The Third Annual Tonto Rim Sports Club Expo held June 7 turned into an overwhelming success attracting more than 300 inquisitive visitors.
“Last year we had about 220, and the year before that, we had 180, so we were very happy with the turnout,” said TRSC member Charlie Thompson.
Most importantly, the expo drew the demographic TRSC members have targeted the past few years.
“We drew lots of families and that’s what we are pushing for,” Thompson said. “Our goal is to involve more people in becoming members and using the range, not just a select few.”
Thompson and other TRSC members believe there are some who shy away from the TRSC because they mistakenly believe it is just for fervent hunters, competitive shooters and hard-core outdoorsmen.
“That is not the case, we want to get rid of that notion,” Thompson said.
Among the most popular events of the day were Payson Police Sgt. John Heflin’s demonstrations of law enforcement firepower.
They included demos of bean bag guns used to slow hostiles, an electrical shock gun, flash-bang equipment, which Heflin called a distraction device, smoke cover and a police automatic rifle.
Also TRSC members put on demonstrations of shooting skills in archery, cowboy, practical and tactical, black powder, small bore and large bore, as well as silhouette target events.
Following the demonstrations, visitors had the opportunity to target shoot with both pistols and rifles.
Also, vendors, outfitters and longtime TRSC members were at the range to answer questions.
Those who wished to join TRSC could do so for a reduced fee.
“It was $25 for the remainder of 2009,” Thompson said.
Membership is open to any U.S. citizen.
Since the range’s inception in 1981, it 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.
The range is not just used by members. Law enforcement officers, Boy Scouts and others also use it to sharpen their skills and learn firearm safety.
The range is located 2.2 miles south of the Mazatzal Casino, off the Beeline Highway.
For more information about TRSC, call Thompson (928) 468-1521.