Contributed photo
Sybil Lake Gun Club members recently donated $120,000 to area trap shooting and fishing league teams, area outdoor and lake associations and the Sybil Lake cemetery after the sale of the land that housed the former club for seven decades. Front row: Secretary Carol Sharp, Treasurer Stacy Berven, Donnie Greenwood, Vice President Mike Fick. Back row: Larry Hoffmann, Jeanne Greenwood, President Mud Berven, Kraig Glawe, Larry Schermerhorn. Not pictured, Patty Jaeger.

By Robert Williams


Local Facebook users may have noticed a thread hijack last weekend when the Lake Sybil Rod and Gun Club went around the area donating large sums to area outdoor-related clubs and associations.

The gun club disbanded late last year and the board of directors and club members used the money from the sale of the club’s land to benefit others.

“Since we were a nonprofit, all our proceeds from the sale of the property will be given to other nonprofits that encourage outdoor activities and youth programs.”

Stacy Bergen, Sybil Lake Rod and Gun Club treasurer

Right up to the very end, the club stuck to its mission statement:

“The purpose of this Club is to: organize fishing and shooting sporting events among its members and persons residing in our community; to promote education of and encouragement for organized fishing, rifle, pistol and shotgun sports; to encourage good citizenship, good sportsmanship, honesty, self-discipline, team play, community service, and humanitarian services; to improve the safe handling and proper care of firearms.”

“That’s what we’ve tried to do over the years,” said Berven.

In total, the club donated $125,000 and spread it around the area.

Three of the donations totaling $44,000 went to the Frazee Area Action Fund ($15,000), Frazee Trap team ($14,500) and Pelican Rapids Trap team ($14,500). Those donations were made in memory of 2011 Frazee-Vergas high school graduate Kyle Quittschreiber, who passed away in 2018.

“They were things that Kyle, he would have been right on it, he would have loved those things,” said Berven. 

One of the many Facebook donation posts came from Kyle’s mother Kathy, who said, ”We hope these inspire our youth to love the outdoors as much as he did. We are blessed to live in a community that continues to show so much support!”

Disbanding the club and selling the land was no easy task for club members.

“It was horrible; it was very bittersweet for all of us. We were talking about it two years ago.”

Stacy Berven on the closing of the club

The club’s leadership group consisted of secretary Carol Sharp, treasurer Stacy Berven, Donnie Greenwood, vice president Mike Fick, Larry Hoffmann, Jeanne Greenwood, president Mud Berven, Kraig Glawe, Larry Schermerhorn and Patty Jaeger. Donating the money was an effort sponsored by the entire group.

Over the seven decades the club was running, in the end, the increasing ages of the group members negated the club’s future, something Berven spoke about with some humor noir.

“We died of old age; none of us had kids that needed to go through gun training anymore,” she said. “It was a core group of 8 or 9 of us and we’d go to a meeting once a month, have a beer, and say, well, what do you guys think?”

Part of why the club hung on the last two years was for Iona Tenter, an original founder.

“Mud said, ‘I don’t want to break her heart,’” Stacy Berven said. 

Two days after the land was sold Iona passed away on October 17, 2022.

The 70-year-old club was established in 1953 by secretary-treasurer Erv Tenter, president Vince Spoth and vice president George Klatt.

The land was purchased from Albert and Alvina Bunkowske in 1959. The land was deeded to the club by the Bunkowskes for $1. 

The club purchased an old schoolhouse in Edna Township and moved it to the property. Erv’s wife Iona taught in that schoolhouse after graduating from Moorhead State University and prior to continuing her teaching career in Perham.

In 1964, a kitchen was added and the club became a social outing for many people in the area.

“A lot of people remember going there for dances, potlucks and all kinds of stuff,” said Berven.

One of the first outdoor activities was creating rearing ponds to seine minnows to supply Sybil Lake fisherman and anglers from other area lakes.

From 1957-70, the club sponsored a large fishing derby on Lake Lida. 

Other activities over the years included raising pheasants, feeding deer, building duck houses and loon platforms, swimming lessons, firearm safety training, snowmobile safety training, and regular cleaning and improvements at area lake accesses.

The club was funded by an annual sausage feed that began in 1970 and ran until 2020. It was replaced by a gun raffle during Looney Days

“Gene’s Sports Shop in Perham was wonderful to us; we always bought our guns from them,” said Berven.

The club’s board made sure to spread their donations to people who had a connection to Sybil Lake, including Ethan Soland of the Fergus Falls High School fishing team.

“This kind of donation breathes life into a volunteer program that can sustain it for years to come. We are forever grateful and will look to continue the mission Sybil Lake Rod and Gun Club started so long ago—getting our youth involved in the outdoors.”

Ethan Soland, member of the Fergus Falls High School fishing team

Soland attended his gun training certification at the clubhouse as a young child, as did his brothers, parents, and grandparents. 

“As I sat and listened to the history of the club last night I couldn’t help but feel grateful for everything they have done for Sybil Lake and the surrounding community,” he said. “Sybil Lake has always held a special place in my heart. It’s where my love of fishing started as a young child sitting on the dock with my grandparents. It’s where my dad and I have made my favorite memories fishing for walleyes as the sun set over the pines. It’s where we gather every summer with family and friends for fish frys and picnics. It’s where my own children love to swim and play. To know Sybil lake is to love it with every piece of your heart. That’s why this donation means so much to me, personally. There’s no doubt the Fergus Falls Fishing Team will carry on the legacy so many others have built. Thank you to everyone at Sybil Rod and Gun Club and for trusting us to carry on your mission of involving kids in the outdoors.”

According to Berven, the club members will be giving out another round of donations later in the fall.

“It was very humbling for all of us, very heartwarming and bittersweet selling it, but this is what made it good,” said Berven. “We were all just thrilled.”


• Frazee Area Action Fund $15,000*

• Frazee Trap team $14,500*

• Pelican Rapids Trap team $14,500*

• Perham Hot Shot Trap team $14,500

• Fergus Falls High School Fishing Team $14,500

• Cormorant Lakes Sportsman’s Club $14,500

• Minnesota Trappers Association $6,100

• Dunvilla Shooting Club/Pheasants Forever $6,100

• Sybil Lake Association $6,100

• Sybil Lake Cemetery $6,100

• Minnesota Game Warden Foundation Fish Cops for Kids program $5,000

*In memory of Kyle Quittschreiber