The transition has gone smoothly, and 2015 promises to see many more ranges participate
Programs that change administrative hands can sometimes produce added challenges when it comes to assuring a smooth transition. That’s especially true when it comes to generating continued growth immediately from where the program left off. Fortunately for the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, formerly known as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge, this was not the case in 2014. The key reasons for the program’s continued success this year have a lot to do with the increased level of industry support along with the growing number of host shooting ranges. Additionally we cannot forget about the most important leg of the stool, the volunteers that make Rimfire Challenge events happen.
The wealth of support the industry provided to the Rimfire Challenge this season came in a variety of ways. Eleven companies stepped to the plate by serving as corporate sponsors. More than 25 companies jumped on board as program partners, providing products to registered state events and serving as product sponsors of the World Championship event.
Furthermore, partnerships established between industry and NSSF enabled the launch of two programs that proved to be crucial elements in attracting new host ranges and growing the level of participation at scheduled events throughout the season. Action Target’s support toward the NSSF Rimfire Challenge Steel Target Grant Program enabled us to outfit 30 ranges with enough steel to become new hosts of Rimfire Challenge events. The launch of the Ammo Roundup Program helped provide host ranges with a reliable source to purchase ammunition for their upcoming scheduled events. Big thanks go out to our roundup fulfillment partner Gold Coast Armory and to all of the ammo partners, which currently include ATK, Winchester and Aguila, for making the program possible.
The 2014 Rimfire Challenge season proved to be quite a busy year on the range as well. In addition to the 30 steel target grant recipients who are now just getting started with their Rimfire Challenge program efforts, 56 other ranges hosted events in some capacity. Thirty-four of these ranges held registered state matches, and 155 monthly events occurred at 30 different ranges across the country.
Keep in mind these numbers only reflect the events that were scheduled on the Rimfire Challenge website’s events calendar. If your home range was affiliated with the Ruger Rimfire Challenge and is still hosting Rimfire Challenge events, please make sure to schedule your events on the NSSF Rimfire Challenge website. By doing so, your range will be eligible to purchase rimfire ammo through our roundup program, and you will also receive a promo packet of materials that includes banners, hats and T-shirts to outfit your volunteers who are helping run the events throughout the year. Ranges that schedule their events and plan to host registered matches will also receive a partner company contact list for soliciting companies that are interested in offering product sponsorship for the prize table.
One exciting aspect of the registered matches and the World Championship this year was the increased participation many host ranges experienced. Ranges witnessed an increase in event participation by as much as 20 percent compared to the event they hosted last year, and many of the hosts experienced an increase of new shooters, not only in numbers, but age—seniors and juniors—gender—more females than ever—and diversity of ethnic and racial backgrounds. For example, this year’s World Championship event held at the Old Fort Gun Club in Fort Smith, Arkansas, had more than 170 competitor’s ranging in age from seven to 83, surpassing last year’s attendance by more than 80 percent. Another item to note is that of the 170 competitors, 40 of them were women and 55 of them were under the age of 17, which clearly shows the family-participation element that ranges experience when hosting Rimfire Challenge events.
As you can see, the future is bright for the NSSF Rimfire Challenge as we continue to grow the number of host ranges while developing more tools and resources to build upon the momentum that has been generated in 2014. Some tools to be on the lookout for in 2015 include a Rimfire Challenge quarterly newsletter and educational and promotional videos.
The beauty of these happenings is we’re just getting started! For the shooting ranges and industry companies who are not yet involved, there is still plenty of opportunity to get on board for 2015 and the years to come. For more information on program details and how you can get involved in the NSSF Rimfire Challenge program please visit the website or contact me, Zach Snow – 203-426-1320 ext 224.
Safe and fun shooting to all!