‘I just can’t stop’: Sioux Falls man trapped for over half a century
SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Trapping is an unfamiliar sport to many people, but it’s a sport an 84-year-old man from Sioux Falls has excelled at for decades.
“It’s kind of an honor to shoot at this age and still be active in the sport,” said Ron Putzier, who has been trapping for over 57 years.
Ron Putzier grew up in Corsica, SD, and moved to Rapid City in 1963, where he got involved in trap shooting at the age of 27.
“It’s a competitive sport. I like to shoot guns, it’s my hobby. It’s just something that I loved doing and you’re always trying to improve, ”Putzier said.
Putzier is a gunsmith and had his own gun store in Sioux Falls until 2002. Trapping and work go hand in hand for him.
“I’ve been doing this for so long, I just can’t stop. It’s 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 do, but I love to do it. I am a gunsmith by trade, ”he said.
Putzier’s service in the military influenced his decision to start trap shooting.
“I was in Germany, and that’s all I did there, was tour for two years. I think this is where I got the bug of trying to do better. You have to keep doing better, better, better, ”he said.
Putzier purchased this TM1 Perazzi single barrel trap pistol in 1986, and it is still the pistol he uses today. He fired over a quarter of a million shells.
“There are a lot of laps. I have rebuilt it myself several times. Put new parts in it and tighten it all up and I’m still spinning it today, ”he said.
Putzier says he shot 100 clay pigeons over 150 times. He often competes in leagues and trap shooting tournaments, including The Grand American in Sparta, Illinois.
“Normally there are around 2,500 to 3,000 shooters competing every day, and it lasts about 10 days,” he said. “It’s just spectacular that someone who cares about it, they should just see it, because the trapline is three and a half miles long.”
One of his most memorable moments was at the Grand American in 2010. He drew with another competitor in three different shootouts.
“He says’ Ron, ‘he said,’ I’m out of bullets. I have to go get some. Or do you want to get started? I said, ‘No, I’m coming to shoot.’ And him, his car was parked far enough away, so I said, ‘Come back here. We’re going to rock, ”so we rocked and so help me God, I’ll never forget that. The coin, the umpire threw a coin and it rolled and fell right into the crack, sitting right on its edge, so we were still tied, ”Putzier said.
Putzier made a lot of friends along the way. His experience has served many young shooters, including trap shooters Greg Stahl and Mark Nielsen.
“If he wants to teach someone how to shoot, how to mount a gun, what to do, he always has an answer,” said trap shooter Greg Stahl. “Everyone asks him questions because he’s been there, he’s done it. You know, what’s good is he’s ready to share his experience and knowledge with other shooters, ”Stahl said.
“A lot of people know him. They always admired him and asked for his advice, and he was ready to give it, ”Nielsen said.
They both hope to be trapped when they are Putzier’s age.
“I’m hoping to shoot at 84. A lot of guys wish they could say that,” Nielsen said.
“I hope that I am still that age and that I will still be able to shoot. It’s a sport you can play until the end of your old age and until you have some, ”Stahl said.
And Putzier plans to continue to trap for as long as he can.
“You know, from a health standpoint, you have problems every now and then, but you get over them and come back to them, but every time you have them you’re a little slower. A little less. A little less. You know, but it’s something that I love and I could do it until one day I rock, ”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.