After selling out a fundraising raffle last year to raise money to rebuild their rifle range building, the South Cariboo Sportsmen Association (SCSA) has launched a second “Rebuild Our Range” raffle, with more than a quarter of the tickets sold in less than a month.
The association’s facilities south of Cache Creek were extensively damaged in the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire, and the rifle range building was the last structure that needed replacing. SCSA vice president Wayne Wawreniuk says that the initial idea was to build a new wooden structure, but he suggested a metal Sea Can, which is fireproof. “If another wood building burned down then insurance wouldn’t cover it.”
A 45-foot container was purchased and placed on the old concrete pad. Seven gun ports were cut into it, and they have all been framed, with wooden shooting platforms. The inside has been framed and soundproofed, and finished with metal perforated sheets, to allow sound to penetrate into the soundproofing.
All that is left to do now is paint the exterior, which will happen as soon as the weather warms up. However, Wawreniuk says that the SCSA has a lengthy list of other things they would now like to address at the site, hence the new raffle.
“At our last directors’ meeting we came up with a list of 40 items that are required to improve the club to pre-2017 conditions and better,” he says. One of those goals is to replant the mountain hillside with new trees, and Wawreniuk is canvassing provincial and federal governments for either grants or donations of trees.
However, proceeds from the new raffle will go to support road building, an archery range, and a concrete pistol pad. “We’ve already started work on rebuilding the roads,” says Wawreniuk. “The top road to the clubhouse has been layered with three inches of new gravel, and the bottom road is being widened and will then be gravelled by the end of March.
“The 2017 fire burnt the trees holding the soil on the mountainside, which caused water erosion that took out a culvert and an earthen bridge area at the top road and created messy, muddy roadways to the bottom rifle/pistol range road. The goal of the improvements is that anybody can drive to either range in a car; you don’t need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to our facilities.”
A new concrete pad for the pistol range will be installed this spring. An archery practice range is also being developed, and work on that should be underway within the next month.
“Barry Lowe is our archery director. He’s chosen an area adjoining the current pistol range, and we’ll move a large amount of soil to create a flat archery practice range. We just need to coordinate with the contractor, who has indicated he’ll donate time and equipment to undertake this work.”
Wawreniuk adds that while the archery range is being constructed, some of the removed soil will create an overflow parking lot, with gravel that has been donated by Broda Group LP and Canadian National Railways at no charge.
The association has seen a marked increase in membership over the last couple of years. “Due to our exposure to gun clubs in the province, people relocating to Ashcroft and area, and the promotion of firearm safety and the licensing courses by president Ken Brown, our membership is now at more than 200,” says Wawreniuk.
Trap shooting began on March 20, and for now will take place every Saturday at 2 p.m.; anyone who is interested is welcome to come to the range. “You don’t need to be licensed,” says Wawreniuk. “Just come join them. Someone will be happy to let you shoot a round to see if you like the sport.”
The new raffle started on March 1, and more than 500 of the 2,000 tickets have already sold. The raffle is being supported and promoted by a variety of businesses in Ashcroft and beyond, including in Salmon Arm, Vernon, and Kamloops. Canadian Tire (Hillside) in Kamloops, Eagle Industries (Vernon), and the Powder Keg (Kamloops) have all helped with the raffle prizes, with first prize being a Tikka T3X Hunter .243 calibre stainless steel fluted bolt action rifle, Leupold scope, and Burris Posi scope rings worth nearly $2,5000.
There are four prizes in all, and anyone can buy a ticket, but winners must have their PAL or RPAL. People without a licence should purchase tickets in the name of someone who does. Tickets are $10 each, and are available in Ashcroft at Home Hardware, Fields, Quality Glass, Interior Savings Insurance, and the HUB. The draw will be made on Sept. 1, 2021.
For more information, or to purchase tickets online, look for posters around town, contact the SCSA at email@example.com, visit the South Cariboo Sportsmen Association Facebook page, or call Wayne Wawreniuk at (604) 861-2454.