Old Man Winter is knocking at the door, meaning any time spent outdoors is a precious commodity. Luckily for shooting enthusiasts in the Fargo-Moorhead area, a place is nearly ready that will allow them to enjoy their sport during the fiercest North Dakota weather.
Construction of the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center, located at the corner of 7th Ave. N and 16th St. NE in West Fargo, began June 2, and is coming along pretty much on schedule, though the grand opening of Oct. 24 was pushed back.
"The building is ready," RRMC president Tim Pederson said. "We're going into this fairly slow because we don't want to rush things. We want to get the bugs out before it's officially up and running."
The new date for the center's grand opening looks to be in the beginning of 2010, Pederson said.
So far, response to the RRRMC has been positive. Concealed and carry classes are expected to start soon, Pederson said, and there are plans to hold West Fargo Junior ROTC classes and Firearm Safety courses, too.
RRRMC is a nonprofit organization dependent on the efforts of volunteers and members. "We haven't really advertised yet. We're hoping to get somewhere between 500 and 700 members," Pederson said. Membership for the shooting club is $75 a year. There also is a $10 shooting fee.
Funding for the $2.5 million building was gathered largely thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which placed an excise tax on arms and ammunition with the funds generated mandated to go back into state and local organizations to increase game populations, expand habitat and train hunters. RRRMC also received donations from private parties and local businesses.
The RRRMC facility includes a large shooting range for pistols and smaller caliber weapons. There also is an air-rifle range, two classrooms, a locker room and a walk-in safe to house club equipment.
For more information, visit www.rrrmc.com.