Safe and Fun Family Recreational Shooting

I don’t think a week goes by without a conversation with one or another outdoor nut homey about how we learned the pleasure of shooting in one or another safe, family atmosphere. We share our experiences, laugh about instructors and range masters who were funny and deadly serious, and rue the seeming lack of such opportunities for families and kids today. Invariably, we learned to shoot straight while becoming one with some old .22 rifle. Our good luck here in Paradise is that the Kittitas Valley Rifle & Pistol Club has – in the midst of its competitive league activities – continues its family-centered Light Rifle Class League for winter shooting.

If you have a .22 or a good air rifle and want to involve your family in a winter-long program of inexpensive fun, instruction and good shooting, you will want to make the Fall Membership Meeting at the club’s HQ (608 West 15th Avenue) this coming Tuesday. There, you will meet the range and those who operate it, while checking out programs and fees to fit your family interests. I can assure you, based on a long history of shooting and countless conversations with other shooters, the training and shooting pleasure of this winter will still light your youngsters’ eyes a half dozen decades down the road. You will make a family memory that will never fade.

For me, it started just after my Aunt Veva – my mom’s oldest sister – gave me the first of a couple firearms that had belonged to her late husband Herman van Temmon. I was seven or eight years old, and already wandering the big sage country of East Wenatchee, Washington. I was in the habit of disappearing for most of a day while studying animal dens, wandering along the mighty Columbia River, making arrows out of cedar shingles, turning old wooden apple boxes into rabbit traps and showing signs of squandering my life on the outdoors.

Aunt Veva observed all this with keen interest – and a certain level of trepidation. Nonetheless, she and Uncle Vic drove up from their home in the Bay Area, bringing an old Winchester Model 67 single-shot .22 rifle (manufactured around 1900). In the meantime, my father – The Old Man – decided it was time for me to learn to handle firearms properly, and enrolled me in an NRA Youth Shooting League. In some sort of cosmic convergence, that day Vic and Veva handed me the little rifle. Its long slender lines made it the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was a goner.

Then Aunt Veva sat down and pulled me close. She had the most serious, sad face I had ever seen. Eyeball to eyeball, she explained that her first husband, Van, had died in a tragic, careless shooting accident not long before I was born. They were not long together, and had no children, but he would have wanted his already-outdoor-nuts nephew to have it. I was to see to it that it served the purpose for which it had been made; food and fun. And I was always to be safe. When I was grown, and safe and wise with firearms, she said, there was a “real” rifle for me – Van’s hunting rifle. “So start with this one,” she said, “and learn well.”

For years after, The Old Man drove me and my brothers to East Wenatchee’s Pangborn Field for an NRA Youth Shooting League.

Look over the 1950s minutes of the Kittitas Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (KVRPC) and you will see that the shooting we grew up with was common most everywhere. By the mid-60s, small-bore shooting had become seriously competitive. Over the past few years, the club has added the light rifle recreation league. This, I think, is what The Old Man had in mind when he hauled his three sons and their little .22 rifles to that “NRA Hangar” at Pangborn Field.

Here is an opportunity for you and your family to develop the skills, patience, discipline and confidence that family recreational shooting programs promise and deliver. It will start just in time to be one of the best Christmas gifts you will ever hand your household.

Hal Mason and other officers will tell you that KVRPC’s Light Rifle Class League is a “do your own thing night and a lot of fun, (with) swinger targets, paper targets and at times we set up some steel critters. All in a warm safe environment. Cheap too.” The 16 week league program starts in just a couple weeks. Bring your favorite .22 caliber rifle or .17 or larger serious air rifle (under 10 pounds), ammo and a desire for safe fun. Everything else will be waiting for you; regulation 10-bull NRA targets, a modern heated range facility, the direction of a qualified range master and coaching as needed/desired.

The KVRPC fall meeting is Tuesday (Nov. 17). 7 p.m. at the KVRPC range at 608 W 15th in Ellensburg. Everyone who enjoys shooting .22 pistols and rifles is welcome to come and learn about the 15-16 shooting season schedules and information. Call Mel Goudge at 509-925-4285 or Hal Mason at 509-962-3002 for more details

This is for you and your family. This is for you to discover (rediscover) the joy of safe recreational shooting and the deep pleasure of watching a kid or grandkid develop skill and confidence. This is for lifelong pleasure.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized