Malcolm Menzies, 80, walks off after shooting a round of skeet at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Malcolm Menzies, 80, walks off after shooting a round of skeet at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Shootin’ sharp: 80-year-old trap shooter from Juneau wins gold medal

Trap shooter remains sharp at senior games.

At 80, Malcolm Menzies doesn’t have a great deal of mobility. He walks at a gradual pace, the toll of a recreational basketball career that spanned five decades.

“This is totally replaced, the whole knee, that’s why I limp a little,” Menzies said in an interview on Wednesday evening, gesturing to his right knee.

Three years ago, he suffered a series of strokes that hospitalized him for one month.

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But his eyes and upper body strength are in working order, and that’s what matters for him to be able to pursue his current sport of choice: trap shooting.

He’s not a bad shot either. Menzies won a gold medal for trap shooting at the Alaska International Senior Games last month in Fairbanks.

Malcolm Menzies, 80, shoots skeet at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Malcolm Menzies, 80, shoots skeet at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“This was the first year I went to an Alaska games,” Menzies said. “I’ve been to other games, other places, but not Alaska. All of sudden I was reading the paper and I decided to go.”

Over the last two decades, Menzies has shot hoops and clay targets across the country, from Utah to Washington to Michigan to Florida. At the 2014 Huntsman World Senior Games, an international senior sports competition held every fall in Utah, Menzies won a gold in the doubles trap, silver in wobble trap and bronze in handicap trap.

After his health issues in 2016, Menzies said it took three months of recovery before he could shoot again. Now, he shoots three times a week at the Juneau Gun Club.

“You just pick it up again,” Menzies said.

“I was (a) born hunter and I just started shooting (in my 40s), that’s all,” he added.

Menzies was a longtime member of the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club. When the club’s popularity declined about 15 years ago, he made the switch to the Juneau Gun Club. At the time, he was already a club member, having surveyed the land on which the club was built. An engineer by trade, he became the former Southeast Region Director of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities before retiring in 2009.

When he was with a private engineering firm, “I gave them a bill, and they said they couldn’t pay me, so they gave me free membership forever and I’ve been a member for umpteen years,” Menzies said. “It was about 15 years ago that I got wiggled into joining a league and that kind of stuff. Before that, I was a rifle shooter.”

Malcolm Menzies, 80, talks about his long shooting career at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Malcolm Menzies, 80, talks about his long shooting career at the Juneau Gun Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Menzies was a member of the 2019 Alaska Senior Games. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Menzies eventually became president of the club, and now assists current president Jerry Godkin.

“He’s got so much knowledge and wisdom, I can go ask him, ‘What do you think?’ and he’ll give me an answer and it’s good, sound wisdom,” Godkin said. “He’s just a wealth of knowledge about Alaska. He’s surveyed every part of this state, knows it in and out.”

Menzies said he hopes to have five or 10 more years of shooting trap.

“But right now I’m going to keep on going,” he said.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.