National Shooting Sports Month “All Successful” At Deep River
by Warren Berg
“The whole month and the events here, they were just all successful,” says Ed Strickland, Shooting Pavilion Manager and Event Coordinator for Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford, North Carolina, of last year’s inaugural National Shooting Sports Month. “We couldn’t ask for any more than that—and that’s our goal again this year, to try and make it successful and live the mission to bring #LetsGoShooting to the forefront in this area.”
While there are other ranges nearby, Strickland attributes Deep River’s success in part to its involvement with NSSF. “We’re diligent in promoting the principles that the NSSF puts forth,” he says.
Events That Drive Participation
No doubt, a lot of the range’s success is also attributable to Strickland’s southern hospitality and the events he plans. Those events for National Shooting Sports Month last year included everything from a charity shoot that raised almost $36,000 for the Kay Yaw Cancer Fund to a “Shooter Social.” Of the latter he said, “It’s not a competition, it’s not about the score, it’s just simply what the name represents—it’s a social event where we get shotgun shooters in for the clays course,” says Strickland, adding that the charity shoot saw 32 teams of five shooters participate.
Other NSSM events included First Shots programs for handgun and shotgun, a registered Sporting Clays shoot and a ladies’ day with reduced pricing.
First Shots and Radio Scored Big
To get the word out, Deep River uses a lot of radio advertising. Though he advertises on at least six stations, he focused National Shooting Sports Month spots on two targeted stations where he thought he’d get the best representation.
“We have a very strong social media platform,” he adds. “Between Facebook and Instagram, there was a lot of promotion put through them as well.”
In addition to advertising, Strickland believes the biggest thing he can do to promote shooting is to get folks to the range, talk with them and give them an opportunity to understand more about the sport.
“We’re a recreational facility and trying to get people to understand and see what good can be done and how much fun can be had is a part. The First Shots events are always good. We may not have big numbers, but they’re quality numbers.”
Ultimately, Strickland was happy with the results of all the National Shooting Sports Month efforts.
“We always wished it would be more, considering what we had to work with in the time frame,” he said. “This coming year we’re excited because we’ve got six months to really put together good programs and make sure that we do have the advertising out. We’ll make sure we get the spots out and draw attention to it. That’s our goal for this coming year, to really capitalize on the efforts for the #LetsGoShooting month.”
Planning Starts Now
Soon, Strickland will put pen to paper and plan events for 2018’s National Shooting Sports Month. He insists the range is going to focus on recruiting female and young shooters but added that new activities were also being considered.
“We hold IDPA matches here. We’re probably going to try and incorporate that, as we didn’t last year.” Deep River hosts IDPA matches the fourth Saturday of each month, and tying August’s match in with National Shooting Sports Month will give him more handgun event opportunities.
“One of the biggest things we’ll do is we’ll run more radio spots,” he says. One of the stations Deep River recently started advertising with is geared toward the Millennial generation, and Strickland hopes it will pull in young shooters. “We’ve had a couple of their radio personalities out and have taken them around. That’s a demographic we really feel like we can address in August. Through these promotions, we’ll probably hold some giveaways with our ‘Try it Out’ package and things of that nature throughout that month.”
Overall, Strickland is very optimistic about the potential of National Shooting Sports Month. “It just gives us an opportunity to promote shooting sports, and it’s what we do every day. I mean, that’s what we’re here for,” he says.
“We want younger people. We’re always trying to figure out how we can involve new shooters, young shooters, different demographics, different ethnicities, everybody. All of our whole existence is to try and figure out how to enhance our effort there.”
Retailers and Ranges—Add Your Events to the National Shooting Sports Month Calendar
National Shooting Sports Month is all about getting people involved in the shooting sports and providing ways to better connect with the ranges and firearms retail stores in their communities. One of the best ways to do that during the month of August is to post your events and promotions here on shootingsportsmonth.org. All events you list there will be cross-positioned on our StepOutside.org and LetsGoShooting.org sites, which are designed specifically for consumer viewing and use. Bonus!—List your events here and we’ll send you a supply of National Shooting Sports hats, T-shirts and other materials to help boost your promotions throughout the month.
About the Author
Warren Berg is a 25-year veteran of the shooting, hunting and outdoors industry. He has penned hundreds of articles under many names for American Rifleman and Field & Stream, and has produced award-winning television programs on firearms-related subject matter.