Sioux Valley Gun Club welcomes all ages

Past and present board members gather at the Sioux Valley Gun Club. In the front are past members from left to right: Chuck Beitlich, Ron Peterson, Tom Honse, Tom Giefer, Paul Sabatino. In the back row are present members from left to right: Ron Schnobrich, Mike Syverson, Jim Arndt, Dan Meinzer, Dan Buechner.

NEW ULM — Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a young beginner, the Sioux Valley Gun Club in New Ulm offers those interested plenty of opportunity to get out there on the range this summer.

The club is more than happy to help shooters of all ages get started having fun this summer in a safe environment. The club is made up of eight board members, 152 adult members and 52 youth members.

It is led by Jim Arndt, who took over for Chuck Beitlich and is in his first year as the club’s president. Arndt is also an assistant coach for the New Ulm High School clay target team.

The Eagles’ clay target head coach Dan Meinzer said that Beitlich went above and beyond as president and still helps out at the club in several ways. Meinzer is also a board member of the club and is in his second year.

He said he’s been shooting at Sioux Valley since he was a teenager and said that part of the reason he joined the board was for the opportunities it opened up for the kids and his New Ulm High School team.

A young member takes aim at the trap-shooting field at Sioux Valley Gun Club. The club welcomes shooters of all ages to stop in and check out the range for themselves.

“There were board positions that opened up as this [New Ulm team] was coming together, so it was only a logical choice to be on the board,” Meinzer said. “To make sure that my voice was heard, if there was something that we needed in any special direction.”

Meinzer said that his New Ulm assistant coach Dan Buechner is also on the board as treasurer and had similar thoughts in mind when joining.

Just by walking around the range and clubhouse, a person notices how open the club really is with people of all different ages. It’s seen growth the past few years, particularly with younger adults, in large part due to the high school teams that use the range for events.

Meinzer said that the relationship between the schools and the club has been great.

“The partnership with the schools has been excellent,” Meinzer said. “It has meshed in really, really good. It has just grown and grown and grown because of the schools — because of the awareness that the parents, family members and friends have because of the youth that may be shooting on one of those teams. It has enchanced interest in our club.

Skeet shooting is also offered at the range. Here, a man gets his shots in at the skeet-shooting field, left of the trap field.

“It has been great, we have a nice program. We have some generous sponsors that donate so that the young people can have the opportunity to continue shooting in our program. And that doesn’t matter if they participate in the school or not or they come out into our youth program and have little to no experience. We have people here to help — youth or adults.”

In addition to how generous the donors have been, Arndt added how grateful he was of the city, schools and the past and present club members.

“We want to show appreciation to the schools for allowing the children to start,” Arndt said. “And of course we need to thank all of the past and present members that volunteer all of the hours out here as far as keeping it going. And I need to mention how much it’s growing. For instance, with the kids’ program, we have 70 kids involved between all the schools. We have our youth program where we have 40 to 50 kids and we’ll probably get more as we go on.”

Meinzer invited those interested in simply trying things out at the range to stop in Tuesday or Thursday nights to get more information. He said he’d be glad to help get things started, whether they’d like to try trap shooting or the growing-in-popularity skeet shooting.

“We have trap shooting and whether we’re doing individual events or doubles team events or full-team events of five people,” Meinzer said. “We really have trap shooting that covers a gamut of any skills that you’re competing against … and we do have it open to the public if they would want to come in and try. And we do have memberships that are very minimal fee here to join our club.

“The other aspect would be skeet shooting,” Meinzer added. “That’s probably one of the areas that we’ve seen greater growth in. Both trap shooting and skeet shooting are offered here and if things continue to grow, we’re hoping to add an additional skeet-trap field combination. I think that that would be incredibly positive.”

The club will have an adult-youth league starting up shortly with six shoots throughout the summer, along with an individual 16-yard shooting league. Those two leagues will start near the end of June.

The club will also have a midsummer fun shoot that is open to the public on August 12.