The Ashe County Wildlife Club held its inaugural International Benchrest Shooting tournament at its new rifle range and clubhouse on Saturday, April 12 at its club about 10 miles east of Jefferson, off N.C. 88.
Over the last year, the club has expanded its rifle range from a 200-yard range with 12 benches under a shelter to 30 benches under an overhang attached to a large clubhouse. The range is now 300 yards long.
Benchrest rifles are custom-made rifles with telescopic sights sitting on rests that can be minutely adjusted to what is seen in the scopes.
The shooters must judge wind variations in order to consistently shoot out the bulls-eye in five different paper targets in the course of 10 minutes.
28 shooters from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida attended this first IBS shoot of the year for the club. The ranges were 100 yards and 200 yards.
Club officials were pleased with the turnout, which was large enough to let them know that the IBS community was aware of the new range, yet small enough so the Club could handle anything that might arise since everything from the clubhouse to the targets were brand new.
“The shoot went great,” said E.T. Weaver, club president, who is also a benchrest shooter. “We worked out a few kinks so we will know what we need to do for our next shoot in May. “
Steve Eller, club member and benchrest shooter too, said: “One shooter from out of state told me: ‘If you never do another thing to this clubhouse and range, it will still be the best range at which I have shot.’ You can’t get better testimony than that for our efforts to make this a first class facility.”
The septic field and the well for the clubhouse were finished last week. There is more still to do, including running the well line to the clubhouse and building the bathrooms and hooking them to the septic field. Also, some pieces of sheet rock are still to be hung over the scoring rooms.
Once the building is completed, the Wildlife Club will host an open house to introduce the club to anyone in Ashe County who is not yet a member. The club has a fishing pond on its property, as well as a pistol range, trap, skeet and sporting clays shotgun sports ranges.
Memberships are $125 for new members and $100 for subsequent years with lifetime membership plans available depending upon a member’s age. The club now has nearly 200 members.
This first shoot had an economic impact on the county as several shooters came in the night before from as far away as Jacksonville and Dunnellon, Fla. They stayed in local hotels and ate in local restaurants. The tourist effect should jump in May as the Club will host the North Carolina 200 and 300-yard State Championship, a major shoot.
The club will be sponsoring more IBS shoots in June, July, and the IBS 100 and 200-yard National Championship in September, which is expected to attract some shooters from outside the country.
The winners of Saturday’s shoot at 100 yards were: Henry Rivers of Prosperity, S.C., James Parham of Leicester, N.C., and Rick Roe of Ashe County.
The 200-yard winners were Chuck Ederle of Summerville, Fla., David Richardson of Ocala, Fla., and Swader Miller of Ashe County.
The Aggregate or combined yardage winners were: Chuck Ederle, David Richardson, and Swader Miller.