by: Melanie Campbell
For the past nine years, I have been helped, taught, mentored, and loved by Lonny. I started in the sport of trapshooting before there was a youth team. I remember one summer my parents took me to the range to practice for the upcoming waterfowl season. We get there and Lonny comes over and says, “I want you to come out on Saturday.” My first thought was cool extra practice for next week. Then I hear Lonny say, “I started a youth team and I want you to be a part of it.” Me? I asked myself. Lonny wants me. Before I could answer my parents said, “We’ll be here.” Lonny saw potential in a little girl who couldn’t finish a box of shells. Lonny never gave up on me, in fact, he refused to. If it weren’t for Lonny, I wouldn’t be here now. I wouldn’t have shot most of you out. That was five years ago. Now I am one of the oldest members of the Bonners Ferry High School Dukes Claybusters trapshooting team.
My fondest memories of Lonny are the yearly trips to the stores and fair to sell our raffle tickets, taking his team to competitions, seeing the pride and joy of our accomplishments in competing, how grateful he was of getting complements of other trapshooters of how respectful and helpful his team was, and yelling at any telemarketer that called his phone.
Lonny didn’t have the words to describe how proud he was of the team, and we didn’t need words. The fact that he took time out of every Saturday all year long is enough. Lonny played a big role in the lives of his Claybusters. He coached, mentored, loved, believed, gave life lessons, helped us grow, and took time out of his day to be with us. I don’t have enough words to say how grateful I am to have had Lonny in my life. I am blessed to have had such an amazing man, mentor, and trap shooter in my life. Lonny’s two favorite sayings were “miss the last bird and I will kick you in the butt” and “shoot safe and keep your powder dry.”
His shooting legacy will live on in all of us.