NRA grant for $13,200 goes to local gun club

A check for $13,200 can go a long way. For members of the McCulloch County 4-H Shooting Sports club, that exact amount will help provide professional grade trap and skeet throwers for their facility located at the gun range at Brady Lake. Program officials and County Extension agent Jerry Kidd were notified late last week that the local club had been awarded a $13,200 grant from Friends of the NRA. The grant proposal asked for funds to pay for the throwing machines used in competitive trap and skeet. The machines generally run between $3,000 and $5,000, and in an attempt to upgrade their facility, the local club has a plan that in all totals $23,000 in improvements. “We applied for this grant two years ago, but because of the amount we requested, it took longer than expected,” said Kidd. “We had heard a year ago that the grant had made it to the national level, but since we hadn’t heard anything, we thought we had been put by the wayside.” Gene Nelson, a recent addition to the volunteer staff at the 4-H club, is a qualified NRA instructor and has had many years of experience and dealings with that particular organization. According to Kidd, Nelson began checking into the status of the grant request several months ago through his various contacts within the NRA and helped spur the revival of the proposal. “We have been using equipment that is actually owned by Jack Richardson ever since he helped start the program three years ago,” said Kidd. “This grant will allow us to purchase the machines that will really help us to expand our shooting opportunities for the club.” The club has approximately 20 active shooters and 10 others who use the facility less frequently. It is a club that is open to any youth in McCulloch County with the only stipulation being that they join the 4-H club to be allowed to participate. “If a kid wants to join the club, we always make sure they go through the proper safe instruction of how to handle and shoot shotguns,” said Kidd. “The kids, sponsors and parents involved work very hard to keep this club and everyone out there safe.” The check for the grant is expected to arrive in Brady this week. When it does, Kidd and other club officials will meet and discuss the proper course of action and how to proceed to reach the clubs long-term goals. “This grant will certainly help us improve our program, and hopefully we will be able to begin hosting competitive shoots here in the near future,” said Kidd. “Our overall plan is to have a facility that has the capability of letting more than one shooter go at a time. We are even exploring the possibility of having the range lighted so we can continue shooting after the sun goes down.” Despite the large sum of money the grant is providing, the costs of building the trap and skeet houses and building the field is not provided for in the grant. According to Kidd, the grant can only be used to purchase machines and the rest of the costs must be funded by other resources. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Kidd. “We have to come up with a plan of how we are going to construct and build the houses and get the fields ready, but this grant sure does help things out.”

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