by Scott DCamp
After years of sharing space with the Thief River Rifle Club for its indoor archery range, the Thief River Falls Archery Club now has a place of its own. The grand opening of the Thief River Falls Archery Club’s Indoor Archery Range was held Sunday, Sept. 11.
The day’s events included a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Thief River Falls Kiwanis Club, a SAFE (Students And Families Experience) Archery Game, and a formal dedication.
Club President Brian Malone said the Archery Club had talked about building for many years. The discussion grew a little more serious when Pennington County acquired the Old Arena 10 years ago.
The Archery Club, which was formed in 1951, had called the Old Arena its indoor home since the 1970s, but the uncertainty of staying in a building with a year-to-year lease led club leaders to look at other options.
“Finally, in 2012, we decided that we had to start something,” Malone said during Sunday’s dedication. “We started by building the shell to this building in 2012. We had it up for the fair in July.”
Malone said the Pennington County Fair Board provided the land for the building under the condition that it have use of the building during the month of July each year. The Archery Club has sole use of the building the other 11 months of the year.
Interior concrete was poured in 2015 and the rest of the interior was finished this year after the club took out a $75,000 loan in October 2015.
“We split it up into three phases,” Malone said. “The first phase was the building shell, the second phase was getting the concrete poured was completed last year and phase three was completed this year.”
“This will be a good space for our growing membership,” Malone said, adding that the club’s membership has grown from 100 to over 140 in the last couple years.
In addition to the loan, the new Archery Club was made possible through a pair of $10,000 donations from the Dondelinger Foundation and Beito Foundation. The club also holds a successful raffle each year and club members have hung flags for the city as a fundraiser, bringing in $800.
The new building features a 40-foot-wide by 76-foot-deep shooting range, separate men’s and women’s restrooms, an office, meeting room and setup area, and a boiler room.
The new building will be home to the Archery Club’s indoor shooting leagues held from January through April each year. the club will also host 4-H club shoots, Little Brothers and Little Sister Program shoots, Boy Scout events and hopefully some indoor tournaments.