A Brief History of PRGC
This page is UNDER CONTINUAL DEVELOPMENT and input from long-time members is more than welcome!
We're attempting here to capture oral tradition and present it in one place as club lore for new members. Likely to be subject to frequent revisions as information becomes available. Members are invited to send corrections/additions and images to webmaster@thePRGClub.org.
When submitting historical information
Last updated 30-Aug-2016
The Paradise Rod & Gun Club was formed in April of 1946. Much of the club's history from that point on can be divided into an "old range era," a "new range era," and the nine-year gap between them.
The club's original range was off Coutelenc Road near Paradise Lake (near a current archery range) and opened in 1946. This range had PG&E power, a water well, and two block restrooms with flushing toilets and wash basins. There were no RSOs and you did not have to be a member to shoot.
Trap was a major activity at the time. The club's original target-throwing machine was electric and had to be loaded by hand while in motion. It was a dangerous job that often was performed by local teenagers... until the club's lawyer strongly suggested a different approach. (In contrast, the club's current target-throwing machine is an automatic one that is loaded while unpowered.)
There were four competitions a year, with trophies awarded. In those days 40-50 club members would show up for the competitions. Most were conducted using M1-Garands, 30-06.
Back then the purchase of an M1-Garand required up to two years waiting time. The club owned eight of these at the time and loaned them out for those who were waiting for their own to be delivered.
Longtime member Dave Dingman recalled recently that when he joined in 1983 dues were $15 per year. Everyone renewed in January, and in January the gate lock combination changed. The range fee for trap shooting was $3, Sundays and Wednesdays.
Possibly inspired by the quarterly competitions, Dave bought his own M1-Garand (an International Harvester with a four-digit barrel number) for $45, plus shipping costs.
A severe snow storm in 1984 laid heavy snow on the region. The roofs of many mobile homes and some brick/board buildings (including the bowling alley in Paradise) caved in. Infrastructure at the range was damaged as well and required repair.
In 1992 the club lost the lease on this land because houses had been built within hearing range, and the people who moved in nearby and didn't enjoy the noise. The new range wasn't opened until about 2001, leaving a gap of nine years. During those years many appeals were made at meetings of the County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. Several members put in many, many hours of volunteer time and effort representing the Club's interest to these bodies, including (in order by last name) Dell Crum, Dave Dingman, Ron Fy, Mike Hohenthaler, Bob Labaw, Larry Main, and Bill Wolf. Eventually, permission was obtained for a new range--and at that point fundraising began. All eight of the club-owned M1-Garands were sold for $300 apiece to help purchase land. Dave Dingman sold his own prized M1-Garand to the club for $600, and the club raffled it off to raise $3,000. (The winner was Larry Main.) Eventually, land was purchased but it wasn't suitable for a range, and so was traded for the 40 acres that now house the Paradise Rod & Gun Club range you know today.
The fence around the new range was finished in 1998.
The biggest berm was started in 1999. The base laid down by the volunteer construction crew consisted of hundreds of tires and perhaps thousands of bowling pins. As the berm was being finished the group realized that it actually had to be extended toward Skyway, so that happened.
A new trap machine was purchased for $6K.
The golf club continued to expand to the edge of their property (marked by the fence around the range).
To be continued...