Eight Communities Competing For $10 Million Wyoming Shooting Complex

There are eight communities vying to be the home of a $10 million world-class shooting complex in Wyoming. Locations include: Campbell County, Natrona County, Park County, Cheyenne, Fremont County, Hot Springs County, Uinta County and Guernsey.

Mark Heinz

March 12, 20246 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Ground could be broken as soon as summer 2025 on a world-class Wyoming state shooting complex, and at least eight communities are jockeying to be chosen to be its home.

The Wyoming Shooting Complex Task Force put out a call for letters of interest, and eight communities responded by the March 1 deadline, task force co-chair Rep. Art Washut, R-Casper, told Cowboy State Daily.

Those include Campbell County, Natrona County, Park County, Cheyenne, Fremont County, Hot Springs County, Uinta County and Guernsey.

A ninth community, which Washut declined to name, also submitted a letter of interest after the deadline, but might still be considered.

It’s still too early to determine which locations might have an advantage, Washut said. The letters of interest were just the next step in the “pre-selection process.”

“I’m really excited at the level of interest by the fact that we got so many letters of interest from so many different communities all around the state,” he said.

‘We Really Need To Get Moving’

The next step will be for those eight, possibly nine, communities to answer requests for proposals (RFPs) from the task force.

Those documents will include precise details about what the task force expects and what each community has to offer to meet those expectations.

A deadline for the RFPs hasn’t been set, but it will have to be soon, Washut said.

“Those communities that took the time to put a lot of detail into their letters of interest will be better prepared to draw up their final RFPs,” he said.

The Wyoming Legislature last year agreed to squirrel away $10 million to cover the initial costs of the shooting complex, and to appoint the task force to oversee the process of selecting a site.

The Legislature during its 2025 session will vote whether to release that money and to which community.

So time is of the essence, Washut said.

“We really need to get moving. The Legislature has to vote next year to release the money to a particular site,” he said. “We hope that over this summer we can get the RFP’s out, get them back and also do some site visits.”

Ideally, ground could be broken on the new shooting complex by the following summer, he said.

The complex will likely be built in stages over a period of several years.

“What we anticipate is probably a phased buildout. Some of these locations might already have shooting ranges that we could just build out from. Some other locations might be empty prairie land, where we would have to build from scratch,” he said.

The ultimate size of the shooting complex could depend on how much money goes into it, even beyond the state’s initial $10 million.

“Who knows, you may get some matching funds from private groups, and that will allow you to build more,” Washut said.

Big Expectations

Washut and other promoters of the shooting complex have said that they envision it being far more than just a local rifle range.

It’s intended to rival huge shooting complexes in neighboring states such as Colorado and be the sort of place that could attract world-class professional shooting matches.

That would bring big money into whichever community ends up getting it, and that money would also ripple out into Wyoming’s entire tourism and hospitality economy.

The shooting complex could include ranges for extreme long-distance rifle shooting, pistol shooting, tactical three-gun matches, black powder, trap and skeet, archery and more.

There also could be an education center for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to host hunter education and wildlife conservation classes.

It will require a bare minimum of 800 acres, “and a preference for sites consisting of 2,500 acres or more,” according to task force documents.

The task force will also take into consideration several other factors. Some of those include whether a community’s proposed site already has utilities and water lines running to it.

Nearness to an airport will factor in, as well as the proximity of lodging, dining, shopping and other amenities, according to the task force.

Wind Factor

Shooting complex promoters have stated that one huge advantage Wyoming has is its decidedly Second Amendment-friendly culture and policy.

Restrictive gun control policies on other states might entice big-time shooting contest organizers to look toward Wyoming.

However, one possible disadvantage is Wyoming’s wind. Particularly for long-range rifle contests — reaching out to 1,000 yards and beyond — the Cowboy State’s notorious gusts could make things difficult.

Asked previously by Cowboy State Daily how weather might figure in, meteorologist Don Day said there are locations in Wyoming with advantages in that regard.

“Cheyenne, Laramie and Casper would have a very difficult time trying to argue that weather wouldn’t be a factor,” Day said.

On the flip side, Riverton and Lander are far tamer when it comes to wind, he said.

“How many wind farms have you seen in Riverton? What’s good for wind farms might not be good for a rifle range,” he said.

Even so, expert long-range shooter Shephard Humphries previously told Cowboy State Daily that he’s not particularly concerned about wind ruining a Wyoming shooting complex.

And he knows a thing or two about pushing rifle shots to the extreme.

Along with Schott Austin, he leads the Jackson-Based Nomad Rifle team which in September 2022 pulled off a world record-setting 4.4-mile rifle shot near Pinedale.

Competitive rifle shooters take wind in stride, Humphries said.

“So, at typical ELR (extreme long range) shooting distances — 1 mile to 2 miles — wind is to be expected,” he said. “I have shot in Grand Junction, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada, and anytime there is enough space for a rifleman with a gleam in his eye to reach out beyond 1,000 yards, brother wind seems to also show up.”

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter