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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:02:10 01:48:03

STAFF PHOTOS/C.J. MARSHALL Tom Evans of Mehoopany charges his rifle before taking aim during the sharp shooter competition.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:02:10 00:41:27

Folks head to the woods behind the Black Walnut American Legion on Saturday to take part in the woods walking shooting competition. From left is Mark Wehr of Mifflinburg, Don Swingle of Laceyville, Pete Hatton of Camp Hill, and James Burgess of Springville.

People had the opportunity to go back a few hundred years in American history on Saturday during the Endless Mountains Winter Rifle Frolic.

Sponsored by the Endless Mountains Primitive Outdoorsmen and held at the Black Walnut American Legion grounds, the rifle frolic featured men and women shooting muzzle loaders and other weapons from a by-gone era.

“It covers a period from 1640 to 1840,” explained club treasurer Roxy Wells.

Many men and women showed up in regalia from various eras - including fur trappers and mountain men.

“We even have one person dressed as a Native American,” said club secretary Nicholas Superko.

This is the second year the organization has sponsored the Endless Mountains Winter Rifle Frolic.

Superko explained that 50 people signed up to shoot as of 11:30 a.m. and were expecting more before the end of the event. This already surpassed the 48 people who signed up to participate at last year’s event.

The Endless Mountains Primitive Outdoorsmen is a private club aimed at educating, recreating, and preserving the customs and conditions of traditional weapons, crafts, and artisans of early America.

The frolic’s main event on Saturday was a target shoot, in which participants attempt to come as close as possible to the center of an X on a picture of a deer’s head. The winner received either five pounds of lead or ball device used to push the shot down into a rifle barrel.

Other events in which participants compete for cash prizes include a sharpshooting - firing at traditional paper targets; woods walking - where shooters walk through the woods and shoot at 12 pre-set targets; and hatchet throwing.

A new event this year was the instructional shoot, which gave neophytes and young children the opportunity to fire a muzzle loader at a target.

“We wanted to give the kids something to do without having to compete,” explained club member Joe Marlin, who provided information to those who participated.

“Club members donated the rifles for the event, as well as the powder and ammunition,” explained EMPO President Alan Superko. “People could shoot free of charge. It gives them the opportunity to experience the fun and encourages them to join our club.”

“We want to thank the Legion for their support,” Wells explained. “They’ve been a huge sponsor. They supply food and let us use the grounds at no charge.”

One participant was Paul Zbegner of Tunkhannock.

“It’s kind of an anachronism,” he said “You see people walking around in buckskin, and then you hear the ring of a cell phone. I think it’s a wonderful thing that an area as small as Wyoming County can organize something like this. I love the smell of black powder.”

Tom Evans of Mehoopany also showed up on Saturday to try his luck on the shooting range.

“I’m new to it,” he explained. “Alan (Superko) got me interested in it about four years ago. I love it. You meet a lot of people who tell a lot of stories. We get together and share secrets. It’s a lot of fun.”

The rifle frolic is one of three major events the Endless Mountains Primitive Outdoorsmen will be sponsoring this year.

On June 2, the organization will hold Food and Fashion on the Frontier at French Azilum Park in Bradford County.

On Sept. 8 and 9, the group’s biggest event - the 10th Annual Endless Mountains Rendezvous, Muzzleloader Shoot and Artisan Show - will be held on the Black Walnut American Legion grounds, and feature primitive crafts and events.