Gander Mountain Academy updates its lessons in gun safety, handling, and marksmanship with virtual shooting technology that was once only available to military and law-enforcement agencies. The ladies-only basic fundamentals class gives women a foundation in the mechanics of handguns and how to use them safely. Students start by winnowing down the right type of gun for their needs, be they self-defense, hunting, or reclaiming the garage from infestations of gremlins. Next, instructors with callused trigger fingers explain the safety rules of handguns, compare ammunition options, and demonstrate proper grip, stance, and trigger control.
Backed by a lifetime of horse-riding and driving experience, Broken Tree Horse & Harness owners Lois and Vance guide their fleet of steeds on scenic strolls through the Minnesota countryside. The horses—which include an Arabian mare, a Quarab, and numerous Norwegian Fjord breeds—pull a range of wheeled and bladed transports to fit the seasons. In warmer weather, riders hop on a wagon to enjoy a 10-mile trip around a lake or a three-hour ride out to a historic 1880s schoolhouse, built in a time when horses still weren't allowed to learn math. During the autumn and winter, riders sip hot chocolate on brisk sleigh rides over freshly fallen snow.
While other athletic clubs hibernate, Majestic Oaks welcomes Old Man Winter's frigid embrace with snow-savvy cheer. Played using golf clubs and a fuzzy tennis ball, snow golf provides nine holes of family-spanning fun and takes less than an hour to complete. Traversing the course, most of whose holes are under 100 yards, provides a reason to enjoy a brisk winter afternoon with friends while getting some light exercise. Hot chocolate and coffee (a value of $1.50 each) can keep your foursome of snow-golfers warm or can be used to punish snowmen who overindulge in mulligans.
The sharp shooters at Average Joes Archery supply aspiring archers with equipment, including quiet-hunting and target bows from brands such as Strother Archery and BowTech. A 40-yard indoor shooting range with 20 lanes allows shooters to refine their ability to hit a target, thereby improving balloon-animal hunting skills. During parties, approximately 10 kids learn the ropes of archery-themed games and replenish their energy with candy and soda. Leagues for adults and youth provide both camaraderie and practice, meeting weekly for 10 to 12 weeks. The knowledgeable staffers at Joes also supply hunting and fishing licenses and educate up-and-coming archers with group and private lessons. To remedy worn-out equipment, target annihilators may return to Joes for arrow and bow repair, bow tuning, or a replacement bow signed by Cupid.
For more than 30 years, County Cycles has been outfitting riders of all ages with bikes of all types. It provides customers with a wide range of gear and cycling accessories from parts and helmets to road and mountain bikes from brands such as Trek, Bianchi, and Felt. Its technicians are trained to work with bikes of all major brands, and can lubricate cables, adjust seats, and fix busted tires so that bikes can ride on their own instead of being pulled by horses.
Family owned since it first welcomed customers in 1887, Strauss Skates and Bicycles has supplied every subsequent generation of Saint Paul's skaters and bikers with top gear and repairs. Specializing in hockey, the store stocks gear such as blades, boots, and skates, which resident sharpener Scott hones using more than 40 years of industry experience.
When that gear starts to smell, the Strauss team calls in the Sani Sport machine, whose 16-minute cycles kill nearly 99% of bacteria from hockey equipment so referees don't have to hose players down in between periods. In addition to its hockey goods, the Strauss crew spruces up bikes with in-depth tune-ups and offers custom head-stringing services for lacrosse players/