Jun 21, 2018
Goodwell, Okla. — November 29, 2018 held a special milestone for Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Oklahoma A&M State Regents, Department of Wildlife Officials, staff, faculty, and students gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the Panhandle State Shooting Sports Facility and Range.
The Shooting Sports Facility will be utilized by Panhandle State and the community as well. Local FFA and 4H clubs will have access to the property in order to practice for competitions, and also host some of their own events. The Department of Wildlife will be able to take advantage of the one and only of these facilities in the region to educate the public about safe gun use, responsible hunting practices, and more. The new facility has already attracted many new students to Panhandle State and is anticipated to be a big draw for even more future students.
“This shooting facility is going to change the landscape across the entire panhandle region; it’s going to make this area a destination for not just students, but for visitors for many years to come” Calvin Anthony, Chairman of Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, remarked.
The introduction of a shooting sports facility naturally comes with the introduction of a shooting sports team. Panhandle State is proud to plan on hiring a shooting sports coach in the spring of 2019 that will head archery, rifle, shotgun, and pistol teams as a part of Aggie athletics.
A common goal across the Panhandle State campus is to not only educate about firearms, but also to bring the community together. The new range will be a tool to change the narrative about guns coupled with universities and combat the negative things that are associated with guns. Through example, Panhandle State will be able to practice what safe and responsible gun ownership is truly about.
Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn commented, “this range is going to teach people that this part of our heritage is not something we need to be afraid of or ashamed of. It’s something to be proud of and it can make us all better if we use it right.”
The groundbreaking ceremony began with gratitude for the personnel that are making the shooting range possible, then followed with the announcement that the facility will be titled the “John Groendyke Wildlife Center” after the generous contribution from Chairman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife John Groendyke completed the fundraising for the new building.
“It will do great things for Oklahoma Panhandle State University and it will do a lot of great things to support the hunting, fishing, archery shooting, and all of the outdoor sports that the Wildlife Department and a lot of youth, that are out here today, support,” stated Groendyke. He continued by quoting his father, an alumni of Panhandle State, “there are a lot of things that are impractical, but nothing is impossible; if you make your mind up, you’re going to get it done.”
Attendees of the groundbreaking got to see the range plans and the render of the future Groendyke building before the ground was turned from a line-up of individuals that have supported this project from the beginning. From the State Regents, to the County Commissioner, to the Panhandle Foundation President, to the Department of Wildlife officials, to Panhandle State administrators, all stood side by side to open a new chapter in Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s history.
When the dust settled from the groundbreaking, attendees headed to Guymon for the annual Shooting Sports banquet. Between the auction and raffle, those who attended were able to contribute over $10,000 to support the Shooting Sports Club. Without the community and state-wide support, Panhandle State would not be able to introduce the project of the Shooting Sports Facility.
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