Sandy Sanderson – Celebrate our Oldest Living BISC Member
by Sagel Bush (BIHS Sophomore)
95 years old, shoots a shotgun, and has a license plate “PASSGAS”. Sandy Sanderson has been a member of the Bainbridge Island Sportsmen’s Club (BISC) for 71 years. His dedication to the club and love of shooting shows how truly special he is. Sandy’s history with the club is evident in all the stories he has to tell, his many successes, and all the hearts he has touched. Mr. Sanderson may be old, but he doesn’t show any signs of stopping his memorable antics.
Long ago, when Sandy was about 21 years old, he was introduced to BISC by a colleague working on one of the ferries near the island. This introduction sparked a fire under Sandy, causing him to fall in love with shooting. This ferry skipper showed Sandy the rifle range; which has become the shotgun, archery, and pistol ranges. Around the same time, the rifle range was taken over by the shotgun club, Sandy joined the shotgun shooters. The interest in shotguns outshone riflery due to the successes of the shotgun shooters. The shotgun club was at their peak; the best in the county.
As the club grew, Sandy’s love for shooting blossomed. He became more involved in the club, to the point that he explained it as being “deep into the club”. He even brought the club to his work when he began to work on the island. At his barber shop on the island, Sandy sold memberships and collected dues for BISC. In the back of the shop, you could even find some of his reloading equipment. During his free time, he would hang out at auctions to get furniture for the club. This even involved coming in early to auctions to scout furniture that people were bringing in. He would either try to buy it from them on the spot or watch where the it went for the best chance to purchase it. Others noticed his devotion to the club when he was elected for club president in 1959 and then again in 1970.
Sandy enjoys every part of the club that he helped to build; Mr. Sanderson helped to build the archery, pistol, and shotgun ranges. Sanderson says that his favorite part of shooting is the sound that it gives off. Even though he says that, he has always put others ahead of himself and when asked what his biggest success has been at the club, he always says it has been helping others get into shooting. He loves getting kids interested in shooting and giving them “the bug”, that keeps them and their parents coming back.
To this day, Sandy Sanderson continues to support the Bainbridge Island shooting club and keeps on going out to hear the bang of the gun. And even though so much time has passed, he can point to different places on the range say what stood there and when. For the buildings still standing, he can say where they got the materials and what role he played in building it. Sandy continues to give other people “the bug” and put smiles on their faces.