Established in 1937 at what was then Kato’s Garage in Troy, New York. In the 40’s, the league moved to the Troy Armory. 1960 was the year the league moved to it’s current location in the Lansingburgh section of Troy near the rear entrance of Oakwood Cemetery at 38 Grace Court.
Words shared by a past member Bernard Miller for our 75th Anniversary Banquet.
TROY PISTOL LEAGUE, INC.
My name is Bernard Miller. I am Seymour’s younger brother. I joined the Troy Pistol League in the early 50’s, I don’t remember the exact year, but it must have been about 1953. I was introduced to TPL by a prominent local Optometrist, Dr. Irving Woodroe.
At the time, we were shooting at the La Salle High School rifle range. Some of our prominent members graduated from La Salle and arranged for us to use the range. We collected a $.50 range fee; the proceeds were used to pay the janitor to clean up after the shooting.
The school had a change of leadership and wanted more money to use the range. They wanted more than we collected in range fees. Because of this, we increased the range fee to $1.00 with $.50 earmarked for a Building Fund.
Because of this we moved to the Troy Armory for a range in which to shoot. Conditions at this range were not ideal, because there were eight firing positions, but were arranged with four on each side of the room. There was no meeting room, so people not shooting congregated in the middle. This made it not only difficult for the range officer, but we did not consider it safe.
At this point, we started looking for our own building to build a range. We finally found the site that the range is on now. It was an unused oil distribution garage with many problems, but workable. Three members signed the note to purchase the building and plans were underway. A local contractor, Robert Belerose furnished the T4 steel for the back and engineered the installation. There were many modifications that were done mostly by members.
When the range was complete, we went to two nights shooting, .22 on Tuesdays and Center fire on Fridays.
While we were still shooting at La Salle, It was evident that there was no leadership in the League. A young man, Anthony Manory, had just returned from the army. He belonged to the Pistol League before his Military service and was well known by many members. The membership asked him to become President. He approached me and asked me to be Secretary as he knew I was very interested in shooting and I accepted. Another fellow shooter that Tony Manory knew became treasurer. Don Lebbentritt held that position for a long time.
Upon looking over what little records there were, I discovered that we had lost our DCM affiliation and were no longer receiving free ammunition. I re-enrolled us with DCM and NRA.
It soon became evident that the range fees we were collecting were not covering expenses. I did an analysis and came up with an annual dues-range fee structure to help us out. I think the fee was $35.00 which would cover dues and range fees for the 30 week shooting system. This would give a break to the shooters who shot every week and ensure shooters who only showed up sporadically pay their fair share.
I also started establishing teams to hold some competition and make things more interesting. It was a handicap system similar to bowling. At one time we had six to eight teams competing. Two of the teams were members of a local Rifle and Pistol Club, Taconic Valley Gun Club. Capitan Steely of NY State Police, Troop G, Assigned two teams to compete with our League. This was the Troopers assigned duty.
In the late 70’s or early 80’s, two members, Ted Fusco and Chip Cipirani, organized our first NRA Approved Matches. They were very successful.
Tony Manory and I did a lot of match shooting, including about nine years attending the National Matches at Camp Perry. I bring this up, because we met Sargent Hulet Benner at many of these matches. When he found out that we were in Troy, N.Y and he was at West Point, he wanted to know if he could bring his cadets to a match. We of course agreed and to reciprocate, he invited us down to West Point to shoot at their range. Sargent Benner was National Pistol Champion for many years and was also International Slow and Rapid Fire Champion.
I continued shooting with the Pistol League until 1990 when I retired and moved out of the area.
Thank you Bernard for sharing your piece of the history of The Troy Pistol League!