The Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association hosted its 8th annual “Youth Day at the Range” in mid-June withe 112 youngsters between the ages of 8 to 18 learnimg about, or improving, their rifle skills.
Upon arriving, the participants were greeted with a smile and issued their own personal safety gear (which they were allowed to keep, along with several other goodies) before attending a safety briefing given by Brad Kruger, the National Rifle Association Western Region field operations director. The participants were then introduced to the range and its operations by Bill Moody, the head range safety officer, and president of the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association, before being paired with a personal instructor.
All supplies and equipment were donated, and each youngster shot about 50 rounds at 25 yards, progressing from instructor-coached target practice, to demonstrating their learned skills, to the alligator lottery (where a prize was awarded for placing shots on an alligator target), to the more difficult challenges of shooting steel targets at various distances, shooting golf balls, and even sparring with other shooters using the dueling tree.
The day was filled with smiles as parents watched their kids learn a new sport or improve on their skills, as expert and professional rifle instructors passed on valuable lessons and insight along with their love of the sport.Safety is always the emphasis, as kids learned about trigger control, proper sight pictures, proper positioning, and breath control. Experts not only included the Range Safety Officers, but also nationally competitive shooters, all of whom volunteered their time and expertise.
This is a large event that provides individual attention for each participant, and there are many organizations and individuals who made the day possible, safe, and (last but not least!) a great deal of fun. Those who donated time, funds, or items to provide this unique opportunity for our community include: North 40 Outfitters, Wrenco Arms, Sheepdog Supplies, the BCSA, the National Rifle Association, Brownells, Friends of the NRA, Idaho Fish & Game, All About Weddings and Party Rentals, the Co-Op Country Store, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Individuals who made significant contributions include Donna and Richard Hutter, Mike Kane, and other friends of the event. The City of Sandpoint donated the use of the range and helped with registration, while the Daily Bee announced the event in its papers. Thanks also to Litehouse, who provided the grill and some supplies for the snacks.
A special thanks to the volunteers who staffed this event, providing their time and expertise.
If you or your young ones are interested in rifle shooting as a sport, please contact the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association about joining their rifle team. You can reach them at bonnercountysportsmen.org.