The league was organized by the Lebanon Rifle Club. This Club was organized by Roy Bergheiser in about the year 1929-30. Mr. Bergheiser was at that time interested in rifle shooting and set up a range in the basement of his home. After a while, it got too crowded. So, the group got permission to use the National Guard Armory on Chestnut Street. This had 5 firing points. The membership grew and finally that place was too small. Finally, the club rented the present range in the Masonic Hall with 9 firing points about 1930. So, the club is at the same place over 50 years.
Mr. Bergheiser was a pretzel salesman, at the time, and catered to taverns and stores in Lebanon, Dauphin and Lancaster Counties selling pretzels and talking shooting. As a result, several parties got interested and formed a league with Elizabethtown, Ephrata, Quarryville, Lititz, Lancaster and Lebanon participating. About a year or two, Manheim replaced Lititz.
Quarryville and Elizabethtown were replaced with York and Reading entering. York shot in a machine shop. You layed best you could on several narrow gage tracks. In Reading, you fired inside a steel plant in a building with a pot belly stove from a platform thru a porthole into the the cold with your eyeglasses or scope lenses fogging up if you were fortunate enough to own a scope. Scopes were rare, most shooters used iron sights.
Lancaster shot in a firehouse. I think it was on King Street, No. 1 Fire Station, with ground floor. Likewise, Ephrata in a schoolhouse basement also ground floor (not the same school as now). The rest of the buildings I don't remember too clearly.
The course of fire was 10 shots for record. Prone, with 5 bull targets, 2 shots per bull with a sighting bull cut and hung to the left of the target. In the case of a tied score, which happened frequently, the 5 high shooters fired a string of 5 shots to break the tie. That was before the X system came into use and before the A-17 bull target was printed.
The league started after the first of the year with a warm-up match sometime before the league started with all teams participating. One of the first banquets was at Moyer's restaurant at 8th and Willow Streets in Lebanon, just a 1/2 block from the present range. No longer standing, replaced by the present Lawyers Building. According to a news clipping, approximately 60 guests attended with York winning the championship. F.A. Moulton of the N.R.A. was the guest speaker.
Now, the main purpose of this brief history of the league is the fact there is one person, the only man in the league when it first started over a half century ago and still a mighty fine shooter, none other than CHARLIE ECKMAN.