In Craig, summer doesn’t just mean going to the pool, hitting the links at the golf course or going fly-fishing on a long weekend. Summer also means it’s shooting season.
Several groups gather at the Craig Trap Club and the Cedar Mountain Range Sportsman Club to test either their speed or accuracy — sometimes both — with various firearms. All these groups share a passion for having fun shooting guns.
One such group is the International Defensive Pistol Association, which is back in Craig for the first time in nearly 10 years. Shooters of varying skill and experience levels go to the Cedar Mountain Range on Fridays and shoot their way around scenarios that have been set up to imitate real-life danger situations.
“We create different scenarios, designed to be like something you might see in the real world, where you might have to protect yourself or your loved ones,” said Mike Beldon, one of the facilitators for the group. Beldon was a part of the Craig IDPA in its last iteration and now has more time on his hands to start it back up, he said.
The dozen or so members practice accuracy shooting at multiple targets from around barriers and moving through sequences. They are there for a variety of reasons, but the common thread is they enjoy shooting.
“I initially just came to learn and watch,” said Becky Plummer. “But I don’t get to shoot my pistol as much as I would like, and it’s good to improve with your gun so you can hit what you’re shooting for.”
Don McLean has shot with many members of the IDPA group for years and goes to practice there because he enjoys the mental aspect necessary to do well.
“It makes you think,” McLean said. “It’s fun and these guys are all my buddies. If something was to happen to you in real life, you’ll be that much more prepared for it. We do this so you don’t make silly mistakes.”
Beldon wanted to get defensive pistol going again for similar reasons.
“This has the fun of shooting to begin with,” he said. “And then you’ve got the thrill in learning and building the skill, with the camaraderie out here. Everybody wants to see you shoot well.”
Defensive pistol is far from the only shooting available in Craig. There is .22 bullseye pistol, 4-H rifles and cowboy action shooting, which also deals in scenarios — but with more of an Old West feel to them.
“There are a lot of people who participate because shooting is just so much fun,” Beldon said. “We’re always happy to have somebody new come out, too. Anybody who’s interested, even if they haven’t shot before, can come learn safely and slowly.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org