From ‘Wanda’s place’ to Hall of Fame
She’s the smiling face greeting customers as they enter Indian Creek Shooting Center.
To some, they don’t even know the range is called Indian Creek.
‘Wanda’s place,’ a customer said on the morning of July 4.
Although it isn’t listed as ‘Wanda’s’ in the phone book, on social media or via a Google search, Wanda Seitz is the recognizable person everyone interacts with at the Center west of Georgetown.
Wanda hasn’t shot competitively since 1991 ‘ a year in which she won the Indiana State Ladies Championship ‘ but she’s kept the family business going for much of Southern Indiana, as well as the region, to enjoy.
During the winter, when Wanda received a phone call informing her of induction into the Indiana Trapshooting Hall of Fame, she succumbed to emotions.
‘I cried,’ she said. ‘They called before Christmas, and I was excited. I remember when they first started the Hall of Fame. There aren’t many people from the south in the Hall of Fame.’
Wanda’s shot isn’t so bad either. While she doesn’t shoot as often as she would like, the history proves her talents. Through three decades, Wanda was a member of the Indiana State Ladies Team. Making her first appearance in 1974, she was three times a member in the ’70s, again in 1980 and three additional times in the 1990s.
‘My husband (the late John Seitz) and I, we started shooting in the backyard with some good friends of ours, Jack and Mary Ann Reynolds from Depauw; that was in 1970,’ Wanda recalled. ‘Somebody talked me into trying it, and I liked it. I shot my first target at a gun club in Orleans that is no longer there.’
Wanda joked that she went through three different guns, not having a traditional trap gun at the time, before she could hit targets.
‘It’s a fun thing when you break those targets,’ she said. ‘It’s the thrill of competition and winning, too. I really do enjoy it. Every year we go to the state shoot, I always think, ‘I want to shoot again,’ but I just don’t get it done.’
Despite being right-handed, Wanda shoots with her left. It’s all due to her left eye being more dominant than her right. For a combined 20 years since 1970, Wanda was a competitive shooter. When her son, Jason, who also runs Indian Creek, picked up the sport at age 9, Wanda backed off competing herself.
In 1991, Wanda won the Ladies Championship after being a runner-up in 1975.
‘It was a funny story because I was working (the Championship) in ’91 and I missed my first squad. I had to go to a practice trap to do a make-up. Then, I actually ended up winning the thing,’ Wanda said. ‘It was weird.’
There have been other shooting accolades as well. Combined with John, the couple won Husband and Wife State Championships in 1979 and 1985. Wanda also has several state and regional shooting trophies.
Her shotgun? A trusty Browning BT-99.
When their family home was broken into many years back, her original shotgun was stolen. It was replaced with another BT-99 with personal significance.
‘I got another BT-99 that John gave me,’ Wanda said. ‘On the trigger guard, he had it engraved ‘To Mom from Jason and Me.’ I still shoot that one if I ever get around to shooting. My grandson, Braden, has picked up that gun and shoots in competition.’
Trapshooting has remained in the Seitz family. Jason has been named to the all-state team several times, the first in 2009. His son, Johnathon Seitz, along with his nephew, Braden Jenkins, have caught the firing bug as well.
One of the other key reasons to earning the Hall of Fame bid was the establishment of Indian Creek. The club has grown from a rifle and pistol club when it opened in 1977 to the now popular sporting clays course.
‘We put the sporting clays, skeet in in 1992, and a lot of our customers come for the sporting clays,’ Wanda said. ‘Now we offer skeet, trap and sporting clays.’
‘South of Indianapolis, we’re probably the only full-service trap, shotgun and sporting clays club,’ Jason added. ‘We’re the oldest sporting clays in the state right now.’
Indian Creek offers lessons, shooting supplies, practice time, fundraising events, league and registered shooting competitions as well. People come from great distances to find the location, not hard to miss once you turn on Gun Club Road off S.R. 64. The silo painted to replicate an ammo shell is a dead giveaway. So are the companionable dogs that loom the 4,000-square-foot clubhouse and grounds.
‘They like the friendliness of our club,’ Wanda said. ‘Jason has us on Groupon (a discount website), so you get new faces coming in. We’ve had guys from Florida and New York come in for bachelor parties. They’ll shoot before going to Louisville for bourbon tours. Some haven’t shot before, but we can help.’
‘If you come up to (Wanda) and ask a question on how to shoot or what it takes to be a good shot, she’ll help you,’ Jason said.
It’s that interaction and promotion of trapshooting that Wanda’s son believes deserves the most recognition with the Hall of Fame honor.
‘A lot of people have commented how well deserved the honor is,’ Jason said. ‘A lot of people get the honor because they are good shots and have won a bunch of trophies. They haven’t done as much to promote the sport the way she has. She’s been an ambassador to the sport and tries to get people more involved.’
Even though grandchildren are now involved, Indian Creek has long given opportunities to younger generations. Their youth program has been around for 13 years.
‘This year at the state trap shoot we’ll have six teams of kids,’ Wanda said. ‘In April, kids come out for our free NRA camp. We’d ask if they’d like to continue practicing once a week. It has really grown. We have two high school teams that are doing really well. You hope to maybe plant that seed that they’ll come back when they are older.’
Part of the Indiana State Trapshooting Championships when the Hall of Fame begun, Wanda realizes how big of an honor she received, particularly in this region.
‘There aren’t many in from the south, some from Evansville,’ Wanda said. ‘I nominated (Hall of Famer) Warren Slider from Clarksville, who is a real good shooter. He’s in his 80s now but was a tremendous shooter. He actually was the one that nominated me.’
The Hall of Fame ceremonies took place this past week at the 121st Indiana State Trapshooting Championships in Fishers.
A message to those wanting to attempt shooting for the first time from Wanda is simple: ‘Come out and try it.’
Trying it caught the heart of Wanda, leading to a successful Indian Creek Shooting Center and a spot in the Hall of Fame.