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Fort Riley breaks ground for new Skeet and Trap Complex

Sep 2, 2009

By Ashley Strehle, Fort Riley Public Affairs

FORT RILEY, Kan. - A groundbreaking ceremony for the Fort Riley Skeet and Trap Complex took place Aug. 28 at Range 34. The event lasted less than 20 minutes; getting the project up to that point, however, took some time.

"The skeet and trap process has been a long one," said Melissa Kinney, marketing chief for Fort Riley's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "It took well over a year to get the contract awarded."

The Skeet and Trap Complex has been a dual effort between Fort Riley's garrison, the Fort Riley Outdoorsmen Group and FMWR.

Garrison and FMWR are in charge of building the range, getting the contractors, selecting the site and hiring someone to run it. FROG has more of an advisory role, providing recommendations on what the range needs and what activities it should offer once it's built.

FROG's skeet and trap shooting committee developed many of its recommendation ideas based on the skeet and trap facilities at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Oliver "Ollie" H. Hunter IV, director of Fort Riley's Mission Support Element, is one of four members on the Skeet and Trap Complex committee. As a contractor at Fort Leavenworth, he was a member of a skeet and trap shooting team that competed in all of the post's league shoots.

That experience was part of the reason he wanted to start a skeet and trap shooting complex here, he said.

This is not the first time skeet and trap shooting has been available at Fort Riley. A skeet and trap shooting facility existed at Fort Riley in the 1980s, said Shawn Stratton, a fish and wildlife administrator with the Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division.

"It filtered out when the 'Big Red One' left. When they came back, there was more interest in it,": Stratton said.

According to Hunter, once the Skeet and Trap Complex opens, it will be the only skeet facility in a long distance. The Topeka Capital City Club is the nearest facility that offers skeet shooting.

"We just think there are a lot of skeet shooters and a lot of people who want to learn skeet that are just hungry for the skeet aspect of the range ... there are a lot of people who have just been waiting," Hunter said.

As a cadet at West Point, Hunter participated in skeet and trap shooting. There, these activities were called 'military skills sports,' he said.

This link between sports and military skills was highlighted on West Point's gymnasium wall, where a quote by Gen. Douglas MacArthur was painted, "On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, on other days, on other fields, will bear the fruits of victory."

This quote closed FROG's eight-page proposal for the Skeet and Trap Complex.
So far everything in the proposal is only a recommendation, as it has not yet been approved by FMWR.

Rex Willey, deputy director of FMWR, and the Skeet and Trap Complex committee are scheduled to meet to go over the recommendations.

At the groundbreaking, Willey commented on FMWR's plans for the skeet and trap facility.

"It's just the beginning, we hope, of a major project to expand the ranges," he said.
He called the Skeet and Trap Complex a "foothold" and compared its future growth to what happened with the Fort Riley Marina.

"We started out there just by putting a few boats on the water, and we expanded it ... we plan to do the same with this, expand this ... make this an outdoorsman's destination," he said.

The Skeet and Trap Complex is scheduled to open in November.

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