Pat Lieske grew up in Davison, Michigan, a small town just east of Flint. As a youngster, he loved to fish and hunt with his parents and two brothers. Lieske got his first taste of clay target shooting as a teenager, when he attended a hunter’s safety class at Williams Gun Sight in Davison. Returning to the clubhouse after trying a few targets, he noticed a flyer on the wall for a skeet shooting league – and signed up to participate. He shot skeet through high school, even delving briefly into the NSSA registered skeet world, while also working as a trapper at Williams. His shooting stopped abruptly though when he enrolled in college, pursuing a Bachelors of Business and Finance at the University of Michigan, Flint. Seven years went by before he picked up a shotgun again – a hiatus that ended with a life changing phone call in 1989. “One of my old friends invited me out to shoot the new game called sporting clays…” It’s interesting to speculate what his life course would have been, had he not had that call.
Upon graduation, Lieske put his college degree to work by taking a job at a local CPA firm–a position that lasted five years. His wife Karen was pregnant with their first child when they came to another crossroads and made a huge life decision. “My wife quit her job to be a full time Mom, and I quit my job to be a full time shooting instructor,” he said. He worked a while at a small private hunt club as shooting instructor and sporting clays coordinator, using heavy equipment to expand and make improvements to the course while steadily building a reputation as an instructor. A stint as a freelance-shooting instructor followed, after leaving the employ of the hunt club to strike out on his own. Growing weary of all the traveling required as an instructor without a home base, in October 2002, Lieske took over the shotgun ranges at Island Lake Shooting Range in Brighton, Michigan, when the State Department of Natural Resources sought a new concessionaire. With the DNR’s confidence in him quickly established, Lieske soon also took over the rifle and pistol facilities.In 2009 his contract was up for renewal. He bid on and was awarded a 20 year contract that also included another state owned facility – Bald Mountain Shooting Range in Lake Orion – a one hour drive from Island Lake.
Since 2009, Lieske has built the two ranges, collectively called Michigan Shooting Centers, into Michigan’s pre-eminent sporting clays destinations. Pat’s facilities have hosted countless major championships including five Michigan State Championships, one Zone region championship and a Team USA qualifier. The entire Lieske family – wife Karen, sons Drew and Gage and even Pat’s mother – can, from time to time, be seen pitching in at the two facilities.
The Lieske’s older son, 19-year-old Drew, is a freshman at Hillsdale College and was awarded the NSCA college scholarship for 2014. A member of the Hillsdale College Shotgun Sports team, Drew took all honors classes and AP courses in high school and graduated valedictorian with a GPA of 4.09. A computer expert, Drew owns a website design firm, Dead Pair Designs, that manages shooting related websites, including the Kids & Clays® Foundation, the Ohio Sporting Clays Association and the Michigan Shooting Centers among others. He also serves on the Michigan Sporting Clays Association board of directors and manages their website. The Lieske’s younger son, Gage, is 12 years old and is the quiet kid sometimes seen driving around in a shooting cart, handing out free ice cream at the large events held at MSC.
Some of Pat’s most notable wins include 2014 NSCA National Sporting Clays Champion, 2014 NSCA National FITASC Champion, 2012 World Sporting Clays Championship Runner- Up and 2009 North American FITASC Champion. He was inducted into the Michigan Sporting Clays Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the National Sporting Clays Association Hall of Fame in 2014. In total, Pat has over 30 years of experience in the shooting sports industry.