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Banquet Sees Great Support

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 10/03/2017 Panhandle State’s first Shooting Sports Banquet was September 28 at Hunny’s in Guymon. Pictured here Mike Gaitlin (right) auctions off a piece of artwork by Bryon Test. The banquet saw both a live auction as well as a raffle to raise support for scholarships and equipment. —Photo by Danae MoorePanhandle State’s first Shooting Sports Banquet was September 28 at Hunny’s in Guymon. Pictured here Mike Gaitlin (right) auctions off a piece of artwork by Bryon Test. The banquet saw both a live auction as well as a raffle to raise support for scholarships and equipment. —Photo by Danae Moore

Goodwell, Okla. — It was a full house at Hunny’s in Guymon, Okla. on Thursday night, September 28 for the first-ever Shooting Sports Banquet. The event saw a number of area supporters as well as Oklahoma Panhandle State University faculty, staff, students, and alumni join together to raise support and awareness for the shooting facility project.

University President Dr. Tim Faltyn addressed the attendees welcoming and thanking everyone for their backing. He also shared how the idea for the facility came about starting with a call at 4:30 a.m. one morning. It was clear the program was a perfect fit for the culture and tradition of the region and a great opportunity to build a stronger future for the University. The process started in August of 2016 with an application for a grant to plan, perform an environmental assessment and construct a shooting facility.

Dr. Faltyn welcomed special guest Lance Meek, Senior Information and Educational Specialist, of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and thanked him for his contributions to the project. President Faltyn also thanked John Groendyke and Bill Brewster for their support for the project.

Other special guests for the evening included Panhandle State Alumni Jessica Bond of The Outsiders TV and Mark and his wife Lacy Syzemore of Red Dirt Outfitters. Both Bond and the Syzemore’s are involved in the outdoor industry and support the mission of Panhandle State in the promotion of firearm safety and wildlife education.

Bond spoke to the crowd sharing her excitement regarding the opportunities the facility will offer at her alma mater. She added that “this University has supported me and given me the tools I needed to get to where I am at today and I am excited to invest in a university that invested so much in me.”

The banquet included both a live auction and a raffle with items ranging from shotguns and rifles, to ammunition, artwork, and hunts guided by Red Dirt Outfitters among numerous other items. The high selling auction item was a Custom Osage Orange longbow and arrows handmade by Ben Test selling for $775.

The money raised at the auction will be split evenly between scholarships for the students and equipment for the facility.

Panhandle State student Hannah Hammack is the current president of the Shooting Sports Club. Hammack said, “It was an honor to be a part of the first Panhandle State Shooting Sports Banquet. As an archer, shooting from the age of five, I love the enthusiasm and support of the community at such a special event. I am so excited for the new facility to be built and to have the ability to shoot at the collegiate level. As Panhandle Shooting Sports club president, I look forward to what this brings us in the future.”

Designed to house wildlife and gun/archery related educational programs, the shooting sports facility will be open to the public. From summer youth camps to community hunter and firearms training as well as hunter safety programs, the site will play host to each event and more including 4-H, FFA, and corporate events.

The shooting sports facility is set for location on University property and it is being built with grants through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation, and other wildlife and gun related organizations as well as private and in-kind donations. Facility plans include: trap, skeet, and five stand fields; 3-D archery range and sporting clay field; outdoor pistol ranges with covered shooting areas as well as outdoor rifle ranges including covered shooting areas; restrooms, parking, and a pavilion; and a wildlife education center.

Special thanks to Hunny’s for the delicious meal, Mike and Becky Gaitlin of Gaitlin Auctions for running the live auction, and Mike Fuller for the live entertainment. The evening is expected to be an annual event.

We Are Panhandle We Are Panhandle!

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