By Julie Ann Madden
Seeing an FFA Alumni Trapshoot flyer in the Alcester Steak House brought an Australian policeman to Akron the Sunday afternoon of Sept. 29.
Rueben Larson of Melbourne, Australia, is visiting American family members in Beresford, S.D.
In 1972, his father, Daniel Larson, moved from Beresford to Australia.
Australia has private shooting clubs which are very expensive and hard to get in to, Rueben told The Akron Hometowner, explaining his country’s government cracked down on weapons after a 1995 Port Arthur prison colony tourist site massacre, similar to mall massacres here.
The shooters were using illegal weapons, he said, and the laws really only impacted law-abiding hunters and sportsmen. Criminals are still using illegal weapons and gun crimes are on the rise in Australia at the moment.
This was the first non-family activity Rueben had participated in during his month-long stay in the United States.
“I’ve seen lots of places where my dad and grandfather grew up and visited with lots of family,” said Rueben, adding he’s enjoyed seeing the countryside as he lives in a city of 4.25 million.
Australia has state policemen — no city or county police like here, he said, giving a couple of his old uniform’s insignia patches to the FFA Alumni as well as showing his police badge to participants.
“I’ve never done competitive shooting before, and I thought it would be kind of fun,” said Rueben who was using a Beratta 12-gauge shotgun.
“It’s been fun so far,” he said, laughing. “I actually hit something.”
He and his uncle, Ron Nielsen of Beresford, S.D., joined about 50 other trapshooters at the Akron Gun Club for the FFA fundraiser.
Nielsen had already won four of the rounds when The Akron Hometowner arrived midway through the event.
The youngest trapshooters were Akron-Westfield students Levi Hemmelrick, Jay Baisden, Daytona Foley and Alex Franker.
The alumni also served one of their meals featuring quarter-pound hot dogs.
This is the third year for the FFA Alumni to host a trapshoot to raise funds for Agriculture Education scholarships and activities at Akron-Westfield Community School.
The FFA Alumni will hold its next meeting at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3 in the A-W Agriculture Education Room.
Newly elected officers are David Ericson, president; Joe Ruhland, vice-president; Mike Baker, secretary; and Austin Willer, treasurer..