoot is a "Blanket Shoot". Keeping with tradition, prizes will be donated by each shooter and placed on a blanket. The highest scoring shooter will get first pick of the many coveted prizes in each division with the poorest eye and shakiest aim getting last choice. These prizes may vary anywhere from lead balls and powder to knives, leather goods or Mountain Man lanterns and powder boxes, with handmade boxes being the most sought after.
"Hawk" (hatchet or tomahawk) and Knife Throwing, a Ladies "Frying Pan Throw" and a Men's "Hammer Throw" will follow the Championship Shoot on Saturday afternoon. The object is to aim at chunks of wood with the chunks getting smaller at each throw. In case of a tie, the target will be a playing card. Other competition will involve "Fire Starting" with flint and steel, which sounds easy but isn't when you're in a hurry. There is no fee for these events and prizes will be provided by the U.P.M.L.A.
A Family Pot Luck Dinner, Awards Presentation, and the Annual Upper Peninsula Muzzle Loading Association Meeting and Election of Officers will be held in the clubhouse beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Anyone is more than welcome to join in with the potluck provided they bring a dish of food to share. The public is also invited to watch the awards presentation and sit in on the meeting if they have an interest in learning more about the U.P.M.L.A. and its goals.
The "Woods Walk" competition, which will get under way at 9 a.m. on Sunday, will see competitors teaming up in groups of three. Each team will be put in various hunting situations as they walk through the woods surrounding the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club. Various targets will pop up in front of the hunting party whose mission is to gather the winter's supply of food for the table. They may meet up with simulated bear, deer, rabbit, duck, grouse, woodchuck, snakes (!!!), and several other edible forest creatures. More than a few surprises will be in store as the hunters attempt to stock their larder for the cold winter ahead. Prizes will be awarded to the top 5 teams with perhaps a consolation prize or two thrown in for the team who will be the hungriest come spring.

Junior shooters are welcome to compete in the Woods Walk, but must be on the same team as their parent. If the parent is not shooting, he or she must accompany the Junior shooter during competition.

Those interested in Mountain Man/Fur Trade Era clothing will be able to browse through the many beautiful homemade apparel items being offered by Sarah Stevens, who in that era would have been known as a "Sutler". Miss Sarah also specializes in handsome moccasins, custom fit and handmade out of various types and colors of leather to suit anyone's needs. She serves up her sales with wit and an infectious laugh that can be heard many campsites away.
In addition to the sutlers, many people will conduct "Blanket Sales", offering a variety of goods displayed on blankets and useful to muzzleloaders as well as the general public. There will also be U.P.M.L.A. members available to teach those who want to try their hand at shooting black powder or properly throwing a hawk or knife. Those interested in learning the fundementals should inquire of one of the officials conducting the competition and help, as well as a black powder rifle or "hawk", will be found.
Clyde Mikkola of Calumet, President of The Upper Peninsula Muzzle Loading Association states that the organization's history dates back to 1974 in Menominee with a homestead restoration project. Black Powder Shoots were held at the homestead to help fund the 1976 Centennial in that city and shooters came from all directions to participate.

From there, the events were moved through active membership to Negaunee, where shooters from the U.P. as well as Northern Wisconsin were brought together and the organization gained cohesion.

Mikkola says the official U.P.M.L.A. was born on May 15th of 1985 at Route 1, Box 48, Trout Creek, Michigan and he credits Sidney Lichtenfelt, who was president at that time, for doing most of the legwork. (Click on Black Powder Page, below)

Current officers other than President Mikkola are downstate resident and Vice President Joe Valentine and Secretary - Treasurer Sandra Henkel of rural Pelkie. Members of the Board of Directors are Lyle Merrill from Quinnesec, Dave Bilski of Iron Mountain, Ishpeming resident Jim Delongchamp, Elton Kalm of Marinette WI, and O.S.C. member and rural Pelkie resident Jon Henkel.

More information on Black Powder and members of the U.P.M.L.A. can be found on the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club web site at under the "People Having Fun" bull's eye. (Click on Black Powder Page, below) Those needing more information on the Annual Rendezvous and Championship Shoot should call Jon Henkel at 906-353-6511 or E Mail him at

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