Outdoor Expo To Showcase Shooting Range Improvements

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Members of the Tonto Rim Sports Club are eager to show off the vast array of improvements that have taken place at the Jim Jones Shooting Range.

Among the additions are six new shooting bays, a 300-yard range, area covers and a field archery range.

Members will showcase the range enhancements 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6 at the Tonto Rim Sports Club 2007 Open House and Outdoor Expo.

The festivities are open to the public, free of change.

A myriad of activities will include demonstrations of recreation shooting in archery, cowboy, practice and tactical, black powder, small and large bore and silhouette target events.

Also, there will be opportunities to shoot a variety of firearms and archery, free of charge.

Members will also be available to provide information about Tonto Rim Sports Club. Local vendors will be on site to answer questions about their hunting and archery products and services.

Information on activities held at the shooting range will also be available.

Payson SWAT, Fire Department and the Gila County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team will also attend.

Susie Q BBQ will cater food and drinks.

To reach the range from Payson, drive 2.2 miles south of the Mazatzal Casino on the Beeline Highway. Turn left onto a gravel road and then drive 1.5 miles to the entrance.

The route will be clearly marked with signs.

The history

The sports club was founded in 1979 with an expressed purpose of encouraging organized and safe shooting among Rim Country sportsmen.

Members are taught safe handling and proper care of firearms and have the opportunity to improve marksmanship on the range.

The club's mission statement says, "It is a further purpose of the club to foster the development of those characteristics of honesty, good fellowship, self-discipline, team play and self-reliance. These are the essentials of good sportsmanship and the foundation of patriotism."

The club produces a monthly newsletter and hosts a number of organized monthly competitions.

Membership in the TRSC is open to any U.S. citizen, and the yearly dues are $35.

Members are encouraged to join the National Rifle Association.

The range

The Northern Gila County Shooting Range began operating in 1981 under a U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permit.

Since its inception, the range has been developed, maintained and operated by TRSC.

The facility was renamed the "Jim Jones Shooting Range" about a decade ago, in honor of the late Gila County supervisor who helped secure the permit and design the facility.

In addition to hosting public and member shooting activities, the range is used by several law enforcement agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Payson Police Department, Gila County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Game and Fish, U.S. Forest Service, National Guard and the FBI.

The Boy Scouts also use the range on occasion.

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