Last spring, Tonto Rim Sports Club members were eager to show off the vast array of improvements that had taken place at the Jim Jones Shooting Range.
They did just that at a highly successful open house and outdoor expo.
Among the new facilities the public both viewed and used were six new shooting bays, a 300-yard range, and a field archery range.
Due to the popularity of the 2007 event, TRSC members, including Charlie Thompson, have scheduled another open house, this one to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4 at the range located south of Payson.
"Last year over 200 non-members attended, which included many families," Thompson said. "As our visitors left, they told us they hoped this would be an annual event as the whole family had a great time."
The festivities are open to the public, free of charge.
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.
Thompson said there are many reasons to attend the expo, including teaching children the safe handling of firearm rules, the opportunity to try and different styles and calibers of firearms, see the Payson SWAT team in action, have questions answered about archery and learn about the various competitions that are held at TRSC.
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 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 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.
Tonto Rim Sports Club holding Open House and Outdoor Expo
- When: May 4
- Where: Jim Jones Shooting Range,
2.2 miles south of Mazatzal Casino on the Beeline Highway, turn left on gravel road