From time to time I am asked to relate how ThankBuy got its start. Most people think it was a great stroke of genius, but it wasn't. Simply stated, the beginning of the Company was a little bit of dream and a lot of circumstance.
From my earliest days I was interested in guns, shooting and hunting. I have great memories of being with my dad Gilbert, while he hunted and hunting with him when I was old enough. We hunted mostly rabbits, squirrel, quail and raccoon. Dad had a Remington Model 12, 22 caliber pump that I restocked in high school woodworking class and a Belgium made, 12 gauge hammer-type double-barrel shotgun. Later on, he bought a Marlin 30/30 as the whitetail deer herd in Missouri flourished. My first gun was a Stevens 12 gauge single-shot, handed down from my older brother Marion, on my 13th Christmas.
We were a family of nine, living in rural northeast Missouri (near Ely) and didn't have much money. Reflecting back, Dad's subscription to Outdoor Life must have been a Christmas present. I read every issue as a teenager, reveling at the exploits of Jack O'Connor and the "This happened to me" page. Somewhere I got a Shooter's Bible, again probably for Christmas. What a marvel this was for a poor country teenager. I fell in love with Browning guns, though it would be years before I owned one.
While attending the University of Missouri, I was introduced to skeet by a friend from back home. I loved breaking clay targets and it was a good opportunity to be around guns. I bought a Remington 870 12 gauge with an improved cylinder barrel, for $112.50. It was a wonderful gun and I shot my first 25 straight with it. Brenda and I were married in 1970. We bought her an 870 20 gauge, with a skeet barrel for $116.25. There was no real gun shop in Columbia, MO, but I got to know a local gunsmith named Bill Morgan and regularly visited the few stores that carried guns.
I joined the Air Force in 1971, after finishing my degree in business. My first duty assignment was Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. Here I got to know John Baregi at the base firing range and helped set up the base Rod and Gun club where we built a modest trap range. I made a friend named Truman Wilson, who was also in the Air Force. Truman had a Federal Firearms License and was instrumental in my getting one about 1973. Brenda and I shot skeet regularly at the police department skeet range. When I turned 21, a Smith & Wesson Model 39 in 9mm was my first purchase. Standing at seven yards from a standard upper-torso target, I could barely keep the bullets in the cardboard. This was my first experience with a handgun.
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