WI Campground Hosts Concealed Carry Course, Warns Against Masks

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order, the governor warned that it would be “the Wild West” in the state. Not so at Annie’s Campground near Gresham, Wisconsin. Over the weekend, the family-owned campground hosted a concealed carry class, which was pretty hard to find in the Wild West. They also banned masks, which were quite commonplace back in the days of Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid.

To be fair, owner Ann Retzlaff told Newsweek that if people needed to wear masks for health reasons, that would be allowed. Other than that circumstance, however, Retzlaff informed visitors that those wearing masks would be considered robbers.

“I added no masks when entering my main building because this is the perfect time for the bad guys to take advantage of any small business and rob them because it is now ‘normal’ to wear a mask. A couple days ago, several small businesses in Shawano were robbed, or the attempt was made to rob them,” Retzlaff stated in an email.

“Now, I do understand that there are people who wear a mask because of their delicate health situation, like cancer or a recent surgery. I know these people and their stature is much different that a 6’2″ male entering an establishment aggressively with intent to do harm,” Retzlaff stated.

“This is a very critical time for all citizens to wake up and understand the threats out there and take measures to protect and defend. It is as simple as that. All of my customers here understood exactly what I meant and why I posted that information,” she added.

The local media hasn’t reported on any attempted robberies of businesses in Shawano, but there have been stories around the country of criminals wearing masks to disguise themselves during holdups, and I suppose I don’t blame Retzlaff for being concerned. I also suspect that anyone who’s at a higher risk for serious illness or death from the coronavirus is staying away from a crowded campground at the moment. Still, I was glad to hear Retzlaff’s explanation of the post on Facebook that attracted so much attention.

I think the media jumped on Retzlaff’s post on Facebook to try to use it as an example of the reopen movement objecting to the use of face masks to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, but based on her explanation, it doesn’t sound like that was the case. After all, the media barely mentioned the fact that Retzlaff hosted a concealed carry class at her campground this past weekend, and ordinarily, that would have reporters clutching their pearls and heading for their fainting couches.

Instead, media outlets like Newsweek elevated a small Wisconsin business to the status of a national news story, all because of an offhand remark made on the business’s Facebook page. Frankly, I would have liked to have heard more about the concealed carry course offered by Starla Batzko, a local firearms instructor and huntress who also has her own line of wild game seasonings.

Starla Batzko has been presenting her seminar, Cooking Gone Wild with Starla, at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show for more years than she can remember.

As a hunter who serves the game she bags to her family (she has a husband, two grown children and a grandchild), she knows how important it is to cook game properly and then season it properly. The seasoning also comes naturally to her since she owns her own business, Starla’s Seasonings, Dips and Mixes, where she sells spice mixes.

At the show, she focuses on making the recipes she demonstrates and the tips she shares accessible to the average person, both in taste and in the cooking method.

“I find people are more likely to make a warm, cheesy, pheasant dip than some weird, strange thing with pheasant,” Batzko said, laughing.

Sounds like taking a concealed carry course from Batzko would be fun. Personally, I’d love to know more about the campers at Annie’s this weekend, including those who took Starla’s concealed carry course, and less about Anne Retzlaff’s posts on Facebook. Too bad the media decided to focus their efforts on turning molehills into mountains.