Daviess County club ready for opening day

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com Scott McCain fires his 12-gauge shotgun at a sporting clay from an elevated position on Friday at the Home Builders Association of Owensboro’s Sporting Clays Shoot fundraiser at the Daviess County Gun Club in Maceo.

The gun club, located at 7740 KY-2830, Maceo, has been a labor of love for both Daviess Fiscal Court as well as Daviess County Parks and Recreation since the court voted to take ownership of the club and place its management under the auspices of the parks department on July 23.

Kandace Sturgeon, assistant parks director, said now all parties involved are locked and loaded Saturday, Oct. 5, for what will hopefully be an exciting opening day. It begins with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting.

"We are optimistic about the future of the club; there is already a lot of interest," she said. "We feel that Saturday is going to be a great day. ...We will have food available for $5 and then those in attendance can go out there and have fun."

From now until the middle of December, the public gun club, operated by Zack Crisp, will be open on Fridays, 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After its seasonal closure in December, parks officials anticipate reopening in the middle of February. Their hope, between now and then, is that the club will continue to grow in its scope, Sturgeon said.

"Currently, we don't have the skeet; we are offering trap and sporting clay," she said. "We are throwing around a lot of ideas for the future of the club like the possibility of a membership, but we want everyone to know that the club is and will always be open to the public. Right now, targets are included in the shooting fee. It is $35 a round for sporting clay and $6 a round for trap. We do sell extra targets and ammo at the clubhouse."

The property housing the gun club was originally operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources until the mid-1980s when it was closed with the intention of developing a bird sanctuary. In 2003, the state donated the land to Daviess County with the caveat that it be used only as a recreational shooting facility.

Later that year, Daviess Fiscal Court agreed to spend $100,000 to build skeet and trap ranges and help fund the renovation of an existing clubhouse. Retired Daviess County Fire Chief Joe Kennedy and business partner Steve Scott then invested their own money to continue renovations and reopen the facility that had been closed for years.

In 2013, the pair ended their agreement with the county, and Jesse Pollock, of Rockport, Indiana, took it over. Pollock announced his intention to retire in January 2017, and Matt and Bethany Schneider, of Lexington, managed the property until the first of the year. The club has not been open during the 2019 season.

In the past, the court had been apprehensive of taking over the gun club, despite its ownership history, believing that it should be privately owned and operated. That stance has ebbed and county officials are excited about the potential one of the few self-funded government-run operations, said Mattingly.

"This is one of the few amenities that we provide that is self-funding and won't cost the taxpayer," he said. "The potential of the Daviess County Gun Club is limitless in terms of the potential of fundraising, community events as well as competitions. One aspect that we on the court are excited about is the potential of educational programs and gun safety courses for the youth of our community. We were always apprehensive about the parks taking it over because we were always a proponent of private enterprise. However, in this case, it is in the best hands it can be in."

Fore more information on the Daviess County Gun Club call the clubhouse at 270-313-5800 during business hours or the Daviess County Parks and Recreation Department at 270-264-5330.

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com.

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