As organizations and businesses struggle to deal with the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic, many in this region are still dealing with the effects of the 2017 wildfires. The South Cariboo Sportsmen Association (SCSA) is one such organization, as it continues to address rebuilding one of the club’s facilities that was destroyed in the Elephant Hill wildfire.
“Our pistol and rifle ranges buildings were both destroyed,” says Wayne Wawreniuk, the SCSA’s vice president. Last year the club was able to rebuild the pistol range building, with club funds and volunteer help. Now they have organized a raffle, proceeds from which will help them rebuild the rifle range.
“It was all concrete tables and a concrete floor, which have cracked,” says Wawreniuk, who has a background in renovation and construction. “It’s going to cost between $17,000 and $20,000 to rebuild it, and the membership doesn’t generate that kind of revenue. So I came up with the idea of a raffle of 2,000 tickets at $10 each, which would raise the required funds.”
The BC Gaming-approved raffle launches on June 26 with four prizes, three of which are firearms that were substantially discounted by Canadian Tire. First prize is a Sako A7 Roughtech 30-06 Bolt-Action rifle worth more than $2,300, with second prize a Benelli Nova Max 12-Gauge Pump-Action shotgun and third prize a Traditions Vortek StrikerFire .50 calibre black powder rifle, both worth almost $1,000. Fourth prize is a $250 gift certificate from Eagle Industries, a full service gun store in Vernon.
“We were so fortunate to have Canadian Tire put together this really attractive package to promote our club and allow us to purchase the prizes,” says Wawreniuk. “It really helps our cause.”
Tickets will be available at several local locations, including Home Hardware, Quality Glass, the HUB, NGN Sales and Service, Fields, and Interior Savings Insurance in Ashcroft, as well as at the Horse Barn, Surplus Herby’s, and Powderkeg Shooters Supply in Kamloops. Members of the SCSA will also be selling tickets at Safety Mart in Ashcroft, and at the Cache Creek and Ashcroft post offices, throughout the summer.
The prizes can only be awarded to people who have a current and valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) or Restricted PAL, meaning that if someone without a PAL or RPAL wins, they cannot claim the prize. However, they can purchase tickets in the name of someone they know who does have a PAL or RPAL, who will be able to claim their prize if they have one of the winning tickets. The draw for prizes will take place at the SCSA clubhouse near the Campbell Hill airstrip south of Cache Creek on Dec. 15, 2020.
Wawreniuk says the association has about 250 members, some 200 of whom are from the local area. “But we have members from as far away as Kamloops and the Lower Mainland. Hunting season starts in September, and people who hunt north of Clinton will say ‘Let’s stop in at Cache Creek to sight in our rifles.’ The majority of the members in this area are hunters or re-loaders, who re-load and build their own ammunition. When they want to try out a new recipe for accuracy, they bring their ammunition to the range and test it on the targets.”
The rifle range at the site is used for target shooting out to more than 300 yards, and Wawreniuk says that the new facility will be an enclosed building with individual shooting stations. It will also extend the shooting season, come rain or snow.
Another thing that attracts people to the SCSA’s facility is that they offer trap-shooting. “We draw people from Kamloops, as it’s not offered there. We have trap-shooting for members and guests every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse. We’ve had newbies show up to try it out, and then they come back with a new shotgun.
“It’s a really fun sport, and you don’t need a PAL to try it out. You can just come up to the range, and try it out under the supervision of a PAL holder.” He notes that under-18s are welcome, but must be parent-supervised by a parent who holds a PAL.
“We’re trying to promote the sport, so any interested person just has to contact one of the club executives and they can arrange to meet them at the club facilities.We’re currently considering a youth shooting weekend which will include pistol, rifle, black powder, shotgun, and archery directors, as well as lunch, for a small fee. If anyone is interested in any of these, get hold of the club; volunteers are happy to set something up.”
Wawreniuk says that the rifle range is the last of the facilities destroyed in 2017 that needs to be rebuilt. “However, the success of this raffle will allow us to do future raffles to raise funds for road and utilities improvements. The clubhouse has electricity, but the pistol and rifle ranges, which are on a lower level, don’t. We’re putting together a bucket list of upgrades and improvements.”