COLUMBIA — Shattered pieces of bright orange clay cover the grassy area of the Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club. The smell of gun smoke permeates the air.
Edward Ruehter, 73, loads his 12-gage shotgun and settles into his shooting stance.
"Pull," he says.
On these words, a volunteer hits the button to release the orange clay bird. The disc shoots out of the trap and flies into the air. The sound of Ruehter's gun rings out and is immediately followed by the shattering of the clay disc.
Ruehter of Camdenton, shoots competitively in Columbia twice a year at the Show-Me State Games and the Senior Games. He shoots for fun every Wednesday and Thursday at the club near his home.
"He's been shooting since black powder was invented," Greg Darrow, a friend of the family, said jokingly.
Ruehter passed on his love of shooting to his family. All three of his sons, his daughter-in-law, and four of his grandsons participate in the sport. His sons, Darrell Ruehter and Dwayne Ruehter, daughter-in-law, Kim Ruehter, and grandson, Brodie Ruehter, 12, also shoot in the Show-Me State Games competition.
Darrell Ruehter and his son, Brodie, shot the round before Edward Ruehter. Standing near the fence by his other son, Edward Ruehter watched his son and grandson shoot at the clay birds.
"Come on Brodie. There you go," Edward Ruehter said to himself as he watched his grandson shoot.
His son Darrell Ruehter was having an off day.
"This is the poorest I've ever seen Darrell shoot," Edward Ruehter said to his son, Dwayne Ruehter.
"That was ugly," Darrell Ruehter said about his performance as he walked back to his family after his first round of shooting.
Darrell Ruehter had a hard time adjusting to the slow and low pull of the clay birds being released from the trap. Other members of his family said they found it difficult as well.
"You have to watch those pulls. If they're slow for me, they're going to be really slow for you," Kim Ruehter said to her husband, Dwayne Ruehter.
Edward Ruehter, too, has a little difficulty with the pull.
"I wish I had known better the first round," Edward Ruehter said about the slow pull.
He still managed to hit 21 clay birds the first round and 25 the second round, giving him a total of 46 out of 50 clay birds.
Edward Ruehter amazes his family with his skill. His sons remember how he inspired them to begin shooting as boys. Dwayne Ruehter said he and his brothers learned how to shoot rifles at the age of 6 and around age 10, they learned how to shoot trap.
The Ruehter family lived in the country, so they didn't bother with shooting ranges. Instead the boys shot in their backyard, using soda cans and squirrels as targets.
"We're all very competitive in a fun way," Dwayne Ruehter said.
He said that his father stopped shooting competitively to raise his sons, but started shooting again six years ago.
"It really brought the family together," Dwayne Ruehter said about the shooting competitions. "It's really a family event."