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Published January 29, 2013, 07:05 PM

West Fargo holding gun raffle for youth hockey fundraiser

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A West Fargo Hockey fundraiser is drawing attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated and CNN in the midst of a nationwide gun control debate. West Fargo Hockey Association's second annual gun raffle hopes to raise money for youth programs - with 200 firearms.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A West Fargo Hockey fundraiser is drawing attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated and CNN in the midst of a nationwide gun control debate. West Fargo Hockey Association's second annual gun raffle hopes to raise money for youth programs - with 200 firearms.

A small town fundraiser is under fire on a national scale.

Mike Prochnow – West Fargo Hockey Board Member/Event Organizer: "I knew it was going to blow up, but I didn't think it would blow up to this magnitude. We've gotten calls from CNN, CBS radio, we're in Sports Illustrated."

They are all asking questions about the West Fargo Hockey Association gun raffle; a fundraiser aiming to raise nearly $100,000 by raffling off some of the toughest firearms to find.

Mike Prochnow: "That's what I would look at it as, unfortunately timing."

Guns like rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders will be given away or ticketholders can opt for Scheels store credit instead. They were all purchased in August, well before the Newtown School shooting in December that left 26 dead and polarized the country over gun control.

Teresa Blackcloud – West Fargo Resident: "Maybe the organization should've considered the timing of their giant gun raffle."

Rich Mattern – West Fargo Mayor: "Because of the message that it sends, I think that's what people say it's wrong."

Supporters say it's not about the guns or the timing; it's about raising money to cover new ice for its overcrowded program.

Mike Prochnow: "We've got kids practicing at 6 AM in the morning during the week and going as late as 10 o'clock at night."

Many are kids who also spend their free time hunting with guns in their hands.

Chad Bergan: "I think it's probably came up at a bad time, but I see nothing wrong with it."

Tillman Sande: “Our youth, they start shooting guns at 7 and 8 years old. They go to hunters' safety."

They’re guns that may carry a different stigma than they do in other parts of the country.

Chad Bergan: "I think it's with all this gun activity right now in the media and politics, it's just, it's a different world out here."

A place where some say hosting gun raffles, and owning weapons, is a way of life.

The raffle has 4,000 tickets in all, but only have about 400 left. The names will be drawn March 15th.

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