PRSC Club History
The Powder River Sportsmen's Club was organized in 1953 by merging the Baker County Rod & Gun Club, the Oregon Game Protective Society and the Oregon Trail Rifle and Pistol Club. The original PRSC incorporators were Floyd “Pat” Murphy, W. Joseph O’Connor, and Franklin Lew.
History of predecessor clubs:
The Oregon Game Protective Society was organized in 1946 by a number of sportsmen who were interested in protecting Oregon elk herds. Murphy was secretary of this organization, and subsequently served as secretary of PRSC until his retirement in 1967. Pat built the PRSC membership to a peak of over 1400 members in 1961, and was the club’s first Honorable Life Member. For reference, PRSC membership was 350 members in 1987 and hovers at approximately 200 members annually today.
After disbanding during WWII, the Oregon Rifle and Pistol Club was re-organized in 1946. O’Connor served as the treasurer of that club, and subsequently as treasurer of PRSC from 1953 until his retirement in 1979.
The Baker County Rod & Gun Club was very active in conservation efforts in Oregon between WWI and WWII. The club was responsible for regional introduction of Hungarian Partridges, stocking trout in mountain lakes, stocking mountain goats and bighorn sheep in the Wallowas, and contributing to the listing of bear and cougar as game management species. At one time, club member Blaine Hallock served a term on the State Game Commission. In the early twenties, the Baker County Rod & Gun Club members built a clubhouse entirely with volunteer effort using plans prepared by J. H. Neder. The clubhouse was eventually sold by PRSC in 1976. It was remodeled to become Klondike Pizza, and later a Chinese restaurant.
Highlights of PRSC Club History
For a period of time up until 1980, PRSC also operated the Baker Trap Club.
PRSC published its own newspaper from 1958 until the final issue printed in December, 1987. O’Connor served as editor of the paper for its entire history. Copies of the final issue are linked at the bottom of this page.
PRSC sponsored an annual sports show in the Baker Community Center until 1976.
Club volunteers participated in annual spring cleanup work at area fishing reservoirs, including installation and maintenance of “Chic Sale” outhouses at these reservoirs. PRSC participated in the effort to create a state park at the Unity reservoir.
PRSC held an annual Crab Feed in the Baker Community Center from 1957 until 1973, and an annual Shrine football barbecue from 1973 to 1979.
The Oregon Bottle Bill originated on the floor of the club, inspired by PRSC members who were tired of cleaning up trash left by irresponsible campers and fishermen at area reservoirs. The bill was signed into law in 1971 by Governor McCall, and similar legislation has since been passed in 10 other states.
The 1000-yard rifle range at Virtue Flat was first discussed in 1956, but progress was slow through the official ground-breaking ceremony in 1965. The project took off after Anthony Brandenthaler of Burnt River Lumber Co. and Sig Ellingson of Ellingson Lumber Co. became interested. Elton Saunders, an engineer from Ellingson, oversaw a crew and equipment donated by Ellingson in construction of the target pit and firing berms. Materials and equipment furnished by George Reed and Baker County were used in the construction of the access road. The range was dedicated in 1968 with it’s first registered NRA match, fired at 200, 300, 600, & 1000 yards.
PRSC was instrumental in the re-organization of the Oregon Wildlife Federation during the 1960’s, including assistance provided in starting their newspaper.
PRSC has conducted Hunter Safety Classes for thousands of area youth, participated in winter feeding of wild game, donated to coyote control efforts, contested anti-trapping legislation, and remains active today with a variety of matches as well as programs for youth hunters.
For more details on the early history of the club, click the links below to access the final issue of the PRSC newspaper, which includes O’Connor’s final article on club history.
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