Minnesota Trapshooting Association

MTA Hall Of Fame


Minnesota Trapshooting Hall of Fame

John Berning

Elected: 2023
Shooting Member

John grew up across the river from the Crow River Sportsmen’s club, just outside St. Michael, Mn.  He started shooting there when he was a young boy, 13 years of age, and developed a passion for shooting sports that would last him a lifetime.  It was at CRSC that he managed the trap shooting leagues throughout the 1980’s, and remained an active member for the rest of his life.    

As John’s passion for shooting grew, he started shooting registered targets in 1976. While he did find success in shooting in his career, his passion soon led him into business within the shooting sports industry. With him often frequenting so many clubs and shoots, he thought he would try his hand at selling reloading components, shot shells, firearms, clay targets, etc.  In 1983, he started operations as John Berning Sports, and he did so as a side job to his iron working career.   When starting his business, John would often bring components with him to work, and drop them off for a customer, or a gun club, on the way home.  What started out with inventory being delivered to John in the trunks of cars, eventually turned into semi-tractor trailer loads, as he built his business into a 7 day per week operation. 

A work accident in the early 1990’s gave him the ability to further build his business, and it was a business he built based on handshakes, and friendships.  John was a humble, and rather quiet man, but he was blessed with the ability to connect with people of all sorts, including the youth in our sport.  His ability to provide what shooters needed to pursue their passion, and following through on his word, meant much more to him than anything else.  Building these relationships brought John personal enrichment, which was much more important to him than monetary enrichment.  And operating with that philosophy helped build a customer base from the surrounding five state area.  The shooting world was his family away from home.  He loved being at the gun clubs, seeing his friends, and helping them with their shooting needs throughout his nearly 40 years in business.

John was a passionate proponent for all gun clubs.  He’d make it a point to attend even the smallest of shoots, just to see his friends, and support their gun clubs.  He was a shareholder and member of many gun clubs in Minnesota.  Another passion of his was youth trap shooting.  He would not miss a minute of shooting competition, especially when his grandchildren started to shoot trap.  He was a quiet, but proud supporter of many youth, and high school programs.  He attended all the big youth tournaments when possible and was also an avid supporter of USA Shooting.

Throughout John’s career in shooting, and the shooting sports industry, he had the strong support of his wife Carmen, and two sons, Cary (Kim) and Scott (Becky).   He was a proud grandfather of Paige, Lane, and Kalley, and great-grand daughter Rhea.



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