OUR HERITAGE

The History of White Gates Skeet Club

White Gates Skeet Club was the vision of five men who shared a loved for skeet and a need for camaraderie. What began as a clearing in a swampy field evolved into a club rich in tradition, anchored by generations of shooters, hunters, and their families.

With a history that spans over 70 years, White Gates has become one of the most prestigious skeet clubs in the Midwest. Today, our private skeet club is home to over 60 members who carry on our founders’ legacy and are proud to be part of a heritage that was created so long ago.

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Mac Stone, Aiming Shotgun

Mac Stone

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Diane Cave

Diane Cave

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Dr. George Sisson

Dr. George Sisson

1940s

Skeet became nonexistent during World War II, as ammunition and equipment were unavailable. Most participants had gone to war, and many gun clubs around the country ceased to operate until the war’s end in 1945. Dedicated skeet enthusiasts officially brought the sport back into the public eye by establishing the National Skeet Shooting Association in December 1946.

Dr. Fredrick E. Haskins shot at the St. Charles Country Club starting in the late ’30s and decided to purchase a land lot for private shooting in 1946. He selected a clearing on his undeveloped farmland that would permit privacy and safety.

White Gates Skeet Club was officially founded in 1947, as post-war American shooters returned to the sport. On the property’s west side was a white fence with a well-hidden, white gate—our Club’s namesake. Only members knew about this camouflaged entrance, which led them down a path, into a clearing in the woods where the skeet field and Clubhouse sat.

1950s

This was a time of growth for White Gates. Men and women adapted to post-war life, and they continued to flock to the small, rustic Clubhouse over the next decade. Members brought guests who would learn to shoot and in turn, join the Club. They also began bringing their families, turning White Gates into a family-oriented gathering spot rather than a men’s social club.

1960s

Women and girls began shooting at White Gates, pioneered by founding member Louise Orr and Illinois competitive shooter Ada Rice. Early member John Jenkins, whose sister was a nationally ranked skeet shooter, was also key in getting women comfortable shooting at the Club.

A Memory Preserved

“The skeet shooting community was close, and throughout the years White Gates gathered interest, membership, and enthusiasm.”

– Carrie Jenkins on a typical Sunday at White Gates

Read Carrie Jenkins’s letter
Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, John Jenkins, Aiming Shotgun

John Jenkins at station 4, 1960s

John Jenkins Shooting Career
Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Sarah Lightfine, Aiming Shotgun

Sarah Lightfine, 1978

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Mary Lou Jenkins in the scoring hut and John Jenkins watching a round, 1967

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Diane Cave, Aiming Shotgun

Diane Cave, 1978

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Mary Lou Jenkins and Nancy Stone

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Gloria Peterson, Bob Cave, Barbara Lillibridge, Rook Smith, Mary Lou Jenkins.

1970s

The ’70s brought considerable change to White Gates Skeet Club. Principal members recruited and taught others to shoot, creating another surge in membership. The Club also introduced competitive shooting, and Pat Peterson was one of our competitive shooters at the time. He contributed to the revival of competitive shooting events among clubs in northern Illinois throughout the late ’70s.

A Memory Preserved

“We had such a grand crowd! Shooting on that day was slim to none, but there was plenty of celebratory sipping and a grand time was had by all.”

-Nancy Stone’s 2004 letter detailing New Year’s Eve ‘79

Read Nancy Stone’s letter

1980s

By the mid-1980s, the Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles was underway. Our Club’s skeet field was in the path of Royal Fox’s golf course, so Dr. Haskins sold the farm to the country club’s developers. He gave WGSC members plenty of notice, ensuring us we could continue shooting there for two, perhaps three, more years.

Then began the search for a new location, and the Club purchased the present land. There were an existing skeet field and primitive concrete block clubhouse, which the Elgin Moose Lodge had rented for many years. White Gates took over and shot there for a few years until the new Clubhouse was built at its present location.

Early member Bob Cave wrote and composed a song to commemorate the last day of skeet on the Haskins farm.

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Dick Wenzel, Pat Peterson

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Bob Cave, Founder Monty Orr

White Gates Farewell
Written and conducted by Bob Cave

(Sung to the tune of “You are My Sunshine”)

O’ there was Haskins and there was Graff
And all the rest who made their paths
To white Gates Skeet Club on every Sunday
To shoot and share a few laughs

For forty years now, we have been shooting
But now it’s coming to an end
We will be leaving, and we’ll be grieving
For our “White Gates” has been like a friend

Our stay is over, we’ve had a good stay
For two score great and glorious years
We sure will miss you, dear White Gates Skeet Club
And we won’t try to hide our tears

Vintage Photo of White Gates Skeet Club Members

Back Row: Britt Larsen, Dick Larsen, Dick Lightfine, Bob Cave, Jim Brown, John Jenkins, Bob Stembridge, Richard Wessels, Dick Wenzel, Mac Stone, Jim Wenzel, Don Mizaur, Dick Mott, Art Richardson, Peter Pund, Weed Vail

Front Row: David Harmon, Jr, Bob Sirotek, Lee Hackley, John Mead, Gordon Ware, Rick Haskins, Rook Smith, Bill Montgomery, Dave Harmon

1990s

In 1997, White Gates Skeet Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala held at Dunham Woods. Although founder Dr. Rick Haskins could not be in attendance, he addressed members with a heartfelt letter detailing the history and sentiments of the Club.

A Memory Preserved

“The membership increased rapidly as you all know but we were happy with the small, rustic, inadequate surroundings and we had fun.”

-Dr. Rick Haskins on the Club’s Early Days

Read Dr. Rick Haskins’s letter
Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Dick Wenzel, Aiming Shotgun

Dick Wenzel


Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Bob Evans

Bob Evans

2000s

With the new millennium came our efforts to preserve the Club’s rich history. We aimed to record first-hand accounts of our Club’s early days. Dedicated volunteers worked with members and their children to collect photographs, stories, and letters.

Around 2007, Kane County officials notified the Club of their intent to take the land near IL-25 to develop the Stearns Road Bridge Corridor. This was a challenge for us, but in July of 2008, the Club sold approximately 5 acres to the county.

2010s

In early 2010, the Club decided to tear down and rebuild the skeet fields with a 15-degree twist to the east. Two years later, the Clubhouse more than doubled in size. Several members donated their time, materials, and labor to help design and build the beautiful addition. Together, they constructed a warm and comfortable environment for social gatherings, meetings, and events. During this time, the Club grew to about 60 members.

Our efforts to honor those with significant contributions to our country and the Club also defined this decade. In 2013, White Gates hosted its first event for Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA,) in which veterans took part in an afternoon shoot and luncheon. We hosted the PVA again in 2017, which was greatly appreciated by all who participated and volunteered.

In 2014 and 2018, White Gates Skeet Club was named Club of the Year by the Illinois State Skeet Association (ISSA). We received this honor because of our contribution to a significant increase in registered targets, hosting the ISSA Fox and Hound and Doc Haskins gun competitions.

Around this time, five members donated the many maple trees you now see on the property. Then, in 2019, the Village of Wayne renewed our annexation into Wayne for another 20 years.

2020s

Our members have enjoyed a lifestyle of camaraderie, relaxation, and skeet and trap for more than 70 years. The club is still private and nonprofit, with nearly 70 members.

While 2020 was a bust due to COVID-19, we remain optimistic. We’re hopeful that our Club will return to weekly get-togethers and competitions. Typically, we come together on Sundays from the middle of September through early May to enjoy a nice luncheon with our families, guests, and friends. We socialize and shoot a few rounds of skeet. Our Club Championship Shoot is typically held in May, and the Annual Dinner and Award Ceremony is in June.

As of 2021, these traditions will continue for the foreseeable future. Although this decade had a rocky start, we look forward to what the next nine years will bring to White Gates Skeet Club. We welcome the next generation of skeet shooters and are ready to introduce them to our rich heritage.

IN MEMORIAM

Our Founders
John Dole

John Dole
1896–1976

White Gates Skeet Club Logo

Dr. Rick Haskins
1899–2003

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Dick Graff Sr.

Dick Graff Sr.
1903 –1978

Vintage Photograph of White Gates Skeet Club Member, Monty Orr

Monty Orr
1912–2000

NOTABLE MEMBERS

Dick and Mary Burke

Bob and June Cave

Bess Dougherty

John and Mary Lou Jenkins

Brooks McCormick

Bud and Marge Odegard

J. McWilliams Stone, Sr.

Bill and Nancy Stone

Dan and Ada Rice

Gordy Ware