TJ Houdek Trapshooting Tourney held in memory of outdoorsman, artist
By John Burbridge
NASHUA — It would have been the type of booby prize that waits in ambush behind Door No. 3 and — once revealed — sucker punches the poor contestant suckered into making a deal for it.
It was a three-foot-sized painted aluminum statue of a “Drunken Monkey” with a beer can in his hand.
And it sold for $250 during a live auction near the end of the fourth-annual TJ Houdek Memorial Trapshooting Tournament, Saturday at Nashua Fish and Game Club.
There were other items which eventually commanded that price or higher, including a glass-plated print of one of Houdek’s artworks he produced as an aspiring artist.
Houdek, who was also an ardent outdoorsman and president of the Ducks Unlimited chapter at Iowa State University, was due to have his work on display during an Art-a-Fest event in Charles City’s Central Park before he was killed July 17, 2016 in a motorcycle-truck accident within a treacherous intersection in Floyd.
Some proceeds for the tournament go to the TJ Houdek Memorial Scholarship Fund, which each year awards a graduate from the Charles City/Nashua-Plainfield High School Trapshooting Team a $1,000 scholarship.
Other proceeds go to improvements for the HS program and its home facility at Nashua Fish and Game Club. These have included the purchase of two sets of bleachers, new light standards, lights for the new flag pole, and air conditioning in the clubhouse.
“We plan to use proceeds from this tournament to make this place more handicap accessible,” said Diane Ruth, who was helping run the tournament.
Top tournament shooters in the Men’s Division were Cody Mercer, who placed first after a round of hitting 49-of-50 clays; Mike Oleson (2nd, 46); and Tim Kueter, who tied Kevin Tierney after hitting 44 of 50, then won the subsequent shoot off.
Top Women’s Division placers were Rebecca Tierney (1st), Sydney Ross (2nd) and Julia Hanson (3rd).
In Team competition, Frederika Locker — consisting of Randy Ruth, Ryan Ruth, Luke Hillegas, Kueter and Oleson — won by hitting a combined total of 216 clays.
In past tournaments, Diane Ruth has been one of the top shooters among the women and men, but was unable to compete in this one due to back spasms.
“It would hurt too much for me to be out there, but it also hurt not being able to shoot,” she said. “I’ll be back next year.”