Bob Wise, Governor
WVU Rifle Club Seeks Support at West Virginia 's Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days September 27-28 at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park
Morgantown , WV -- The newly formed West Virginia University Rifle Club will be conducting its first fund raising activity this weekend. Club members will be at the West Virginia Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park in Lewis County both Saturday and Sunday, September 27-28. The Celebration is sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation.
“Having an exhibit and fund raiser at the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration is a natural for us,” said Rifle Club President, Nicole Allaire. “The WVU Rifle Team has conducted seminars and a fund raising prize shoot at past West Virginia NHFD Celebrations and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has always been very supportive of the Rifle Team.
“We have two goals for the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration,” Allaire continued. “First, we want to let the shooting and hunting community know that we will be representing West Virginia University in rifle competition this season, even though the athletic department no longer sponsors an NCAA rifle team. Second, we need to raise funds to cover travel, entry fees and ammunition expenses for the club's competition schedule.”
To raise funds the club will sell “Support Memberships” for $10 each. As the name indicates, support members demonstrate their support for the WVU Rifle Club by donating funds. They will also receive e-mail updates on club activities.
The WVU Rifle Club will also be soliciting donations. Embroidered golf towels, hats, travel bags and jackets will be given for $100, $200, $500 and $1,000 donation levels. The WVU Rifle Club will have an exhibit table and will display competition shooting equipment. Club members will be on hand to answer questions about competition shooting and share their experiences. Firearms safety literature for children will be available.
The WVU Rifle Club was formed this fall by former members of the WVU Rifle Team and just received recognition from West Virginia University 's Office of Student Organization Services as an official WVU Club.
The student-athletes involved in forming the new club were members of the 2002-03 WVU Rifle Team that finished third in smallbore at last year's NCAA National Championships. The WVU Athletic Department dropped the varsity Rifle Team last April, leaving the student-athletes with few options. Most returned to campus and forming a club is a way for them to continue participation in competition rifle.
Club teams may compete in all collegiate rifle competitions up to and including the NCAA qualifying matches, although their scores aren't used for selection to the NCAA Championship which is restricted to teams sanctioned by their university as NCAA teams. There is even a National Collegiate Club Championship conducted by NRA for non-NCAA teams, although being able to participate is little consolation for WVU shooters.
Club vice-president Eric Hensil, a Jane Lew native, says, “the former Rifle Team members started this club because of our love for the sport of rifle and a desire to continue the shooting tradition at WVU which has been a source of pride to so many people in the state. Obviously, we would love to see the Rifle Team reinstated at WVU, but the athletic department has stated an endowment of at least $3.5 million would be required to do so.”
For now, the WVU Rifle Club is the only option available. Active membership in the WVU Rifle Club is limited to current WVU students who are former members of the WVU rifle team. This is not the choice of club members, but because use of the WVU rifle range is restricted by the athletic department for liability reasons.
The West Virginia Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day will include more than 100 vendors/exhibitors, shotgun, handgun, black powder and archery demonstrations, fishing and sport dog exhibitions, plus many more activities. Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park can be reached by taking the Interstate 79 Exit 91 at Roanoke .
Additional information and directions can be obtained at www.wvdnr.gov .
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