By JIM MISUNAS
Ken Botzung kept a watchful eye on the shooters at the Kiowa Gun Club using a spotting scope. He was working as a sanctioned range officer who advised shooters how accurately they were firing. Botzung is a science teacher at Great Bend High School.
Some were experienced marksmen and others were novice shooters trying the shooting range for the first time. They all shared a passion for exhibition shooting at the Kiowa Gun Range, south on Radium Road (SW 50th Ave.) off U.S. 56 west of Great Bend.
The Kiowa Gun Club sponsored the shooting exhibition range day Saturday by Savage Arms, partnering with Hornady Ammunition and Nikon Sport Optics. Several of Savage Arms sport rifles were available for testing.
Ellinwood’s Pat Streck is a lifelong marksman who learned how to shoot as a sniper in the U.S. Army.
Streck is a certified U.S. Olympic rifle coach who has taught air rifle shooting the past 18 years to youngsters at the 4-H Shooting Club. He earned his certification at U.S. Olympic trainers taught 10 instructors at a Larned clinic.
“One big advantage is we get to shoot guns that we would not normally get to try,” Streck said. “Since this was a public event, we’re getting people here who would not normally shoot. It’s quite a cross-section today. It provides an opportunity to showcase the many disciplines of shooting.”
He uses a variety of guns for hunting of turkeys, deer, pheasant, ducks, quail, doves and prairie dogs. One of his sons is a lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
“I love dove hunting — it’s a challenge,” he said. “Mornings and evening are the best time. I love going out and trying my luck. It’s my No. 1 hobby — that and seeing my grandchildren.”
Jack Boyd of Pratt was a novice shooter who was accompanied by Pratt Community College instructor Greg Bacon. Pratt’s shooting club started as a club, but it has expanded to include college credit and a variety of shooters from serious hunters to target shooters. Boyd said he wanted to practice shoot to see whether he enjoyed it.
More than 125 people preregistered. Sanctioned range officers assisted shooters in shooting metal and animal targets.
Sheldon Peacock of the Kiowa Gun Club helped coordinate the shooting exhibition.
“The best part is seeing the youngsters learning about shooting and seeing the smiles,” Peacock said. “The youngsters were loving it. We’ve had great response. This is a recreational sport that is very enjoyable. Anyone can do it. There is a big diversity. Some of them are hunters and some are like me. I rarely hunt, but I’m a target shooter.”
Peacock said the people enjoyed trying out the new equipment.
“They said it was fun seeing the new guns,” Peacock said. “You can decide whether you want to try a different gun or a different caliber. More are built more for accuracy and some more for power.”
Jim Coleman ran a concession stand with proceeds helping the 4-H Shooting Club.
The range features a newly built 25-yard pistol range. The 100, 500, and 200-yard ranges all have permanent shooting benches. There is also an additional 100-yard range with permanent gong targets. Backboards are provided at all of the ranges, with the exception of the 100-yard range with gongs.