Monthly Sporting Rifle match RATON NM

c ward

Sergeant
Sep 23, 2005
476
18
18
Denver Co.
This should get all the info as of now in one post so here goes , if the other guy’s that have been involved see something that is incorrect or omitted please feel free to add in .



So here is a little history of the match . The match started in 04 when a group of mostly Denver metro area shooters got together , Zak , myself , and at least one more member here being among them , and kicked in money to purchase the material and construct the targets , stands , and position signs .

The match staff have always been volunteers and have payed the same match entry fees as all the shooters did , originally at 25 $ and then after 3 or 4 years 30 $ . Of the match fees 20 $ went to the WC , 5 $ went to cash payback , and when the fee was raised 5 $ went to an operating fund to purchase replacement steel , paint , straps , score sheets , ETC .

The WC provided no funding for the targets or match supply's and the only support provided over the life of the match was after 2 or 3 years a 1 hole shiter was brought over and a hole dug and starting last year most of the time they brought a trailer with 4 portable toilets on them when the last program director saw the number of female shooters attending the match . So for the majority of the match for letting us use the land that is unused otherwise was a couple of rolls of shit paper and a raggedy blue fiberglass hut full of bullet holes . For this they got between 200 ish , during the first couple of years , to between 700 - 1200 $ for every match we shot 8 times a year .



At the end of last year the previous Executive Director retired and a new one was appointed , Josh Adams and also a new Program director also , Ken Mestas . This wasn’t alarming at the time because the turn over rate at WC is huge . So we scheduled our matches as normal last Oct and all was still good as far as we knew .



In Feb we came down for the first match and they had changed all the locks on the gates for the whole facility , while that doesn't sound abnormal on it own they have had the same locks on the gates for the past at least 18 years and pretty much everybody in Raton has the combo . So now we had to pick up the key for the new lock before set up and return it after .



So June comes around and it is one of the months that there was an AR match on Sat morning and the normal SRM match on Sun . So during the week before the match the WC is contacted to see if there are any issues before the 3 hour trip down to set up the match and no problems were communicated . Here is were it should be pointed out that the fire had been burning for almost a months time . So Fri rolls around and the set up for the AR match is complete , as part of set up when we arrived in town and headed to Coal Canyon the WC is contacted before we go out for set up . Now back at the hotel while getting ready for dinner Ken the program director calls and we are informed that the weekends matches are canceled in Coal Canyon because of fire danger but we can pick all our stuff up and move it to the front side and hold the match there .



So for everybody who has seen the set up down there knows how absolutely ridiculous the idea that we could pick up everything and move it in 3 hours of remaining daylight is . Later the next week the match director for RM3G who is local to the area went in and spoke with the WC about the 2 gun match he runs in July and was told that Coal Canyon has been closed to competitive shooting to preserve the land for the hunters with no mention of the fire danger excuse we were given . When asked point blank about the canyon opening again after the fire danger passed the answer was no the canyon was closed permanently .



So when July came around and the supposed new spot was to be looked for the only option given was the field where we shot Magnum Rifle and no other options put forward , and again no one from WC came by and spoke with anyone about what was going on .



So last weekend all of our of our steel was removed from WC and until further notice the SRM matches are over . Speaking with the 2 asst program directors down there it appears this path is being driven by Josh and Ken and it is not only affecting SRM . It has also affected RM3G , the mountain men , and the youth adventure camp . The 2 asst match directors are stand up guys and have always treated us right and were nice to work with . But again conspicuous in their absence Josh and Ken were nowhere to be found .



One of the shooters spoke with Ken about a month ago and the gist of their conversation was he wasn’t a competitive shooter and never will and could not understand what difference the location made , They are trying to push all the shooters back on to the square ranges and cater to the hunters even though there are not any matches , or ever have been any matches that compete with hunting season because the whole WC is closed to nothing but hunters for the whole season . This is the regime change and FUDD politics at its finest because if it was about money the would not have just chased off about 40ish K worth of income just between RM3G and the SRM matches .
 

c ward

Sergeant
Sep 23, 2005
476
18
18
Denver Co.
The mountain men were there 40 years from what I've heard and to be fair led to some of their own demise . They were further up the road past where we shot .

RM3G started out as the last SOF 3gun match in 01 and took 02 off and was back as RM3G in 03 which included 2 major 3 gun matches which were on the front side and the 2gun match they started 3?? years ago that was run in Coal Canyon .

Not sure about adventure camp other than they had things on both sides and think they have been there at least as long as SRM .
 
Apr 9, 2006
123
18
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Littleton, Colorado
Ron Schmeits, the Chairman of the Whittington Center Board was made aware of Coal Canyon/SRM and RM3G situation in a long conversation with someone on our side today. Apparently Ron was mostly unaware of of what has been going on and quite disturbed by it. More info on this to follow - stay tuned.

Now would be a really good time to turn up the pressure on Ron and the rest of the NRAWC board with letters. Additional letters to Josh Adams will not help us. Copies of your letters (or separate letters) to industry sponsors or higher ups at the NRA would be useful as well.

Lots of good info above in this thread about what to include in letters, but here are couple of other thoughts:

Closing Coal Canyon to competitive shooting effectively kills RM3G, Sporting Rifle, Nightforce 2-Gun and He-Man Nationals. The so called "viable alternate venue" for these events is nothing but a disingenuous ploy by Josh Adams to dodge responsibility for the cancellation of these matches. Coal Canyon is a unique venue that can not be replaced by the alternate site.

These matches bring in an enormous number of shooting enthusiasts to the Whittington Center that would otherwise probably never set foot on the property. These newer shooting sports are growing and bringing new people that the traditional sports can't begin to match. In addition to bringing thousands of dollars in direct revenues to the WC, the participants in these sports are spending lots of money on both equipment and supplies from many of the Whittington Center's biggest sponsors as well as local Raton businesses.

Hundreds of people who would have included the Whittington Center in their competitive shooting plans going forward have been lost in favor of three (3) $10,000 bull elk hunts in Coal Canyon per year. High end hunts like these are available all over the Rocky Mountain region while venues for matches like the Sporting Rifle match are exceedingly rare.

Any personal, first hand experience you have in dealing with Ken or other staff who have been rude, dishonest otherwise unprofessional would be worth mentioning.
 

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stevenc23

Full Member
Oct 21, 2013
709
34
28
Here is the email they sent me in June which contradicts what they are saying now on their Facebook page:

Note "will remain closed to all competitive shooting for the foreseeable future, however, hunting activities.....will continue"




On Jun 12, 2018, at 9:36 AM, Mestas, Kenneth <KMestas@nrawc.org> wrote:​
Steve, sorry for the confusion regarding the Coal Canyon closure. In answer to your questions there were several contributing factors involved with Coal Canyon closure, fire danger being the biggest and most immediate concern. Coal Canyon will remain closed to all competitive shooting for the foreseeable future, however, hunting activities and the Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous (with restrictions) will continue. We feel we have offered a viable alternative to the Sporting Rifle Match in the offering of our ELR South Flats area. I hope I have addressed all of your concerns, Thank you​
Ken Mestas
NRAWC Program Director
575-445-3615
575-770-8302
From: Steve C​
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2018 2:34 PM​
To: Mestas, Kenneth <KMestas@nrawc.org>​
Cc: Adams, Josh <JAdams@nrawc.org>​
Subject: Re: NRA Whittington Center - Sporting Rifle Match Cancellations​
Hi Ken,​
Thanks for your response.​
I am a little confused as are many others regarding the closure of Coal Canyon.​
Is the closure of Coal Canyon due to fire danger and if so will it open up again when the fire danger subsides?​
Is Coal Canyon closed for all activities including hunting?​
In the meantime I hope a viable solution can be found as the Sporting Rifle Match is one of the longest running and most appreciated matches in the region.​
Thanks,​
Steve​
 
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Apr 9, 2006
123
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Littleton, Colorado
John Sternberg, a long time friend, competitive shooter and 2A advocate has followed up his extended conversation yesterday with Ron Schmeits, Chairman of the WC BOD with a letter. He has asked me to post it here and to encourage members to follow up with letters of their own to the BOD. Mine will be going out later today.
 

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MarkCO

Full Member
Dec 21, 2010
671
64
28
Colorado
www.CarbonArms.us
I started the petition. It is addressed to Josh Adams and Ken Mestas. They get regular updates from the petition site as to comments and number of signees. In addition, by the nature of it, it gets shares and a LOT more numbers than people who will take the time to write actual letters and emails. The petition has been successful already in that NRA Directors are seeing it, it forced them to post on their FB page, which was in itself a backpedal, and several influential persons in the firearms industry are seeing it. While there is a WC BOD, the NRA BOD apparently has some oversight. Additionally, many of the large companies sponsor the WC, some of their top sponsored shooters, now seeing the petition, are taking it to their contacts. In essence, it is just a bigger billboard. The personal emails and letter, if you are so inclined, still need to be sent.
 
Likes: nmmi9100
Jul 6, 2010
1,087
44
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34
Denver, CO
John Sternberg, a long time friend, competitive shooter and 2A advocate has followed up his extended conversation yesterday with Ron Schmeits, Chairman of the WC BOD with a letter. He has asked me to post it here and to encourage members to follow up with letters of their own to the BOD. Mine will be going out later today.
Great letter John, I have signed the petition. Please let me know what the best step from here would be.
 

c ward

Sergeant
Sep 23, 2005
476
18
18
Denver Co.
If you have not seen the thread on the WC Facebook page please go look and respond . One of the directors for the youth adventure camp posted up what was done to them and the WC fucked them over hard .
 
Apr 9, 2006
123
18
18
Littleton, Colorado
Good news. The Whittington Center Board of Directors has intervened in the closure of Coal Canyon to competitive shooting. Apparently there were a number of meetings and discussions between the BOD and the WC and the result is that we have been asked to reestablish the matches in Coal Canyon. Several of us will be meeting with Josh Adams in the near future to work out some of the details and to work on getting back to a good relationship with the WC. Mike Kolar will be returning in his role as Match Director. We anticipate that the first SRM Match of 2019 will be in February and it will take a serious effort to get all the steel back to the WC and the course reset. We will be trying to duplicate the prior course per the last range card and expect that we should be able to get pretty close. In cooperation with the WC, we do expect to be implementing some new rules, procedures and physical assets to help mitigate the wildfire risk in Coal Canyon.

The phone calls, emails, letters, web posts and other activities by our supporters here and elsewhere in the competitive shooting community have been extremely effective and have made this return of the Coal Canyon matches a reality. Thank you all.

I anticipate that JJ will be able to fill you in soon regarding how all this affects the natural terrain matches that he runs on the front side of the Whittington Center. I’m really only up to speed on the Coal Canyon matches and particularly SRM.
 

Starbuck

Visualize No Hippies
Sep 2, 2009
277
29
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Lafayette, CO
Spoke to Mike K. yesterday and it looks like the MRM will still be on the calendar for 2019. In July all the MRM targets and stands were removed and stored, assuming the match was gone forever. Mike is going to try to get the three or so 2019 MRMs scheduled on the Saturday before the monthly SRM, whichever month that is, the idea being that MRM turnout should increase because shooters will be headed to Raton anyway...

So all of you folks with 6.5 PRC's, 7mm's, 300's and 338's stay tuned and come to the 2019 MRM's!
 
Feb 24, 2013
237
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Colorado
T
Spoke to Mike K. yesterday and it looks like the MRM will still be on the calendar for 2019. In July all the MRM targets and stands were removed and stored, assuming the match was gone forever. Mike is going to try to get the three or so 2019 MRMs scheduled on the Saturday before the monthly SRM, whichever month that is, the idea being that MRM turnout should increase because shooters will be headed to Raton anyway...

So all of you folks with 6.5 PRC's, 7mm's, 300's and 338's stay tuned and come to the 2019 MRM's!
That would be awesome if it was Saturday morning!
 
Likes: steve123
Jul 6, 2010
1,087
44
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Denver, CO
First off, this is great news! Glad to hear the calls and emails got the attention this deserved and got the match restored.

I'm familiar with the SRM, and hoping to shoot it next year.

Can someone elaborate on the MRM? Based on the calibers mentioned it sounds like an ELR type match? That would be so great, I'm building a 300 PRC that would be great to use to 2k yards.
 

Starbuck

Visualize No Hippies
Sep 2, 2009
277
29
28
Lafayette, CO
First off, this is great news! Glad to hear the calls and emails got the attention this deserved and got the match restored.

I'm familiar with the SRM, and hoping to shoot it next year.

Can someone elaborate on the MRM? Based on the calibers mentioned it sounds like an ELR type match? That would be so great, I'm building a 300 PRC that would be great to use to 2k yards.
Here's the link to the MRM: http://sportingriflematch.com/magnum.php

It's a KD prone match from a single firing line. There were 11 targets from 700 -2100y at the last match in July, not "5 or 6" as stated in the link. Targets were 1-2 MOA diamonds and circles.
 
Likes: verdugo60
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