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Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by butcher, Sep 15, 2008.

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  1. butcher

    butcher Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Smithfield Gun Club in Smithfield, Illinois needs shooters to keep operating. This is a little gun club with two traps that is open to the public. It shoots the 3rd and 4th Sundays and on the 5th if there is one that month.

    You can't shoot any cheaper, $3.25 per 25 target practice.

    Any ideas out there to attract shooters to our club?
  2. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Coral Springs, Florida
    Any possibility you could have night shooting or be open during the week? Perhaps pot luck shoots. Are there enough shooters in your area to support a club? You're running a business, how would you attract more customers?

  3. Superdog1

    Superdog1 TS Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    try and figure out what happened to your old shooters. Why did they leave?
  4. famill00

    famill00 TS Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    At little clubs like this the old shooters often times, and unfortunately, die off; Literally. You guys are over 200 miles from me and when I am in your area it is never on the weekend. Good luck! The clubs I shot at back home in KY were small like yours. In my opinion, those are the best clubs.
  5. kraiza

    kraiza Active Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    My club is small also it has only one trap. It's open tuesday leage shoot. Wednesday Friday and Sunday and it packed. Another one is open Wednesday night Friday night and Sundays. It has 3 trap stations and it always have people. You just have to be open. Have fun shoots and get people to help you.
  6. 320090T

    320090T Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Are you shooting registered targets on those two or three days?
  7. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    A club I belong to is always open to its members. Access is via keys that come with membership. You can shoot anytime you want t, unless an event is scheduled. Everything is on the honor system. Paying for targets & beverages. It works.

  8. John Thompson

    John Thompson TS Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    With registered birds over in October in Illinois, shoot 50 bird money shoots. Also try a program that might be $15- $20 for 50 birds, put $1 or $2 into a purse for the final shoot ie 10 weeks, and to be eligible must shoot 6 times in the 10 weeks. Pay out either 2 lewis's (50/30/20 or 60/40) or top 4 scores. $3 in weekly lewis and balance in top score purse maybe $1. for a 50 straight purse. This 10 week program will keep them coming back. Lewis class will keep the so so shooter coming back, hot dogs come for the 50 purse etc.
  9. BrowningGal

    BrowningGal TS Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Definitely more days. You could start small and just make it the same day every week and not just the 3rd and 4th. Then, add an "after work" day during the week. That will get a lot of people in. Make it a fun night, as suggested in other posts. Tues or Thu are good for these. Avoid Wed -- too many conflicts with church activities.
  10. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Prairie State
    I find that shooters like predictability. 2 Sundays, maybe 3 a month is not a lot of shooting opportunity. Not being familiar with your geographic area, make up a cheap flyer and drop them off at nearby stores that support shooting, hunting & fishing; post them at other gun ranges, Churches, grocery stores, bars any place that a angler or hunter could see it.

    Take a map and lay out a 5/10/20/30 mile radius circle on and see who your competition and your possible customers are...

    ... unfortunately, things change - sadly it may not be possible to turnaround the present situation, prepare for that possibility also. If you've got competition for Sundays, what about changing to Saturdays - neighbor issues to contend with if you change the shooting schedule?!

    Been closed, opened, closed again, rebuilt our customer base from almost scratch a couple of times... you can do it!

  11. maltzahn

    maltzahn Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Creston, IA
    Small gun clubs, just like bigger clubs find that they have both competitive and fun shooters. The fun shooters may be gamers or just like to shoot practice targets. Competitive shooters like organized events like leagues, jackpots, derbies, and registered.

    Find a way to accommodate both type of shooters and not conflict with other local clubs. Espectially registered shooters. They will compare programs and choose which club and program is more attractive. They like money, merchandise, and awards. They also like bigger events to attend. Many ATA shooters like a Big 50 during the week and the club can register those scores, at the same time apply the same scores to another program, jackpot or league.

    If your only open on Sundays, getting competitive shooters to attend will be difficult. Again, they will travel to the best offering. Getting one shooter interested could attract a truck load of shooters. With the price of fuel and travel many shooters are pooling together to split the costs.

  12. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

    Feb 20, 2008
    It is your schedule ... open a week night or a late afternoon during the week and then on Saturday and/or Sunday each weekend from 9am to 3pm.

    Come up with some informal leagues and fun shoots and get the word out ... yeah get the word out about what your offering. If you know and are familar with your own area you will know where and who to talk with to spread the word.

    There is most likely something else your not mentioning to have driven off all the shooters other than just the old ones passing on to the great trap field of perfect shooting days and perfect scores in the sky.
  13. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Northeastern MD @ the top o the Bay
    This would be the perfect time of year to hold some old fashioned card style Turkey Shoots....Pellet hole closest to center wins.$3.00 a shot..30 shooters to an event..give away a frozen turkey for 1st..frozen chicken for second and say a lb. of bacon for 3rd...this will bring casual shooters and you can have them stick around for games and other rounds of shooting...Once you have them hooked with the hospitality and fun you can reel them in to be part of the fraternity and possible new members
  14. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Cut to the chase...

    You can't have a viable club when it's only open two days a month!
  15. ArmySGM

    ArmySGM Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    The club in question used to have 60- 100 members and like stated above, a lot of them were the older shooters. We shot practice on one trap and money shoots on the other. An Annie was shot prior to lunch and then on the 2nd Sunday it was a 50 bird trophy shoot for members only. The 4th Sunday was the same except instead of the trophy shot, it was a 50 bird money shoot open to all shooters. The club does not have lights, so night shoots are out.

    We alternated Sunday's with another club close by that shot on the 1st and 3rd Sunday's and league on Wednesday nights, as they had lights there. This went well for years and both clubs did great with attendance until another club opened between the two existing clubs. This is when the attendance starting going. Lost some shooters to the new club.

    Then to top it off, the other club we had traded Sunday's off an on with decided to start shooting on the 5th Sunday like we were. That pulled more shooters who were closer to that club.

    Oh well, that's most of the story except we have tried to do some of the stuff mentioned above, but no one wants to give their time to the club other than coming to shoot. To me that's the bottom line...

  16. dverna

    dverna Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    How can you cover expenses at $3.25 a round? Is that the going rate in your area?


    KEYBEAR Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    If your club is only open two Sundays a month you really don,t have a Club . If you need help hire some . You can get a young boy to work for 6 or 7 bucks an hour . Open up a Wendesday/ Saturday /Sunday for Practice . You make money with targets in the air . $3.25 IS CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP .
  18. butcher

    butcher Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Thanks guys for your feed back. You have some ideas worth looking into.

    Don By the way Smithfield is on Route 95 west of Cuba.
  19. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Scottsdale, AZ
    We had the same problem once at my first gun club experience. This is what we did:
    * Nurtured three guys with a lot of enthusiam for building a program
    * Add good lights

    * The three enthusiastic guys went to a lot of other clubs' shoots, shot
    their programs and talked up our club's wish to start a program of
    our own. Asked them if they would be interested in coming to Smithfield.

    * We decided that a 50 derby format was the best for getting us started.

    * Had a friend at State Journal Register that wrote the local hunting and
    fishing column and he was glad to write up the intitation of our
    new program.

    * Faithfully put the winners of the derby along with a little
    blurb about the shoot in general in as many local papers that
    print it. All did. Your shooters need recognition and the club
    gets free advertising. You'll be suprised at how many folks will follow
    the results and pique the curiosity of new shooters.

    * We built the derby up to about 5-6 squads per shoot and drew
    shooters from as far away as Springfield, Il.

    * Expanded the program by offering games and Annie Oakelys to keep
    the shooters there as long as possible. We had homemade pies
    and a brief menu of premade foods and made money on them. The food
    needs to be simple but very good. A lot of your shooter's will
    come early to eat dinner, practice and then shoot.

    * Every Fall, before Thanksgiving, we'd have a couple of Sundays set
    aside for Turkey shoots. We almost always nurtured a new shooter
    or two at those special shoots.

    * We started to go to local businesses and manufacturers, talking to the
    human relations (personel) departments and let them know what our club
    offered and we would like them to put together a 5 man team, or more,
    to compete in league shooting. Derbies and leagues are the life's
    blood of the small gun club.

    * Let all know how what a bargain our practice was.

    * Contact closest WalMart or other sporting goods stores for help with
    prizes or even sponsoring a special Sunday shoot highlighting, thus
    promoting their store and products. Many times you will find that they
    like to sponsor the Turkey shoots best. A very good time is a week
    before dove season. Let them supply the turkeys and prizes.

    * Contact the IDNR and offer your clubhouse for hunter safety classes and
    offer a free 5 rounds for the newbies - well manned by the enthusiastic
    guys to assure safety and provide instruction. You'll get a few interested
    in shooting this way as well. Make sure the event is attended by the
    newsies, if possible, but make sure you contact them, if not.
    More free advertising.

    * KEEP DOING ABOVE - OVER AND OVER AND OVER..........You'll get shooters,

    I hope this helps you. It's just basic sales and a lot of hard work but it will work for any club needing participation. Don't get discouraged it will take time. Make sure you are consistent with your plan. Nothing will hurt you as much as inconsistency. Be diligent..............Barry Roach

  20. gun fitter

    gun fitter Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    One thing you can do to encourage more shooters to the club is have what some of the clubs around here have which is an open policy. Meaning members in good standing can open up and shoot any time they want. Times must be reasonable like no shooting before 9 am and get some voice releases if you don't already have them. Start a SCTP program and get the club and a local bussiness to sponsor the targets. The kids parents will shoot and you will pick up revenue from the extra targets thrown.
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