We were still using the Fairfield City Council Chambers for our once a month meetings on Sunday afternoon. (Most of us were second shift tool & die makers at the Fisher Body Plant) I think the city was getting annoyed at us so we moved our meetings across the street to the basement activity room of the Dollar Federal Savings & Loan. It was at the same time that we discovered the Lick Road property. I say “We”, but it was actually O’Dell who was out beating the bushes to find a place to shoot. Several places had been suggested to us and we investigated these but none met our requirements. O’Dell traveled south on River Road out of Fairfield, parallel to the Great Miami River. There was the usual spot where men, boys, and women would pull off to shoot along the river bank, a very unsafe way to shoot. (There is still a location like this across the river from our present property).
There was a dirt road that ran up over a hill across the road from the river, at a point where the Cincinnati Water Works plant now stands. There was just a small facility there at this time. I point this out because we later had a “discussion” with these people. Anyway, O’Dell discovered the Lick Road property when he went over the hill.
Lick Road runs north of Kemper Road just east of where the “Sportsmen 25” club used to be located. They were a help in our third attempt to get this club into action, more about them later.
Lick Road, off Kemper Road, dead ends just past some property owned by an elderly couple. Their home sat on a small hill and the few acres behind it had a huge hole which was left by the mining of gravel. There was not a level spot in the hole.
O’Dell knocked on the door of the home and spoke to the owners and simple as that, was given permission to use it for our plinking enjoyment. No money was involved. Just knock on the door to let them know who you were and go ahead and set up a target and shoot.
We could now go back to our membership, which numbered over 100, and tell them we had a place to shoot, be that what it may.
We decided to sponsor a “Turkey Shoot” as we approached the 4th of July weekend. We busied ourselves with the making of target stanchions by taking five gallon buckets, salvaged from somewhere, filling them half way with concrete and inserting steel sign poles. To these we attached a board at the top of the pole for the placement of the target. We made about ten or twelve of these units and the cost was zero. Everything was salvaged, donated, or borrowed. I recall that the foreman at Hilltop Concrete said the concrete was too small of an amount to pay for and wished us success. Those target holders stayed around for a long time and in the early days were used on our present property.
We also constructed, from wood, a large A-frame to hang small plates from. The “Turkey Shoot” would have a booth for shooters with. 22 cal. rifles; bust a plate and win a prize. I should note that most all the prizes were donated from local merchants and some were purchased at a very low price, such as water jugs that cost us a quarter. Racks were also made to hold paper targets for the pistol enthusiast. Their targets were paper bullseye and would vary in size, didn’t matter, just hit the paper and you won a prize. It would cost a buck to enter. We were having a good time and were going to make a little noise on the 4th of July.
Art Bartesko worked for the Fairfield City Maintenance Department and he contacted Coca Cola about getting one of the small Coke trailers for the big day. This was done and he took care of selling soda pop on the day of the event. Art passed away many years ago.
To help attract the more serious shotgunners, Mark Pierson suggested we use a contraption of his called the “Crazy Quail”. This thing was a hand loaded, hand cocked, hand fired trap device mounted on a pedestal with the trap on one side and a seat on the other side and the whole contraption would rotate 360 degrees. A piece of plywood was set up around the thing to protect the operator. Tickets would be sold to ten shooters and each shooter got to try his skill at ten targets. When the shooter called for his targets, the man behind the plywood would let one fly and then rotate the machine to a different direction for the next shot. The shooter always got an exciting target which could fly in any direction, and always did. The best score out of the ten man squad got the prize.
The unit was set near the end of Lick road so we could utilize the firm surfaces for a firing line. Of course, the machine was set about 15 yards off the road and required some digging to get it in position and this was done a couple of days before the big day.
It was on the eve of the event that we met a very irate employee of the Cincinnati Water Works and the firing line was slightly on their property and he did not like it one little bit. The machine was on “our” property.
Noah Creech, Mayor of Fairfield and a member of our club, called the Cincinnati Water Works to see if we couldn’t go ahead and use the property for this one event and then we would move the contraption to another location. They would not allow it and we did have to move our contraption to another location and that was no small job, but it got done. We all vowed to never drink Cincinnati water.
The morning of the shoot arrived, along with about two inches of rain. Needless to say, mud was everywhere. Workers arrived in rain slickers and boots and we set up the targets “out there” in the mud. The Coca Cola wagon had been dropped off the night before and it was now in a pool of water and had to be retrieved and moved to high ground. The weather cleared up around noon and the “turkey shooters” started drifting in (no pun) and later in the day the boys from “Club 25” dropped in to support us and to try their skill at the “Crazy Quail”. They were very supportive of our adventure. Came the end of the day and we declared our first attempt at a shoot mildly successful and planned for a few more in the future and especially for the fall season. After each shoot, depending on how we did, we would make a small donation to the old couple who owned the property. We didn’t want it all.
During that summer (’67) we decided we needed to get some of those mounds of earth leveled so as to make for nicer (if that was possible) shooting conditions. Lucky Young was a contractor in the road construction business and at that time was in the Kenwood area of Cincinnati working on the construction of I-71. I never did learn from O’Dell Brinegar how he did it or who he knew, but one Saturday morning Lucky Young had one of his drivers deliver to us one of the biggest bulldozers I had ever seen. It was ours for the weekend. O’Dell was given a brief lesson on how to run a bulldozer and he proceeded to move those mounds of earth. I couldn’t believe it! I must call O’Dell sometime and see if he remembers this and find out how he got that bulldozer.
That afternoon, Tom Boughen (Charter Member), was on the dozer when it sank in a quagmire. We had to call in a heavy duty wrecker to help get it out of the mud and that cost $35.00 – – – BOY! Were we hav’in fun?
We did sponsor several more Turkey Shoots that fall.