Former Supreme Court Justice set stage for love of trapshooting in Otter Tail County

Trapshooting is enjoyed by many people in Otter Tail County. In this photo, taken on Wednesday evening, August 30, Ryan Rogness prepares to shoot at the Lakes Area Trapshooting Center north of Fergus Falls.
Photo by Tom Hintgen

Renowned Otter Tail County Attorney Roger Dell, who also served as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, had a duck hunting cabin at Mud Lake, near Dead Lake and southwest of Dent.

He loved the outdoors and especially enjoyed duck hunting and fishing in Maine Township, Otter Tail County.

In 1943 Dell served as president of the Minnesota State Trapshooting Association.

He was a top competitor in national trapshooting and ranked high in the Grand American competition at Vandalia, Ohio.

He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar and moved to Fergus Falls. Dell practiced law with several different law partners until Gov. C. Elmer Anderson appointed him to the Minnesota Supreme Court in January of 1953. In July of the same year, he was elevated to chief justice. Dell left the court in 1962.

After his retirement, Dell used his personal wealth to embark upon a renewal project of the business area of Fergus Falls. He died in 1966. The Dell Trust was established in his name.

Dell, after his death, was recognized for his love of trapshooting by being inducted into the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame.

More about trapshooting 

Trapshooting derives its name from the device called a trap which throws clay targets into the air. Trap houses are located in front of the shooters.

Shotgun target shooting dates back to 1881 when sportsmen used glass balls as targets.

In 1907 there was a shooting grounds in the southeast section of Fergus Falls. In 1932, the Fergus Falls Gun Club started shooting on the east shore of Wall Lake, west of Underwood.

War effort in WWII boosted by area ‘Liberty Bond Shoot’ 

By 1941 a group of trapshooters in the Fergus Falls area were shooting on the south side of Pebble Lake. The following year, during World War II, a Victory Bond Shoot was held at the new trapgrounds.

Winners received savings bonds which helped support the troops overseas.

The first Memorial Day Weekend Shoot was held in 1943. Over succeeding years trapshooters from throughout Minnesota and other parts of the upper Midwest competed during the Memorial Day Shoot in Fergus Falls.

Today, trapshooting is enjoyed by many people in various sections of Otter Tail County.