From vision to reality
McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club safe, popular place for shooting sports
WATFORD CITY – Brooks and Carol Kummer had a vision for a safe outdoor education range and center for youth. That vision has become a reality with the McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club, a facility about six miles southeast of Watford City.
The Kummers donated 43 acres to the club for the facility.
“It was basically something for the community because we didn’t have anything. And the second thing was we felt that it was something where we would get the kids from playing computers and get out and enjoy nature and the outdoors,” he said.
The facility started in summer 2018 with just the rifle ranges and the shotgun ranges, said Kummer, a McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club board member.
A couple more ranges were added and then they started work on a new building in the fall of 2021, opening about a year and a half ago, he said. The building is the facility’s education center.
Grants through the Pittman Roberts Fund and donations from McKenzie County and local businesses and organizations made the project possible, according to club information.
Kummer said the facility, comprised of the outdoor range and the education center, is going very well.
“I think we have around 300 members,” he said. “We have over a hundred kids shooting 4-H archery out there every Thursday night. It’s really taken off. I think they had about 60 or 70 kids last year and now well over a hundred signed up already.”
Having so many kids getting involved, he said, “That’s one of the things my wife and I are real excited about.”
He said the 4-H members come from all over McKenzie County, naming areas including Watford City, Alexander, Keene, Grassy Butte and Mandaree.
He said there’s something for everyone at the facility: men, women, 4-H members and other youth.
“For the kids in archery, it’s both girls and boys. And even like our leagues that we have, it’s not set up just for guys. It’s set up for families,” he said. “We supply the shotguns for the high school trap team also.
“We have training in there we offer for the kids and adults,” he said. The courses offered include hunter safety, concealed carry and range safety.
Heather Stabler is range manager at the facility.
“We’ve got probably the nicest facility. You’d probably have to get to Yankton, South Dakota, or Las Vegas to shoot. We can shoot about 80 yards inside our building,” Kummer said.
Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County economic development director, said the McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club is a good facility for the area.
“As McKenzie County continues to grow, a facility like this in our community is vitally important. Shooting sports are very popular among our community members — both newcomers and old-timers. Having a safe and dedicated place for shooting sports helps push us toward our goal of having a variety of social and recreational opportunities that enhance the quality of life for our residents,” said Stenberg.
Special events have been held at the facility and others are being planned.
This past December, the club hosted the Dakota Territory Gun Collector’s Association Inc. Show. The event had been held at the Roughrider Center in Watford City previously.
“I think we had over 200 tables in there too,” Kummer said, adding, “I think we had over 800 people or more through that gun show in the two-and-a-half-day period.
“The main reason for hosting it was to let people know where we’re at. That’s a full-service facility. We have a retail store that’s just outside the gate that sells archery and some ammunition and all that kind of stuff.
“We also are going to host the North Dakota State Bowhunters Association Winter Shoot and Banquet the 25th of March,” Kummer said.
Other events being planned for the facility include the state tournament for the field archery association in May.
“We’re hosting all kinds of stuff like that,” Kummer said. He said last year the North Dakota Petroleum Council held a shoot during a fun day.
“We host all those kinds of things like that – that’s basically sports-related,” he said. NDPC will hold another shoot at the sportsman’s club on May 16.
On Jan. 21, the club hosted the Badlands Roundup District 4-H Match, an archery event attended by more than 400 4-H members.
Kummer said the club hosted a large tournament attended by between 200-300 4-H members last spring.
The ACA 600 Archery Shoot is also scheduled to be held at the sportsman’s club on May 6.
“It’s just getting bigger and bigger here in Watford,” Kummer said of participation at the facility.
McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club
The enormous McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club building contains an 80-feet by 235-feet indoor heated and cooled archery range, which also can be used as an events center, a large classroom, dining area with kitchen and a large lobby. There are six separate outdoor firearm ranges on the property. The club had its official grand opening on July 30, 2022, after four years of work on the site and building. The 40-plus acres offers sportsmen and sportswomen, both members and non-members, a plethora of things to do. The 4-H Archery Team and Watford School Trap Team also are hosted at the club.
– Roger Riveland