An outstanding collection of Winchester Model 70 bolt-action rifles recently benefited the Fort Hays State University Shooting Club by a total of $25,000.
One hundred tickets were sold at $100 apiece, and at a drawing held at Joe Bob Outfitters, Hays, Rob McClure, Tescott, won the four Winchester Model 70s in "The 'Nearly Perfect' Rifle Battery," commissioned from Winchester by Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, a catalog and Internet retailer, and the MidwayUSA Foundation, Columbia, Mo., which encourages and supports shooting teams at universities and colleges.
The rifles were all Super Grade Model 70s, which retail from about $1,300 to more than $1,500 individually. The Varmint Rifle was chambered in .22-.250 Remington; the Deer & Antelope Rifle was chambered in .270 Winchester; the Elk & Moose Rifle was in .300 Winchester magnum; and the Dangerous Game Rifle was in .375 H&H magnum. Each rifle had its name engraved on the magazine floorplate.
"The Potterfields have made a real commitment to youth shooting and they have dedicated a lot of financial resources to promoting youth shooting in the United States," said Dr. Duane Shepherd, associate professor of health and human performance and Shooting Club sponsor. "There are a lot of people benefitting from it nationwide, not just at FHSU."
MidwayUSA commissioned 100 of the sets from Winchester and offered them to schools willing to commit to raising $10,000.
FHSU's first competition in the 2012-2013 Scholastic Clay Target Program will be in North Platte, Neb. The FHSU team is technically the sponsor of that meet, but Hays does not have the facilities to host it.
Tiger shooters will compete until October, when the season takes a break until starting up again in February or March.
The MidwayUSA Foundation provided the rifles for the drawing. The $10,000 in ticket money was divided two ways. The team received $5,000 directly, and the remaining $5,000 was deposited into the team's Scholastic Shooting Trust with MidwayUSA. Midway matches that money, and all other funds raised by the FHSU Shooting Club, at a 3-to-1 ratio, in this case, another $15,000.
The Potterfields, through the foundation, established this program for scholastic shooting teams across America in 2008.
"We are building that fund up so that we can draw off 5 percent of that a year," said Shepherd. At last count, the account held $75,000, which includes the receipts and matching money from "The 'Almost Perfect' Rifle Battery."
"My long range goal was to get that account up to $100,000 before we started drawing on it," he said. "I think at the end of this semester we'll have that."
When the club begins drawing on its trust, it can use the money however it sees fit, for targets, travel or other expenses.
The $5,000 that went directly to the club, said Shepherd, will go to equip another skeet field at the Hays City Sportsmen's Club range.
"We've got a great working relationship," said Shepherd. "They let us use the facility at no cost, and they're going to build another skeet field. We have so many kids in our club now that we need another skeet field, and we'll buy the machines for it. That will be huge for us. We can now practice more."
He said the FHSU Shooting Club, in turn, helps the Sportsmen's Club with their shoots and activities and with the facilities. Shepherd also teaches shooting-related courses there.