Ranges at Oakfield grand opening Thursday

Knight

THOMASVILLE — The long-awaited Ranges at Oakfield Sporting Center grand opening is Thursday at 245 County Farm Road.

The facility is the result of a project of the Thomas County Board of Commissioners and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that began six years ago.

Speakers at the 10 a.m. Thursday event will include Thomasville resident Dr. Phillip Watt, former DNR chairman, and DNR Commissioner Mark Williams.

The project began in 2014, with a conversation between Watt and then-Commission Chairman Wiley Grady. Watt, a member of the DNR board, was aware of available grant funds for shooting range construction and thought Thomas County would be a good location.

An intergovernmental agreement for the project was approved by DNR and county commissioners was approved in November 2016.

The facility includes a pistol range, a rifle range, a five-stand shotgun range and trap/skeet ranges, a storage facility and an office/training building.

Jay Knight, Ranges at Oakfield director, said monthly tournaments are planned.

"We will try to hold three different tournaments each month," he said.

Tournaments for rifles, pistols and shotguns — or a combination — are planned.

Knight said activities for youths and adults will coincide with the Nov. 14 opening of the wildbird quail season.

'"It's going to be a large event for us," he said.

Shooting venues available are:

• Rifle range, a 20-person covered pavilion, a 50- and 100-yard range with the advanced Kongsberg target system — one of five ranges in the Unites States with the system. The system gives the range the ability to have virtual tournaments worldwide and provides one of the safest rifle-shooting experiences.

• Pistol range, a 15-person covered pavilion, with a 25-yard range that features more than 30 steel reaction targets, as well as paper targets.

• Five-stand shotgun pavilion, allows bird shooters a real-life experience, with eight automatic throwers that offers an almost unlimited variety of challenges for all shotgun enthusiasts.

• Two trap/skeet fields set up to allow for competition shooting, can host multiple functions on the courses from school competitions to work retreats.

Knight said a static archery course that will also give the competition shooters a place to sharpen their skills is coming soon. It will include a 3-D walking course that allows the archer a realistic look at testing their hunting sills in natural environment."

Operational priorities:

• Teach gun safety on the range and at home

• Provide a comfortable environment for those not familiar with weapons

• Offer an exciting venue for the more experienced shooter

Hours of operation through Oct. 31:

• Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., last customer must be registered by 7 p.m.

• Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., last customer must be registered by 5 p.m.

Nov. 1 through Feb. 29 operational hours:

• Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., last customer must be registered by 5 p.m.

• Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., last customer must be registered by 5 p.m.

Range closing time is 30 minutes before sunset.

Fee schedule:

• Daily non-member rates — $20 per day to use range, rifle and pistol range use at no charge, $8 per round for five-stand, $6 per round for trap/skeet.

Individual membership:

• $300 upfront per year or $30 per month with 12-month commitment, includes no charge to shoot pistol/rifle range, $10 per additional guest per day, $8 per round for five-stand, $6 per round for trap/skeet

For more information, contact Ranges at Oakfield at (229) 236-7264.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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