Stillwater News Press

Sports

August 1, 2012

Oklahoma State University Shotgun Club sees growth in membership

STILLWATER, Okla. — A couple years ago, not many people knew that Oklahoma State University had a shotgun club. There were less than 20 members and they had to pay to go to competitions. Now, the club is growing and receiving funds.

“We want to enhance the sport of shooting,” OSU shotgun club president Blake Beckham said. “We want to put guns in the hands of somebody that hasn’t shot before or hunters that want something to do in the offseason to keep them going.”

The shotgun club had 75 members last year. The team practices at the Stillwater Pistol Range at Lake McMurtry shooting skeet, trap and five stand. Beckham said the club is for anyone who has an interest and is trying to increase its publicity.

“You just have to be breathing,” Beckham said. “You don’t have to have a gun. We have guns that you can shoot with. ... “Next year we are going to have an outreach on campus. We are going to local FFA’s and letting them know that OSU has a shooting team. So the kids that competed in grade school through high school can roll right into collegiate shooting.”

Vice president Ryan Dunkerson said the publicity has increased participation.

“Interest in shooting sports has been growing exponentially the last three or four years,” Dunkerson said. “It hasn’t stopped. Everyone is getting involved.”

Treasurer Wesley Womack said he got involved after he found information about the club online and said it gives him something to do after class.

“I can get out and practice without having to go home,” Womack said. “I’ve made a lot of good friends, I’ll have the rest of my life. I’ve gotten to go to places I haven’t been before.”

“I transferred from Seminole State and I was looking for activities outside my department of study,” Womack said.

The club received a $20,000 donation from the National Wildlife Turkey Federation. Beckham said the money will go to several different areas.

“The checks go to our Midway USA Foundation,” Beckham said. “What the Midway USA Foundation does, is we put money in and it’s matched. Every year we get five percent of it. We are at $6,000 this year and the more we put it in the more we get. It goes towards nationals.”

The shotgun club attends competitions across the United States and will ultimately compete in regionals and nationals.

“We go to Cheyenne, Wyo., Kansas State shoot, Omaha, Neb., Missouri, nationals is in San Antonio,” Womack said. “Colorado State has one there. They have the nationals warm-up in Raton, N.M.”

The team will attend 10-20 competitions every year.

“We will shoot three to four events on Saturday. Normally, in the morning until about 3 or 4 p.m.,” Beckham said. “We will shoot one or two events on Sunday.”

About 500 shooters competed at nationals this past year and OSU took two squads with 10 shooters, finishing 11th out of 35 teams.

“We’ve only been a club for five years,” Beckham said. “We will keep getting better as we get more and more shooters. We will practice more.”

Beckham said going to tournaments is fun because of the fellowship.

“You really get to know the other shooters,” Beckham said. “We have a lot of fun together.”

Beckham said there are several benefits of participating including having facilities.

“We shoot at ridiculously reduced cost,” Beckham said. “For two dollars you can shoot a round of skeet, which is 25 plays. You get a box of shells and targets to go with it.”

 

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