At 75 years old, the Cedaredge Rod and Gun Club is a vital, active, and growing organization in Surface Creek Valley.
Since last March, the club has added 50 new members, those attending the club's 75th annual meeting at the Stolte Shed on Jan. 16 were told.
A club official explained further for the Delta County Independent that the organization has 295 active members now.
In addition to that, new members are being attracted to the club's activities through National Rifle Association classes organized and conducted by club board member Chuck Church.
Board president Doug Scarlett thanked Chuck and his wife in recognition of their efforts on behalf of the club. Funds raised by the NRA class programs are donated to the club, Scarlett said. Upcoming classes will include the popular NRA "Refuse to be a Victim" training.
There is more forward thinking and action helping to drive the club's membership resurgence. The board of directors has filed for a federal 501(c)3 tax exempt status. If approved as expected, the nonprofit designation by IRS will qualify club donors to deduct their contributions from their taxable income. The club will also find new avenues for pursuing grants for its ongoing programs of firearms safety and proficiency, youth education and firearms sporting use.
Thanks to two generous private donations, Scarlett told the meeting attendees, the club wants to form a committee to select candidates for receiving an annual scholarship or scholarships.
The club will continue its firearms safety and youth shooter outreach programs with the annual Senior Shoot for graduating CHS seniors and the FFA shoot.
The club members are planning to make some range safety improvements to its facility.
Scarlett said he was asked why the organization is called the "rod and gun club." He explained that in former years, club members used to backpack carry containers filled with fingerling fish from the Cedaredge hatchery into the lakes on Grand Mesa for stocking. One of the club's lifetime members at the meeting, Pat Marah, was recognized for having been part of that club effort.
Preparing and serving the evening's dinner of barbecue brisket with seasoned beans, cheesy potatoes and dessert were members of the Cedaredge High School Future Farmers of America chapter. They were Austin Meyers, Tyler Head, Lexee Wilson and Selbi Shenold.
Retiring gun club board members were Jeff Houghton, Jason Purvis and Ray Hanson.
Newly elected members to the club board are Jerry Claussen, Dave Hanson and John Shriver who join continuing members Doug Scarlett, Jan Quick, Todd Fairchild, Chuck Church, Ken Miller, Dennis Palmer and Andy Kinzer.