By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
Friends of William Penn University gathered at Penn Central Mall Saturday evening for some good food and raffle drawings to support the Stadium at the Lacey Complex during the Duck Plucker’s Ball.
The dinner that featured raffles, and silent and live auctions finished the day that began with shooting competitions at the Izaak Walton League range east of Oskaloosa.
This past year, there were 225 people who attended the ball. This year, about 175 to 180 people were expected, William Penn Vice President of Advancement Sherri Taylor said.
The inaugural ball this past year was a success, Taylor said.
“It really was. A lot of people came last year not knowing what to expect,” she said.
Taylor said that William Penn chose a hunting motif as a way to connect with the community.
William Penn Athletic Director Greg Hafner addressed the crowd just before dinner.
“The stadium has been a great addition to the community,” he said.
Besides the stadium, the Babe Ruth fields and the five-plex baseball diamonds attract many people to the community.
The inaugural ball proceeds were used toward the new track and field features of the stadium. This year, the stadium will have a new bleacher area for the east side visitors’ area as well as locker room improvements, Hafner said.
One of the items up for action Saturday night was a duck hunting blind that Pete and Ron Van Polen designed and built.
“I had this idea to do this and I went to him,” Ron said of Pete. Pete is owner of White Oak Repair.
Ron said that “off and on,” it took a team of three people 40 hours to complete the duck blind.
“It all came together slowly,” Ron said. “We weren’t sure what it would look like when it was done.”
The duck blind is made of lightweight metal.
“We built it so an ATV could pull it around,” Ron said.
The duck blind weighs between 300 and 350 pounds and can hold up to five people and a hunting dog.
Earlier Saturday, William Penn alumnus Jessica Taylor tested her shooting skills at the Quail Walk course at the Izaak Walton League range.
She shot with an over-and-under 12 gauge Weatherby shotgun.
“I’m just an outdoor person,” Taylor said of her interest in shooting.
Oskaloosa High School shooting team coach Larry Gay manned one of the two Quail Walk courses Saturday. Gay remotely activated clay pigeon launchers to surprise the shooters.
“It’s a game years ago,” he said. The game was used to simulate hunting conditions, he added.
William Penn alumnus Zach Strong assisted Gay. The course has 25 clay pigeons that the shooter must hit at eight different stations.
“It’s challenging,” Gay added. “This is not structured. I decide when you’re ready” to shoot a clay pigeon, he said.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at email@example.com