Ontonagon Valley Sportsmen Club holds youth clinic


August 11, 2018

Submitted photo

Ontonagon Valley Sportsmen Club youth instructor Jed Platske assists Brandon Thomas during the youth shooting program at the Sucker Creek Range in Paulding.



PAULDING - An estimated 250-300 youngsters 8 and older have taken advantage of a youth shooting program at the Sucker Creek Range in Paulding over the past 21 years. Although this year's class has concluded, it's never too late to think ahead for next year.

In 1997, a group of NRA member volunteers had the idea to teach area youth firearms safety and build a shooting range. The range is located at 18860 Sleepy Hollow Road, 6 miles west of US 45, in Paulding. The youth have been taught safe firearm handling and use, as well as the basics of rifle and shotgun shooting, with countless hours of range participation.

Original members were Ken Applekamp, Bobbie and Charles Murray, Jed Platske, Bob Knuth and Arlie Higdon. What began as a one-bench shooting range has grown into a five- bench range.

With donations from area individuals and businesses, rifles, ammunition, and range materials were provided.

There is no cost for participation and all youth are required to complete an NRA First Step Rifle shooting class. This year's class instructors and coaches included Jed Platske, Gary Peacock, Pat Walsh, Jim Forbes, Larry Scholty, Mike Rouse, Duane Bullock and Bobbie Murray for rifle. Guy Kitzman, Chad Kitzman and Helen Bullock taught archery.

In 1999, the Ontonagon Valley Sportsmen Club began to sponsor the youth shooting program. In addition to financial support from OVSC, along with area businesses and individuals, the program also has received grants from the Friends of the NRA Foundation totaling thousands of dollars over the years.

Besides learning firearm safety, the youth shooters have participated in Ontonagon County 4-H, including 4-H competitions. Previous shooters have won a third place team event and several individuals received medals in a state competition.

The youth also take part in civilian marksmanship postal matches, pheasant hunts at North Country Ranch and trips to sporting clay fields.

The program has also expanded to include archery. The bow range can accommodate five to six archers who use state of the art Genesis compound teaching bows provided by OVSC.

Also added was the NRA First Step instruction in shotgun shooting. It began with donated shotguns, followed by new youth model Remington 1100s, using both NRA and OVSC funding.

Financial support for the program continues through private donations, and fund-raising events such as the annual turkey shoot and the OVSC fall Sportsmen's Unlimited Banquet.

A popular upcoming event at the range is the OVSC annual turkey shoot Saturday, Sept. 8. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. EST. The youth-only rifle events (ages 15 and under) will be held from 11 to noon. Adults competitions begin at 12:30 p.m.

OVSC's annual turkey shoot emphasizes friendly competition and family fun. For more information call OVSC at 906-827-3424 or stop by Sucker Creek Range.


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