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May 2, 2003

Marksmen Get Extra Bang Out of Shoot

By John Beckman

Shooter Lars Bertsch of Lenore takes aim at an explosive target.
(Cavendish, Idaho) -

There's a shooting event this weekend in which the targets tell the marksman when they hit it.

It's the sixth annual Boomer Shoot, and it attracted 95 marksman from all over the U.S.

Organizer Joe Huffman of Moscow says his targets contain a pound or so of explosives.  Some of them also contain gasoline.  Huffman says he started making explosive targets after attending a dynamite shoot in 1996.

"It's fun," he says. "To hit something the size of a fist from four or five hundred yards and have it do something gives immediate gratification."

He says his mixture of ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate and liquid fuel is cheaper than dynamite. He has a high explosive license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms so he can store the ingredients and charge the $50 average entry to his shoot.

One participant this week is a theater director from Michigan.

Another, Lars Bertsch, is a former aerospace worker from Lenore.  He says hitting a milk carton full of explosives is better than a simple paper target. "It's more reactive," he says.

Huffman said Friday they used the 330 targets they made Thursday. His web site indicates Huffman expects to use another 500 targets when the shoot continues Sunday. In all, that's over 700 pounds of high explosives and 70 gallons of gasoline.

Huffman says tomorrow, U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Lewis near Tacoma will hold a shooting seminar.

He says the entire event is sold out.

If you'd like to inquire about next year, you can go to Huffman's web site at www.boomershoot.com or call him at 208-301-4254.

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