The Raahauge's Story
Keeping the American Heritage Alive
We have been throwing targets for a long time...
The bustle of city life and Southern California freeways are soon left behind when one drives through the entrance once adorned with longhorns. Drive around a couple of corners and the world of the Prado Basin opens up. The skies offer an endless view from the Cleveland National Forest to the south, the San Bernardino mountain range to the north, the Norco Hills to the east and the Chino Hills to the west. In the fall and winter -- like clockwork -- ducks, geese, cormorants and other migrating waterfowl find their way home to the 1,200 acres of what is known as "the range."
Along with being home to beautiful views and countless wildlife, the Range is also the location of the longest continuous running Sporting Clays range in the country.
Since the beginning of their time in the Corona-Norco area, Mike and Elanie Raahauge have worked to create and maintain an ultimate refuge for the outdoor sportsman; a tradition their family has proudly continued.
How did we get our start?
Mike's dad, Linc Raahauge, operated a pheasant hunting facility in Dixon, CA in the 1950s. At this facility, they also offered target shooting, in a crazy quail fashion. While on a family trip to Disneyland, Linc got lost and ended up on Highway 71; thinking the area would make an ideal pheasant farm, the family decided following the migratory birds south to the Prado Basin would be a natural expansion of their current business. Although Mike wasn't on the infamous vacation detour, he helped his father move their operations and sign a lease with the Orange Country Water District in 1971.
In addition to the beautiful landscape and the natural habits of quails migrating through the area, moving south meant the opportunity to serve the hunting needs of a larger population. Linc and Mike opened their first Southern California location on Bluff Street in Norco, just a few miles from our current location. Pheasant and duck hunting served as the foundation of Raahauge's on Bluff Street; target traps were added to the balcony of the clubhouse offering sportsmen not only an interesting way to improve their accuracy but a breathtaking view of the Santa Ana River, metaphorically, killing two birds with one stone. The family eventually expanded their marksmanship offerings by building a trap range. Throughout our years in operation, we have offered chukar, quail, and other upland game hunting. The current shooting range -- on River Rd., Corona -- is the area where the family raised pheasants. Raising about 125,000 birds annually, the most birds shot in one year was just below 50,000.
In the 1980s, Dan Carlisle discovered our little oasis and came to our business to practice after his participation in the 1984 Olympic Games. During his time with us, Dan introduced our family and business to Sporting Clays, bringing an exciting expansion to the Raahauge Range. While Dan was involved with the preparations for the 1988 Olympic Games, Mike increased our Sporting Clays course to 10 stations and began offering monthly Fun Shoots, a tradition which we proudly continue to this day.
Ever the entrepreneur, Mike also began simultaneously working with a few representatives of various gun manufacturers to establish and host our first Hands-On Shooting Sports Fair in 1983. This partnership and endeavor was such a success, the representatives took the show on the road, offerings yearly hands-on shows in Washington, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. The Hands-On Shooting Sports Fair is another legacy we continue to uphold, welcoming over 15,000 attendees to our event every year.
Unfortunately, the family lost Linc in 1989 and Mike continued to operate and man the front office of the Range until his death in 2013. Before his death, however, Mike got to witness a number of wonderful events within our business, and more importantly, within our family. He saw his children, Pat and Cindy, raise their children and accomplish their dreams; including Cindy becoming an Olympic Skeet Shooter in the 2000 Olympic Games; as well as the accomplishments of the graduations of numerous grandkids.
Following Mike's death, Cindy and her husband returned to California after raising their kids in North Carolina, to help the family continue the Raahauge legacy. With Eliane still at the helm; Cindy, Pat, and their spouses, Kevin and Haylee, oversee the day-to-day operations of the Range; where you can also spot a number of Mike's grandkids, nieces, and nephews still working and sometimes visiting while on vacation.
The Range Today
Today, the Range is constantly buzzing with activity, including; regular Fun Shoots and Youth Shooting Education on our Sporting Clays Range; morning duck hunts in the basin; various hands-on rifle and pistol courses taking place at our Bays; annual events such as our Youth Days and Hands-On Sports Fair; not to mention the countless guests we serve on a daily basis.
Additionally, the range is the center of gravity for many local wildlife and conservation organizations and serves as the location of numerous Hunter Safety Courses, a tradition started and championed by Mike. Through these educational opportunities, students are taught not only how to safely operate their firearms in a hunting situation, but first-aid skills, game identification, wilderness survival, the laws of California, and so much more; all calumniating in students earning their hunting license. After his passing, Mike and his efforts in creating a culture of firearm safety was recognized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through the presentation of an award to Eliane and the family. Mike was incredibly proud that the range served, consistently, as the top location for producing Hunter Safety Course graduates. "Of everything I do here, that's the most important," Mike said. "It's the dearest thing to my heart. It makes it a safer world. There are guns in our society. People need to know how to handle them safely. We're giving them a safe way to deal with guns."
You, too, can become a part of this legacy by taking a Hunter Safety Course.