By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

The Del Norte Rod and Gun club will be kicking off 2019 with their annual Crab Buckle Shoot this weekend starting Friday at 10 p.m. The event will be held at the Del Norte Rod & Gun Club shooting range located on Rowdy Creek Road in Smith River.

Every year, the Crab Buckle Shoot draws shooters from across the U.S. and Canada to Del Norte County for the chance to win one of the club’s prized Crab Buckle belt buckle trophies.

The buckles are special ordered from Montana Silversmiths and given to the winners of each 100 target event, the winners of several subcategories, such as ladies and youth, and the best overall scorers of the competition.

“They’re highly prized and we always have people coming down from Canada for a shot at one. A lot of members who have been coming for 10 or 15 years and still haven’t earned one,” said club president Buddy Hoffman. “A lot of PITA members are headed down to Arizona to shoot this time of year and stop for the competition here to break up their drive.”

Roughly 100 shooters from around 20 five-person squads have signed up for this year’s competition so far. Sign-ups are ongoing and can be done the day of competition at any time or online at the Pacific International Trapshooting Association website at https://shootpita.com/. Each event requires a $30 signup fee to shoot 100 targets.

Friday will be the doubles competition shooting and a sub-gauge competition for shotguns.

Spectators are welcome to come to watch the competition and have lunch at the clubhouse, however, the club recommends visitors bring ear protection during the competition. Either headphones or foam earplugs are recommended.

“Spectators are welcome. We’re glad for people to come out and see what we do,” Hoffman said.

Due to the continued closure of crab season due to domoic acid, this year’s Saturday night Crab Feed dinner will serve spaghetti and chicken instead of the titular meal.

“We contacted several agencies and no one could produce them,” said Hoffman. “One guy in Trinidad offered for $8 a pound, but we couldn’t do that.”

For more information on the Del Norte Rod and Gun Club visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/delnorterodandgunclub.

For information on the club facilities such as rules and regulations, visit https://www.delnorterodandgunclub.com/.

Hoffman said that the club is always looking for more members to join, but have been having trouble getting younger people interested.

“We’ve been gaining membership because people have been feeling welcome, but we’re still losing a lot of members to an aging membership,” Hoffman said. “A lot of young people these days just can’t afford the hobby. They have rent to pay.”

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