Rangely trap and skeet range on the way, thanks to volunteers

Williams Company employees volunteered for the United Way Day of Caring and turned out to help build the Rangely Trap and Skeet Range last week, including construction of one of the trap houses. courtesy photo

Special to the Herald Times
RANGELY | Master eye, ocular dominance, cross dominance: This is terminology shotgun shooting skills instructors are accustomed to evaluating. The person who can shoot competitively with both eyes in trap and skeet is generally a very happy person, but there are also many excellent one-eyed shooters. The Rangely Elks Club Trap and Skeet Range, currently under construction, will soon be instructing young people from organizations like 4-H, Boy Scouts and hopefully high school and college competitors as well as becoming part of competitive events with other clubs from around the region. The club is being developed for all residents and the general public. They plan to focus their efforts on developing youth participation and revitalizing the sport in Rangely.
April 6 was a beautiful day to overlook the White River Valley above Rangely from the Elks Club site south of town on the east side of County Road 23. Ten Williams Company employees dedicated their time as part of a United Way Day of Caring event to support the construction and re-development of the Rangely Trap and Skeet Range. Joining Williams Co. were members of the Elks Club BPOE#1907 and volunteers from the Town of Rangely gas department. These men and women arrived at 7 a.m. to continue a multi-faceted demolition and construction effort that some would hazard to say might be completed in mid to late summer this year.
This shooting facility has had limited use for the past 20 years and has more recently been the host site for preparation of a few hundred pounds of barbecued beef from a large smoke pit in preparation for the Septemberfest celebration at Elks Park. Once this part of the range is redeveloped it will be the site of two professionally developed trap throwers and two raised flyers for trap and skeet per the organizers and volunteers of today’s effort. Thanks to Moon Lake Electric, the site will also allow night shooting with sufficient lighting to continue dusting clay targets long after dark.
The Williams crew volunteers, who did a very professional job constructing one of the trap houses with rising courses of cinder block, were asked how they learned to lay block. One answerer jokingly replied, “YouTube”!
Williams brought licensed electricians, welders, pipefitters and other skillsets to the site day, and the work they did will make it possible to use the facility sometime this year. According to Tyson Hacking with Williams, they hoped to have the trap house completed by the end the day.
The Rangely gas department staff were helping to prepare the site for electrical conduit by trenching and pavement cutting. The Williams volunteers planned to lay that conduit the same day. Hacking said an optimistic estimate of work for the day would include construction of a new trap house, laying electrical conduit, demo of two bathrooms on the interior of the range house, rehanging awnings on the east side of the range house and if time permitted, work on the security fencing for the range.
Revitalizing the shooting range has been a topic of conversation for many years, but what started the discussion in earnest was when the Elks Club asked Lisa Hatch to write a grant being offered by the Department of Wildlife, now Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The grant was a success and was reissued in 2016 in the amount of $47,893, not inclusive of a $15,000 in-kind contribution. Getting started was a bit of a challenge, but in 2016 the Elks leadership determined that they needed to coordinate and take on assigned responsibilities by working cooperatively with companies and volunteers. Rick Brady, Don Reed, Ken Meyer and Robby Morgan contributed much time and effort to this project. These gentlemen seldom back away from a challenge. They continue to solicit in-kind donations from several sources to advance the project and meet the grant match. When we say solicit, we mean presenting opportunities for participation, twisting arms, cajoling and other well-meaning approaches to leveraging the goal.
During the past year it has been routine to see Dr. Ken Meyer, Rick and Ann Brady, Don Reed, Jeff LeBleu, Robby Morgan and other members of the Elks Club and volunteers devote time on the weekends and workdays in an effort to ensure that the shooting range becomes a reality. The goal is bigger than just the trap and skeet range, but will also eventually include a pistol and rifle range on the west side of CR 23.
According to Rick Brady, this project is a community effort that will benefit our youth and adults who want to learn the sport and those who already love the sport but have not had a place locally to compete. The plans are to complete the redevelopment of the range and facilities by bringing potable water to the site with new restrooms and some kitchen facilities. In addition, they will finish the rehab of the training and orientation area within the facility. Don Reed mentioned that the range also plans to develop a website to disseminate information to the public.
Safety is very important and critical to the Elks Club membership and any activity on the range will be in conformance with professional requirements of the sport. The range will have a certified instructor from the National Skeet Shooting Association to help organize the training programs which include the development of and instructor lead shot gun training for trap and skeet as well as promoting the health and safety guidelines for the range.
Dr. Meyer talked about the importance of properly outfitting and training young people interested in developing in the sport. To start with, young people should begin with a low recoil shotgun because this is often necessary to improve their enjoyment of the sport. He mentioned another consideration should be the type of gun being used. For example, a single shot-shotgun would be difficult for a novice participant, let alone someone seasoned in the sport. He suggests starting a young person with a 20 gauge semi-automatic to develop their skills, improve their accuracy and increase their enjoyment of the sport.
There is still much to do for the range to be completed. If you would like to help please contact Rick Brady with the Rangely Elks Club at 970-629-9398. Donations, both financial and in-kind, are welcome.
Day of Caring volunteers from Williams Co.: Tyson Hacking, Randy Dearth, Brian Ownsby, Mickey Kiever, Rhett Tinker, Kevin Keel, Scott Skinner, Robert Baughman, Bob Hazelbush, Rob Hawkins and Joe Kerksiecle. Rangely gas department volunteers: Bryan Mackey, Heath GeBauer and Kelli Neiberger. Elks Club volunteers and affiliate: Rick Brady, Ann Brady, Don Reed, Ken Meyer and Robby Morgan.

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