The Tonto Rim Sports Club Jim Jones Shooting Range will soon undergo thousands of dollars in improvements, thanks to the Friends of the NRA.
“We’re going to be using some of it (the money) for drainage improvements,” said NRA and TRSC member Charlie Thompson. “Goodness knows we need those (improvements) after all the rain we’ve had.”
The money TRSC received, which totaled $11,500, was donated following the Zane Grey Committee’s Friends of NRA 15th Annual Benefit Dinner held Feb. 20 at the Mazatzal Casino.
The annual banquet drew almost 200 people from around the Rim Country and Northern Gila County.
Thompson called the benefit a complete success, saying, “just over $25,000 in merchandise was available in the raffles, games, drawings and auctions.”
The money Friends of NRA donated to the local shooting range is not the first the Rim Country has received.
Thompson estimates that over the past seven years about $80,000 in Friends of NRA grants have been awarded to groups in the Rim Country, including the Boy Scouts of America. Some of the money has also gone to fund safety training programs.
Each year, half of all the money at Friends of NRA banquets around the country is spent in the state in which the benefit was held. The other half supports national level programs like Eddie Eagle Funsafe Program, Women on Target and other educational and safety services.
Locally, the TRSC has managed the Jim Jones Shooting Range, located just south of Payson, for the past 21 years under an agreement permitted by National Forest system lands.
Thompson estimates over 10,000 sportsmen have used the range in the past year for a variety of firearm and archery events.
Law enforcement officers, including those representing Payson PD, Gila County Sheriff’s Office, DPS, Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish, also use the range.
For more information about Friends of NRA or TRSC, call Thompson at (928) 468-1521.