MUSCODA - A lightning bolt during a Tuesday night thunderstorm is being blamed for the fire that destroyed the Sportsman Clubhouse and most of its contents.
A neighbor was credited for reporting the fire about 6:00 o’clock Wednesday morning, several hours after the storm had moved on.
Although most of the contents inside the structure were lost, firemen were able to save some items that were cherished by club members as well as community residents who attend and participate in trap shoots held at the grounds.
Among the items saved was the shotgun used by the late Dennis Taylor, Muscoda native and 22-year-old club member, when he won the 1973 Grand American Handicap title by breaking 99 of 100 targets, and then 24 more in a shoot-off, at the National Trap Shooting competition.
Also saved were several large 3-D antique leather wall hangings that depicted traditional outdoorsman scenes. The art pieces may date back to the time of the Chicago World’s Fair. They have hung on the Sportsmen’s Clubhouse walls for decades.
A quantity of shotgun shells was in the structure. The majority were removed but may have been damaged by water.
An insurance adjuster at the scene said the cause of the fire was lightning, noting a nearby pine tree with a telltale new path in its bark. The structure and contents were insured.
Sandy Bomkamp, who lives nearby, said she heard an especially loud clap of thunder about 9:30 Tuesday night.
Clean-up work was already underway by mid-morning Wednesday and by that evening the regular weekly shoot was underway.A “Go Fund Me” site has been set up on the Internet and it was receiving donations late last week to help finance a new clubhouse. Word of the fire spread quickly throughout the Wisconsin trap shooting community as a number of local gun club members were in Wisconsin Rapids competing at the Wisconsin State Trap Shoot.