Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Traffic rising at shooting range, teams start practice

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville’s new shooting sports complex has enjoyed heavy weekend traffic since opening on Jan. 22. The complex, located on Graham Road about a quarter mile east of Loop Road, saw 750 rounds shot last weekend, had has shown a steady increase each weekend since opening.

Jacksonville Parks and Recreation director Kevin House says that number is likely to pick up even more as the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program’s regional and state tournaments approach.

“We’ve got a lot of schools that are starting to come out and practice,” said House. “At first it was the more local teams and now we’re starting to get teams from schools all over the state.”

Most of the daytime activity takes place in late afternoons, making mid-day a premium time to come out.

“Traffic picks up on the weekdays after about 3:30 and keeps up until dusk,” House said. “Again, it’s the school teams coming out to practice. One day last week we had about 140 to 150 rounds shot in one day.”

The first big scheduled event for the complex takes place Friday, March 28 when the first Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce fundraising competition takes place. The rest of March is open and an event by Arkansas Ducks Unlimited is scheduled for Saturday, April 19.

Every weekend throughout the month of May is booked for AYSSP tournaments, as is the first weekend of June.

There is also a new website for the complex under construction. Staff training for the website started Monday, but House said there was no projected launch date for it.

“We’ll know more about those details after (today),” House said. “As soon as it’s up and running, we’ll be a lot more prepared and more efficient about getting information to the public about our events.”