Labor Day holiday draws people outdoors in Columbia

Monday, September 2, 2013 | 7:57 p.m. CDT; updated 4:07 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Abbott family went fishing on Labor Day at Cooper's Landing.

*An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect location for the shooting range. The range is located in the Rocky Forks Conservation Area, which is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

COLUMBIA — Chuck Comstock raised his shotgun into the air and pulled the trigger, igniting a loud pop that echoed across the Rocky Forks Conservation Area* on Monday.

Comstock spent the afternoon at the target range shooting shotguns with Melissa Reaves. He said he was showing her how to safely use the firearm and how to use a special tool to fill clay pigeons.

"This is a really cool park," he said. "I'm from Nebraska, and we don't have stuff like this, so just knowing this is close by, and if we're not going to be at the lake, it gives us something different to do."

Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer, is a holiday people traditionally spend doing outdoor activities, such as barbecuing or spending time on the water. People around Columbia followed suit, visiting destinations such as the state park and local pools.

Art Sutter was in Columbia for Labor Day to visit his son, who attends MU. The two spent the holiday afternoon at Rocky Forks, practicing trapshooting. Sutter said the range was good practice for duck and pheasant season.

"These conservation areas are great around here in Missouri," he said. "I'm from Illinois, and for something like this we have to go to private clubs. This is a little more convenient and more accessible."

Several miles away, Matt Geisler and his family were among many who chose to spend the day in the sun at Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center.

"It finally came down to below 100 degrees today, so it was nice to get out and into the water," he said. "There's probably 50 to 100 more people here than there usually is on a Monday or any given weekend."

The center's head manager Chris Fernandez said the crowd was fairly typical for a Monday, but he said the center was a little more crowded, partly because it was the last day it would be open to the public until Memorial Day. 

"We might be a little busier today because it is kind of our last hurrah," he said. "We get a lot more families also on Labor Day, kids aren't in school, so it's sort of the last fling for the summer."

Supervising editor is Margaux Henquinet.

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