“Our committee is a great group of 18 volunteers working to raise money to help other volunteers make dreams reality, keeping the tradition of outdoor sports alive for generations to come,” said Lori Goldade, the secretary/treasurer of the GPO. “None of us get paid for what we do. We have no overhead costs. All of what we raise goes directly to grassroot projects, which are, for the most part, projects run by volunteers.”
The GPO is a former Friends of NRA committee, Goldade said, but a policy change in how the local committee could spend the money raised concern. Essentially, the NRA altered its process so monies raised could only be spent directly through an NRA marketplace.
“This policy cut out all of our local businesses who are always willing to help us throughout the year and donate to our banquet.” Goldade said.
As a result, after nine years of being affiliated with the NRA, the group decided to break off on its own in an effort to give back not only to local businesses but also to local outdoors-related groups.
“We just found going on our own was best for us,” Goldade said. “It is a lot more work, but our local community gets to reap all of the benefits.”
Part of that giving is through the annual grant process that begins each spring after the GPO hosts its annual fundraising banquet in February.
“We’ve received a grant from the GPO for the last seven years, and I think it’s important to remember that the money stays local,” said Jodi Kallas from Leola, speaking on behalf of McPherson County 4-H Shooting Sports. “All the money they give stays in South Dakota instead of going out of state.”
Through the GPO grant process, the McPherson County 4-H Shooting Sports received a $4,000 grant this year to enhance the local trap range, located 8 miles north of Leola.
“Two skeet houses are completed, and the trap house will be completed this Thursday,” Kallas said.
The Marshall County Sportsman’s Club, located 9 miles south of Britton on state Highway 27, received two grants this year, according to Britton resident Gary Wickre. The club received a $4,000 award to install a target-retrieval system at its indoor gun range and a $600 grant for a bow press.
“The GPO has helped us a lot over the years to get our range going,” Wickre said. “That retrieval system will make the range that much safer and enjoyable because now we won’t have to walk down and hang our targets. The bow press is nice because both youth and adults can make minor adjustments or repair to their bows right there on the spot.”
Kallas and Wickre emphasized the impact the GPO grants have had on youth programs at their respective ranges.
“They’ve given us money for clay pigeons and shells so that each of the kids can shoot a round of trap for free, basically, each week throughout the summer,” Wickre said. “A lot of what they do is for the kids, but we all benefit.”
As an example, the Marshall County Sportsman’s Club/4-H Shooting Sports also received a $4,000 grant, and the Marshall County Sharp Shooters BB Gun group was awarded $1,150.
“The biggest benefit is that the money ultimately helps the kids of our community,” Kallas said. “For the kids’ sake, it gives them positive things to do. It also cuts down on spending for parents, so they don’t always have to worry about money for shells or targets.”
For more information on the Great Plains Outdoorsmen, contact Lori Goldade at 605-380-7921.
2013 grants awarded
1. Richmond Lake Association