Memorial archery shoot planned to promote family time in great outdoors

Hunter Bergo of Pilot Mound passed away at 10 years old in an ATV accident. His family is hosting a memorial archery shoot in his honor this Sunday, Aug. 12, at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center outside of Lanesboro. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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“He never needed anything…he just always wanted our time together,” said Lena Bergo, “and that’s one thing…we hope that this is about people spending time together, because you can’t get it back.”

Ryker and Lena Bergo and Cheryl Zeller are looking forward to this Sunday, Aug. 12, the day their son will be remembered through the third annual Hunter Bergo Heart of Gold Memorial Archery Shoot taking place at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. The event is a means of reminding families that this moment, this time, this family is temporary —  no matter how permanent they may seem — and to take full-hearted perspective of them.

Hunter, 10, son of Ryker Bergo and Zeller, was killed in an ATV accident near the Bergo family’s Pilot Mound home on Saturday, March 26, 2016. Hunter was in the fourth-grade class at Lanesboro Elementary School at the time.

His obituary read, “There isn’t enough time or space to describe just how wonderful and amazing Hunter was, and anyone who has ever met him can attest to that. Hunter was our angel on Earth. He was loving, kind, considerate, sensitive, funny, brilliant, creative, and he cared about everyone. He always made sure everyone felt happy and welcome no matter where he was or who he was around. He loved helping out at home, and was the best big brother in the world, even if that meant changing a diaper or brushing his brother’s teeth. He was very active and loved to hunt, fish, play basketball, ride his dirt bike, play with his dog Ginger and wrestle. He always loved to joke around with friends and family. His infectious joy and smile lit up every person around him. He was the definition of joy and innocence. Hunter has taught us more in his short 10 years about the true meaning of selfless love than most could in 20 lifetimes. Heaven will forever be brighter because of our angel.”

Ryker recounted his son’s earliest venture into the woods, long before he was old enough to remember such a trip. “I actually took him trapping with me when he was about four months old. I started taking him hunting when he was about two years old. He shot bow with me all the time. We used to go on hunting trips together.”

Lena agreed, “It was a big passion of his. It was something he loved to do. The biggest thing is he loved to be outside. Ryker loved hunting so much that he would take him trapping or shoot BBs with him, go target-shooting, and as soon as he was home from school, he’d be outside…down at the creek or camping out with his BB gun aiming at some poor bird, or he’d be on the trampoline. He idolized Ryker so much that (hunting) became a passion for him. The first time he went goose hunting, Hunter sat in the woods and was quiet. That’s not easy for a 3-year-old, but it’s something he loved.”

She went on to cite that is the reason the family chose to hold a memorial archery shoot honoring the adventurous young redhead whose heart seemed to always be in the right place.

“It was a big passion of his, and that’s why we want to get more families and kids involved in something he loved to do,” Lena said. “The biggest thing is that they do something he loved to do.”

Ryker agreed, “We decided to have an archery shoot because he shot bow with me all the time…we’re trying to have an archery shoot and bring more kids into it.”

This is the first year that the Bergos and Zeller feel ready to take over organizing the shoot, as the first August after Hunter’s accident, their tears were just too close to the surface.

Lena said, “This is our first year to put this on. I think there were between 400 and 500 people at the first two, but we didn’t put those on. We’re hoping that there will be lots of kids, because that’s the big thing about Hunter’s shoot. There’s a lot of hunting equipment and a kids’ bow to be given away, some door prizes.”

There’ll be a silent auction, and the list of door prizes includes a new youth setup Hoyt bow, youth ATV helmets, fishing gear, a hunting blind and more, and the list of activities for families to enjoy together encompasses free wood sign painting, kids’ face-painting, target practice and snow-cone munching.

“It’s really something the whole family can go to. Shooting at the targets will be fun, just walking the trails, something for everybody, and the proceeds go to two families in Lanesboro going through harder times,” she added.

Lena and Ryker are pleased that the event will bring families together, but also that they’ll be assisting two Lanesboro-area families that have undergone some frustratingly hard times in the past year.

Ryker explained, “The money goes to two families from Lanesboro — one has kids who go to Lanesboro, and he, their dad, is battling terminal cancer, and another family’s son is supposed to be a sophomore at Lanesboro but had a bone marrow transplant and missed all school year waiting for a donor. He couldn’t go out of the house.”

The photos of Hunter, a lanky little boy with the red hair, the big toothy grin and a bow or fishing line in hand keep Hunter’s family striving to do what they know he’d do — help if someone needed it.

That’s why the Hunter Bergo Heart of Gold Memorial Archery Shoot is set for this Sunday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center outside of Lanesboro, 28097 Goodview Dr. Donations are being accepted, and more information can be found by calling Ryker Bergo at 507-208-5068, Lena Bergo at 414-870-1663, Cheryl Zeller at 507-316-5038, or Jon at 507-951-5515.

Checks made out to the Hunter Bergo Memorial Fund may be mailed to 31400 State Hwy. 30, Chatfield, MN, 55923. Cost to attend and participate in the archery shoot is $15 per adult shooter, $10 per child shooter, age 9 to 16, and free for those 8 and under, and cost of admission includes a meal.

Organizers hope that the time with one’s child doing something fun and helping others is worth so much more than the price of admission.

Ryker said he hopes people remember that Hunter cared about everybody more than himself. “He always wanted everybody to feel good,” he concluded.