Members of Daviess Fiscal Court were surprised to learn recently that the county's newest acquisition, the Daviess County Gun Club, cleared more than $11,000 in its first month of operations.

After years of changing hands, the court finally settled on taking over the club and handed its management to Daviess County Parks and Recreation Director Ross Leigh on July 23. The initial start-up costs to prepare the club for its opening on Oct. 5 were about $70,000. While the club was expected to generate revenue, county officials had no idea that it would bring so much revenue in its first month, said Jordan Johnson, county purchasing manager.

"As far as expecting that level of activity, we had none in particular because we didn't know what our starting out point would be," he said. "It was definitely a high-volume month, and its success early derived from various contributing factors, for instance, the fact that it is a newly opened attraction, it hasn't been available and the amount of buzz generated when the court took over the property. There were myriad factors that contributed. That being said, as far as expecting that level of activity, we had no idea."

In terms of sponsorships, the club pulled in $2,000. Its major moneymakers, however, from a list of 14 categories, includes shooting clays ($3,150), a shooting clay event ($3,654) and ammunition ($2,236).

As it stands, the court's initial hope that the club will fund itself has come to fruition, said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.

"I think the potential is pretty exciting," he said. "The land was there and parks and recreation departments do not potentially pay for themselves. However, the gun club has the potential to do that and provide a venue for those that like to shoot and hunt. One of the most important things that the club allows us to do is provide an educational component for our area youth to promote safe shooting and sporting. A young person that is introduced to shooting sports is introduced to a sport that they can continue from a young age into their golden years. We are exceptionally pleased with Zack Crisp who we chose to run and revitalize the club."

While October proved to be a banner month for the fledgling club, Leigh is looking forward to the future and introducing skeet into the fold through a potential grant through the National Rifle Association, he said.

"I’m quite pleased," he said. "In conversations we are having about the facility, it seems encouraging. We have people that drive a bit further, bypassing their own facility, to get to us because of what is being provided. The grant will allow us, especially with larger events, to provide additional stations as well as skeet. We have had a great deal of community support for this facility and the 2020 calendar is already being developed.

"For next year, on top of events we already have scheduled, we are looking at having a Farmer Shoot as well as what we are calling Guns and Hoses, an event that would pit the best shooters from law enforcement and firehouses around the state against one another.

"The club is an ace in the hole for us and it has been a lot of fun aiding in building it and witnessing some of these young people come out and bust a target and learn about the safety. The whole project is a positive endeavor that far surpasses revenue alone."

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

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