SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Trapshooting is a less than familiar sport to many people – but it’s one an 84-year-old Sioux Falls man has excelled at for decades.
“It’s kind of an honor to be shooting at that age and still be active in the sport,” said Ron Putzier, who has been trapshooting for over 57 years.
Ron Putzier grew up in Corsica, S.D., and moved to Rapid City in 1963, where he got involved in trapshooting at the age of 27.
“It’s a competitive sport. I like shooting guns, they’re my hobby. It’s just something that I’ve loved to do and you’d always try to better yourself,” Putzier said.
Putzier is a gunsmith and owned his own gun shop in Sioux Falls until 2002. Trapshooting and working go hand in hand for him.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, I just can’t quit. It’s just like working. I still work part-time four days a week at Scheels in Sioux Falls here, and it’s something I don’t have to, but I enjoy doing it. I’m a gunsmith by trade,” he said.
Putzier’s service in the military influenced his decision to start trapshooting.
“I was over in Germany, and that’s all I did over there was shoot for two years. I think that’s where I got the bug to try to do better. You got to keep doing better, better, better,” he said.
Putzier bought this TM1 Perazzi single-barrel trap gun in 1986, and it’s still the gun he uses today. It’s shot over a quarter million shells.
“It’s got a lot of rounds. I rebuilt it myself a couple of times. Put new parts in it and tightened it all up and I’m still shooting it today,” he said.
Putzier says he has shot 100-straight clay pigeons over 150 times. He often competes in trapshoot leagues and tournaments, including The Grand American in Sparta, Illinois.
“Normally there’s right around 2,500-3,000 shooters competing everyday, and it goes on for like 10 days,” he said. “It’s just spectacular that somebody that’s interested in it, they should just see it, because the trap line is three and a half miles long.”
One of his most memorable moments happened at the Grand American in 2010. He tied with another competitor in three different shoot-outs.
“He says ‘Ron,’ he said, ‘I’m out of bullets. I got to go get some. Or do you want to flip for it?’ I said, ‘No, I come to shoot.’ And he, his car was parked quite a ways away, so I said, ‘Come on back here. We’ll flip,’ so we flipped and so help me God, I’ll never forget this. The coin, the referee flipped a coin and it rolled and fell right in the crack sitting right on its edge, so we were still tied,” Putzier said.
Putzier has made plenty of friends along the way. His experience has been helpful for many younger shooters, including trapshooters Greg Stahl and Mark Nielsen.
“If he wants to teach somebody how to shoot, how to mount a gun, what to do, he’s always got an answer,” trapshooter Greg Stahl said. “Everybody asks him about it because he’s been through it, he’s done it. You know, so that’s the nice thing about it is that he’s willing to share his experience and willing to share his knowledge to other shooters,” Stahl said.
“A lot of people know him. They’ve always looked up to him and went to him for advice, and he was willing to give it,” Nielsen said.
They both hope to be trapshooting when they are Putzier’s age.
“I would hope to be shooting at 84. A lot of guys would love to be able to say that,” Nielsen said.
“I hope I’m still at that age and still be able to shoot. This is a sport that you can take well into your senior years and well into the time you have it,” Stahl said.
And Putzier plans to continue trapshooting for as long as he can.
“You know, healthwise you have some issues once in awhile, but you overcome them and you go right back it, but every time you do, you’re a little slower. A little less. A little less. You know, but it’s something that I enjoy, and I could do it until the day I tip over,” he said.
Putzier joined the American Trapshooting Association in 1964 and is a life member of the Crooks Gun Club just north of Sioux Falls.