A local man named Kurt Bowker, of Moriarty, successfully negotiated a contract for the purchase of Founders Ranch in Edgewood. The ranch as been in operation since 2004 and served as “a recreational cornerstone of the East Mountains community.” It was originally constructed as the home of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) and annually hosted its End of Trails event, a World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting, which brought participants from various states and around the world to Edgewood. The ranch has 17 gun ranges already in place.
Founder’s Ranch, LLC, announced earlier this year that they would be closed as of April 1, but that has been forestalled by the impending sale.
According to a press release, part of the purchase negotiations include halting the process of shutting down the Founder’s Ranch outdoor range venue and keeping the ranch open for regular activities.
The ranch is currently open to members. Bowker said they are currently open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from sun up to sun down. In addition, the regular clay shooting ranges are still open for the month of April. He said the ranch is following covid-safe protocols by providing hand washing stations, regularly cleaning, requiring physical distancing, for family units to shoot as a group and mask are required inside the office.
“Founder’s Ranch is a huge asset to the East Mountains community, and we’re unwilling to see it lost,” said Bowker, who grew up in Edgewood and is currently raising his own family near Moriarty.
Going forward, Bowker said, his group intends to keep the Founder’s Ranch name and maintain the recreational shooting venue, possibly adding a schedule of gun safety and training classes. “Our plan is to continue the legacy of Founder’s Ranch.”
Bowker said the ranch has always had “a great track record for safety” and as a paramedic he as seen “lots of gun safety issues.” He said he intends to maintain that as the ranch moves forward into this next phase. One of the ways he will ensure safety at the range is by having his Range Officers certified with both the NRA gun safety certification and at least one Range Officer who is either an EMT or has the certification. He said at traditional and bigger ranges it is standard protocol to have Range Officers wearing a red vest and having a basic first aide kit on their person. He plans to implement this into the ranch as a extra safety measure.
Bowker said there are already a dozen run ranges set up at Founder’s Ranch and most of them are set-up “at pistol range which is about 50 yards.” He said there are also two ranges on the property that are set-up for rifle range at 100 yards. He said in the near future the ranch will be working with the county to make sure the guidelines of the grandfathered special permit are being followed and to help clarify some of the language regarding shooting activity.
Some of the plans Bowker envisions for the ranch include a longer shooting range area “at 200 yards at least because its a popular range for hunting;” an archery range; a knife, tomahawk, axe throwing range; a bb gun, pellet gun and sling shot range aimed at kids aged 12 and under, and a new category of membership that would allow felons to become members for the first time in the history of the ranch.
Bowker said they will also have “open membership,” which will allow household in the community to pay to be a member and reap the benefits of the ranch. Because the ranch is considered a private facility the special use permit requires a membership. There will be two types of household memberships available. Both will cost $100 and include two adults and up to four children. Felons can now pay for a limited household membership for the same price and for the same size household which would give them access to all the non-lethal weapons ranges.
In addition to the ranges, the ranch also offers several safety programs including the First Shot Program which is sponsored by the National Rifle Association, New Mexico Fish and Wildlife and the National Clayshooting Foundation. The classes are all ages and free. Members do not need to own a fire arm to participate. The classes are geared towards gun safety and learning how to properly shoot a fire arm. Shot guns and rim fire guns are provided by NM Fish and Wildlife and the ammo is provided by the NRA and NCF.
He said the ranch is currently open three days a week and they plan to eventually be open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk. Other things coming soon are a new website that will have online scheduling capability. For more information call 505-934-2533 or find them on Facebook and send them a message via messenger.
“Business always has inherent risks,” Bowker said, adding, “With things starting to relax with the pandemic we thought it was a good time to do it.”