Want to be a Grand Valley Marksman? Get in line
In an era when any mention of firearms seems to spark controversy, local interest in the shooting sports barely has wavered.
The Grand Valley Marksmen is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with 23 members, a rich history of success and a backlog of prospective members, head coach Dave Andrews said.
“We have 23 members now, and if you wanted to join, there is an eight-year waiting list,” Andrews said. “We just don’t have enough ranges or practice facilities to accommodate everyone who wants to join.”
He said the club’s reputation for quality coaches and its emphasis on firearms safety as well as marksmanship helped the club maintain its membership.
Volunteer coach Matt Healey said the club’s role doesn’t stop when the members, ranging in age from 10 to 20 years, leave the club.
“A lot of what we do as coaches is not only to help kids when they are kids, we want them to come back to the sport when they are parents and they can teach their kids,” he said.
He noted he and Andrews “came up through the ranks” of the Grand Valley Marksmen.
“In fact, Dave was one of my first shooters when I started coaching,” Healey said. “Now, he’s doing a terrific job.”
Andrews said a shooting coach elsewhere would have to recruit to get new members.
“But the success we’ve had over the years, and our top-notch coaching team, has made the difference,” Andrews said. “The word has really gotten out.”