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Tom Ferguson of the DEDC Community Grant Committee, front left, presents a check for $1,690 to Jason Dennis, commander of American Legion Post 224, at the post's firing range south of Dumas.  The money will help pay for the roofing, seen in the background, that the post recently erected over the firing points of  the range's shooting lanes.  Back row, left to right:  David Rehkopf, Lloyd Johnson, David Garrett, and Dan Malone of Post 224. 

Tom Ferguson representing the Dumas Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) Community Grant Committee presented a Community Grant check for $1,609 to Jason Dennis of American Legion Post 224 Thursday at the post's shooting range south of Dumas off US 287/87.  The money will go to pay for roofing that post members have erected over the firing points of the shooting lanes to provide protection from the sun to members of the post, law enforcement, 4-H, and others using the range for recreational shooting, target practice, siting weapons, and shooting tests for a license to carry permit (LTC), according to David Garrett, adjutant of the post.

Built by post members on land they purchased, the range has up to 50 shooting lanes  and can accommodate a wide variety of weapons:  pistols and rifles up to 50 caliber, cross bows, bows and arrows, and shotguns.  Rifle shooters can fire at targets up to 250 yards away.  It is the only public shooting range in Moore County.  Without it, Garrett says,  Moore County residents would have to travel to Amarillo or beyond to have a safe place for shooting sports or to qualify for an LTC.  Hunters would have to travel elsewhere to site their weapons before hunting season.

The range is open to the public by appointment during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 pm until dusk.  Members of law enforcement, 4-H, and Scouting shoot for free.  All others pay $10.63 per day.  Proceeds from the range go to fund post activities.  According to Dennis, annual memberships are available for $80 for an individual or $160 for a family.  He says 560 people used the range last year, and so far this year 363.  Except for a brief period of closure at the beginning of the COVID crisis, the range, deemed an essential business by the Governor of Texas, has remained open.

Garrett says post members intend to continue to expand and improve the range.  At some point in the future, he adds, they would like to build an indoor range.

The DEDC awards Community Grants to local non-profit organizations  to help complete projects that improve the quality of life for Moore County residents, according to Grace Pierson of the DEDC.  The grants are 50-50 matching grants.  The organization has to complete the project and then the DEDC reimburses half the cost.

The DEDC has awarded more than $400 million in Community Grants since the program's inception in 2002.  Among the organizations receiving grants have been the Moore County YMCA, Dumas Little League, Storybridge, and others.  The American Legion received a $6,000 grant in 2018 for concrete work at the shooting range.  

Those wishing to use the range should contact American Legion Post 224 through Facebook or call 806-421-1577.

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