By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
What started out as a few guys wanting a place to shoot, has now turned into a revitalization of an old trap shooting range. President Bryant Barnson found himself spending a lot of time out at the shooting range, spending his own money to fix it up, and soon realized that he and his friends couldn’t shoot at the facility unless they were members of 4-H. So he got together with a few people, and they established their own non-profit status and named it the Steptoe Valley Trap, Skeet and Target Incorporated. They have been working on getting the shooting range back up and running so that the entire community can access the site to go shoot. They have acquired a 24 year lease through the City of Ely and are working cohesively with the 4-H program so that the facility is utilized to it’s maximum potential.
Trapshooting has been a sport since the late 18th century when real birds were used; usually the passenger pigeon, which was extremely abundant at the time. Birds were placed under hats or in traps which were then released. Artificial birds were introduced around the time of the American Civil War. Glass balls (Bogardus) and subsequently “clay” targets were introduced in the later 1800s, gaining wide acceptance.
Trapshooting is typically shot with a 12 gauge shotgun. Smaller gauge firearms (e.g., 16, 20, 28 gauge) can be used, but no allowance is given.
The club received a grant through the Tour and Rec Board in September of last year for $15,000 and it has helped tremendously in getting the project off the ground. Several local businesses and entities have graciously donated monetary donations, equipment, materials and their labor as well. The site is located right off the Lackawanna Road approximately 6 miles from Ely.
The Sporstmens Club presented the club with a check last week for $2,686.17 . Cody Bliss, Vice President of the Club said, “we were looking at this project not to benefit ourselves, but to provide something for our community and for the future of White Pine.” “I have a son who is seven, he’s too young to officially compete yet, but when he is old enough I want him to have a place where he can go to practice for competitions”. Several youth here in Ely participate in a nationwide group called USAYESS. This is a youth group that travels across the states to compete in shooting competitions, so having the opportunity to have a site where they can practice helps them tremendously. This group exists to develop, grow and support associations that use hands-on events, shooting sports, and introduces and educates youth and their family about safe firearm handling.
The Steptoe Valley Trap, Skeet and Target Incorporated Club currently has an adult group and are hoping to have a pistol group, three gun group and long range shooting group in the future. President Bryant Barnson said “many people go out into the mountains, shoot up cans, targets, and such, and the governmental agencies discourage those type of practices, so we thought this would be a great place for people to come and have a safe place for people to shoot”.
The opening of this site will create another place where events could be held for locals, tourists, and people who come here for conferences. Bryant mentioned that they have already received their first booking for an event in 2018 by the Firefighters Association who will be holding their conference here in Ely.
This club is hoping to provide a recreational activity to a wide range of individuals, including kids ages 5 and up, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. The club is currently holding a membership drive to gain additional members . Although you do not have to be a member to participate in the shooting events, or to shoot at the range it is highly encouraged, and it’s cheaper if you are a member. Membership prices range from $40.00 dollars for a one year membership for a single person, to $60.00 for a family for one year. They also have Lifetime Memberships available.
For additional information contact one of the following members: President - Bryant Barnson 775-293-3054Vice President - Cody Bliss at 775-296-0077Treasurer - Scott Laity - 775-296-0499Secretary - BJ Abel - 775-296-0723
Their next shooting event will be held on Wednesday April 19th, beginning at 4:00p.m.