Local NRA Friends help Lemoore Recreation Department open spiffy new air rifle range

By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Lemoore High School's Jack Wolstenholme takes aim at the city's new air rifle range Monday night.
Lemoore High School's Jack Wolstenholme takes aim at the city's new air rifle range Monday night.

Thanks to the National Rifle Association, the Lemoore Recreation Department now has an indoor air rifle range. The new rifle range is located at the city’s Cinnamon Recreation Complex in a site at the rear of the complex. Local recreation officials and enthusiasts held an official grand opening on Monday night.

Shooting enthusiasts, high school members of the Lemoore NJROTC unit as well as their commanders, and others were on hand as former NJROTC Captain and founder Harry Zinser gave a short introduction to the program. Zinser was one of the founders of the air rifle team at Lemoore High School and said he hopes the program encourages safety practices among young people as well as benefit the local high school.

Tyson Pereira takes aim Monday night.
Tyson Pereira takes aim Monday night.

“I think it could lead to helping out the shooting program at the high school,” said the former Navy captain and helicopter pilot. “This is an Olympic sport and it was requested by Lemoore citizens as the result of a questionnaire. I think it teaches discipline to kids, shooting techniques and above all responsibility, and safe handling of firearms,” he said. “Those are all good reasons to do this and I hope our goal would be that some of these kids would go to the high school and be part of the shooting program there. If not they’ll just go into their communities as responsible citizens.”

Paul Rodarmel, the local chairman of the Friends of the NRA out of Hanford, was also on hand as the new rifle range opened. It was his group that helped the city apply for and earn a grant. He added that NRA chapters from throughout California, including many in the Central Valley, raise money to benefit local safety programs.

“We put all our money together into the central California grant system which this year we’ve raised over $2 million dollars with just about a million dollars just in central California to give back to programs such as the Lemoore Recreation Department.” Rodarmel said.

Rodarmel said the Lemoore program got a $10,000 grant and says if the program continues could receive additional funds for expansion.

Lt. Cmdr. John Wolstenholme was also on hand. The Lemoore High NJROTC instructor hopes to take advantage of the new rifle range for his unit’s air rifle team. At some point he thinks the shooting range will host various tournaments and competitions. He will also assist Zinser as the program gets going.

“I’m going to be assisting Capt. Zinser whenever he needs help and I’m also going to provide the safety training alongside him in our NJROTC classrooms. I will also act as a range master for the city of Lemoore when I do have time, along with some other instructors, said Wolstenholme.

“A lot of our kids want to come shooting here because it’s a really nice facility and it’s brand new,” he added.

Recreation officials say a pilot program for 7th and 8th graders will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Cinnamon Complex. High school and adult opportunities will be available in the coming months.  Visit the department’s website at www.lemoore.com for more information. Students may register for safety training and classes at 435 C Street. For more information call 924-6767. All students must attend safety training before participating in classes.

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