In light of suggestions beginning in 2011 and 2012 that, because Shepard & Lynn were making money providing shooting instruction with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience while using the JHGC facility, they should BEGIN going above and beyond to help the gun club and shooting community, I have compiled a partial list of what we HAVE BEEN doing not because of contracted duty, but rather because we want to! I did not compile & publicize this list previously because it has simply been “what we do” as Jackson Hole Shooting Range Benefactors.
We do not seek to “toot our own horn” out of pride, but as time marches on, ignorance, greed and jealousy among 3 JHGC members (of over 500) have caused murmurings of discontent. We seek to offer a different perspective. As you look through the list of things that we do as a firm, as individual coaches and as people excited about the shooting sports, we ask that you compare us in each area to the “next three” other people or organizations locally that also “give” or otherwise promote shooting sports. We ask you to examine the number of classes taught to adults, the number of local youth trained, and how many people from around the US and the world that we introduced to shooting sports. We ask you to also compare the financial benefit to the JHGC.
The primary complaints about us are that we are (1)making money at a public gun range and that we (2)take up too much space and make to much noise (clients laughing, cheering and saying things like, “Wow, shooting is really fun, I had no idea!”
To the first concern, yes, we use the money we earn from instructing to buy milk, pay the mortgage and put gas in our cars, just as do public school teachers, BSA High Adventure Camp shooting instructors, Game & Fish Hunter’s Education instructors and other people that “profit” by exchanging their teaching efforts for money.
Yes, we do so at a “public” range. The JHGC operates on Game & Fish property and has a 25-year lease with the Game & Fish. The G&F has goals for shooting ranges, and a specific charter for this one, including promoting safe shooting sports. The Wyoming Game & Fish recognizes that there are expenses involved with maintaining a shooting range that is available to all at non-exorbitant rates. JHSE helps achieve those goals, including paying the JH Gun Club over $35,000 each year!
Another part of this argument is that a private business should not operate on public property. Here are some examples of others private businesses that operate on public property: Taxi cab services use public roads, airport restaurants, whitewater float trip services, fishing guide services, park tours, energy industry companies and ski resorts. In all those cases, and especially in our case, we pay much higher fees that average “private” users.
To the second concern, that members see us there and decide not to shoot (because we make too much noise or use too many benches). Some members recall the good ole’ days when just about any visit to the range was a private affair, with them being the only person there. They prefer to shoot alone, as do we all. The problem with this greed is that the JHGC is a “public range” that has over 500 paid members and is open to many more people on weekends. The goal of the JHGC should be to have every bench filled all day every day with a waiting line. Members that want a private place to shoot should not be able to, for a $150/year membership, claim exclusive right to all 12 rifle bay benches, and begrudge anyone else that dares shoot. These people must share, as JHSE does, with other shooters, even when noisy. Only one year, in 2013, were there times that all 12 benches were full and shooters had to wait for a bench. This happened 3 or fewer days in the summer of 2013, and on those days, JHSE was using only 2 or 3 benches, with multiple paid shooters at each bench. (Update, this occurred again one afternoon on one day in 2016)
Because the JHGC Board actively listened to member’s concerns, whether or not they were warranted, the Board set a policy to limit commercial use to one Commercial Member, and we have been awarded the sole position of Commercial Member. As the Commercial Member we pay thousands of dollars up front each year in addition to greatly increased daily user fees that range from $167% to 1,000% of market prices. In exchange, we are limited to three rifle bay benches, unless we receive special permission from the rangemaster for particular days. This means that, unlike individual and family members, even if each of our 3 groups consist of 5 shooters and an instructor, we only use three benches for these 18 people, and we use the benches at the far end of the line to avoid being in people’s way.
So, why are 99% of range users thrilled with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience?
- We actively volunteered for all except 1 JHSE range improvement days, our instructors also volunteer.
- We pay for replacement parts and perform repairs on JHGC steel targets.
- We repeatedly provide free consultation to other JHGC members regarding sighting in rifles, pistol use, firearm malfunction clearing and much more.
- We loan tools to other members on the line.
- We were responsible for over $5,000 in range fees in 2011 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We were responsible for over $8,500 in range fees in 2012 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We were responsible for over $20,000 in range fees in 2013 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We were responsible for over $30,000 in range fees in 2014 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We will be responsible for over $30,000 in range fees in 2015 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We were responsible for over $35,000 in range fees in 2016 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We were responsible for over $35,000 in range fees in 2017 that would NOT otherwise have been received.
- We promote shooting sports to over 1800 people each year, many of whom hold positions of power & influence throughout the country.
- We donate over $5,000 worth of Shooting Experiences, NRA & CCW classes and Instructors to organizations including St. Judes, JH Community School, Ducks Unlimited, Girls Actively Participating, NRA Fundraising Banquets, Sportsmen For Fish & Wildlife, JH Shooting Sports Foundation and much more.
- We organize and deliver more than a dozen shooting-related community events at break even prices or a loss.
- We promote the JHGC to dozens of concierges from local resorts.
- Shepard volunteers time and money as Secretary of the JH Shooting Sports Foundation. Shepard is responsible for 90% of the efforts of the JHSSF, including soliciting grants, developing programs, putting on events, marketing, web presence and coordination.
- Shepard has volunteered as an unpaid instructor for Boy Scouts High Adventure Camp shotgun and pistol classes.
- Shepard has offered free consultation for the above BSA High Adventure Camp instructors, as their program prior to 2015 was unsafe and poorly-educational.
- We promote JHGC membership and participation in local shooting events to NRA and other students, leading many people to become annual members of the JHGC. For example, we have tracked the progression of 3 of our private NRA classes in the summer of 2012 which resulted in 6 new gun owners and 5 new JHGC memberships. Lynn attended 5 Falling Plates matches that summer and brought 3 of our students, 2 of whom have also joined the JHGC and the third will also be purchasing a family membership while another has purchased a first firearm. Of the approximately 16 “regulars” that attend Falling Plate matches, 6 have participated in our NRA or other classes.
- Provided to Dubois Gun Club multiple RSO class & have offered to donate an RSO class to the JHGC.
- Shepard has volunteered as an unpaid rangemaster to cover shifts.
- Provide top-notch gun safety training in the community to the extent that both the local Police Chief and County Sheriff have been able to focus on law enforcement duties and save their departments time and money by stopping public shooting instruction and sending interested parties to JHSE for Concealed Carry training.
- Voluntarily perform many functions at JHGC including sweeping bathroom floors, emptying trash, scrubbing poop off toilet, donating toilet paper, sweeping portions of range including the warming room, target stand closet and portions of the firing line when other users do not police their brass.
- Donated hearing and eye protection to JHGC.
- Provided NRA Women on Target in Jackson Hole, NRA Basic Rifle, Pistol & Shotgun classes and NRA Refuse to Be a Victim classes.
- Lynn volunteered as instructor for Wyoming Game and Fish women’s shotgun clinic.
- Ran a series of Firearms Fridays for Females, a casual lunch get-together attended by local professional women. We donated instruction, ammo & guns for these events.
- In 2012 Lynn did many hours of unpaid work preparing a grant request to the NRA Foundation on behalf of the JHGC board. She rekindled a previously soured relationship with the NRA. Introduced NRA rep to range master & involved him in the grant process. The JHGC Board did not submit Lynn’s prepared application in time. 🙁
- In 2013, Lynn contracted with the JHGC to again prepare the grant request, this time for a small fee. Due to the Board’s financial investment, it was submitted on time, and the JHGC was awarded grants totaling over $27,000 for JHGC improvements in 2013.
- In 2014, JHSE staff again prepared the NRA Foundation grant request, this time the administrative fee was paid by the JHSSF. In this grant cycle, another $25,000 was awarded to the JHGC. There is NO disputing that without Lynn and the JHSE; this $50,000 in 2013 & 2014 would not have come to the JHGC.
- In 2015 we initiated a Friends of the NRA Banquet, which was hosted by the JHSSF, who also paid for the event management. JJHSE staff spend dozens of unpaid hours making this happen.
- We donated and erected a flagpole at JHGC entrance.
- We loan JHSE steel targets to Cowboy Action events and vise versa.
- Our coaches carry guns & and run targets for elderly/disabled shooters.
- We placed railroad ties at the 50 yard line.
- Over the years, both before and after contracting for limited bench space, we have always been cognizant of space, and have never “hogged benches” that prevented other members from having space to shoot.
- We have never denied a ceasefire break when asked, and our coaches typically volunteer to act as unpaid RSO’s during these times.
- We were instrumental in the design and many hours of work getting the new shotgun facility up and going. JHSE lead coach and world class shotgun instructor Andy Ward spent many hours of both paid and unpaid time working on this project in 2015. He also donated his equipment for construction purposes.
- Our coach Andy Ward spends many hours each year (50 to 200) doing range improvements. JHSE pays for some of his time, and much of his times is donated.
Obviously, our perspective will be be biased toward thinking positively of our impact on the local shooting community. From the over $178,500.000 we are responsible for having brought into local shooting sports over the last 5 years, to our respectful range usage to the increased local opportunities for training classes, to the benefits of spreading the good word of shooting sports to over 10,000 people, we strive to not only pay our mortgage, but to also make the JHGC a better place for all shooters and to generally promote shooting sports.
At the beginning of this post, I challenged you to compare JHSE & Team’s contributions to local shooting sports to the closest 3 other people or organizations that also help. I would like to highlight these other wonderful folks for what they do for local shooting sports!
- Anonymous philanthropist and his small group of friends contribute between $7.5k and $30k each year to the JHSSF.
- Mark Roundtree not only serves as the JHGC Board Treasurer, but carries 95% or more of the work load for IDPA, Falling Plates and USPSA matches. He also donates many hours on projects including building target frames, installing the gate and other “behind the scenes” duties. He spent hundreds of hours in 2015, 2016 and 2017 getting the shotgun bay fiasco resolved.
- The Jackson Hole Shooting Sports Foundation (JHSSF) is a 501c3 that raises funds to promote local shooting sports. With matching grants from the Old Bill’s Fun Run, the JHSSF distributes over $40k each year to achieve their goals (The money donated by the local philanthropist and friends are included in this amount).
These above three and the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience each work in their own ways to provide a wonderful shooting community in Jackson Hole, and combined, these 4 groups/individuals are responsible for 95% or more of the “good stuff” that happens in the Jackson Hole shooting community. We are proud to be the primary Jackson Hole Shooting Range Benefactors! We also wish to thank the other people that help with range maintenance, range improvements, make donations, teach their friends and relatives and otherwise make shooting in Jackson Hole so great!
Is any of the above factually inaccurate? How can we be better “neighbors?” Do you have a different perspective? We would like you to “put it out there!” Please do comment below. 🙂