Sheridan Joins Running For $10M Wyoming Shooting Complex

Competition for which Wyoming community will be the site of a sprawling, multimillion-dollar shooting complex just got more intense with Sheridan joining the running with eight others.

Mark Heinz

March 15, 20245 min read

Shooting range adobe stock 3 15 24
(Getty Images)

Competition for which Wyoming community will be the site of a sprawling, multimillion-dollar shooting complex just got more intense with Sheridan joining the running with eight others.

The Wyoming Shooting Complex Task Force opted Friday to let Sheridan join in, even though the city’s letter of interest had been filed about a week after the March 1 deadline.

That brings the total of communities vying for the shooting complex to nine. The others include Campbell County, Natrona County, Park County, Cheyenne, Fremont County, Hot Springs County, Uinta County and Guernsey.

Field Will Shrink Soon

That number will shrink soon.

The task force plans to make formal requests for proposals (RFPs) available next month. Each community will have to answer the RFPs with detailed information as to why theirs should be the spot for the shooting complex.

The task force plans to screen proposals and start narrowing the field in mid-June. In late June, finalists will be called to give in-person presentations to the task force.

Site visits to finalist communities are planned for July, and the task force will likely announce its selection in August.

Big Undertaking

The complex will likely require at least 2,500 acres. The task force will also expect information on the topography of proposed sites, as well as the proximity of infrastructure, services and amenities for the huge crowds that shooting contests are expected to draw.

The Wyoming Legislature in 2023 authorized $10 million to start building the shooting complex, though the final price tag could be much more. Costs exceeding $10 million might be covered by private funding.

Once the final selection is made, the Legislature during its 2025 session will vote whether to release the $10 million to that community to start building the complex.

It’s hoped that construction can start in summer 2025.

However, that might be too optimistic, given the complexities of land acquisition, some task force members said during Friday’s meeting.

“We’re talking about from February of next year with authorization and final approval at the state level and trying to get shovels into the ground by July,” said Cade Maestas of Maven Optics. “Some of these private acquisitions, and especially the federal acquisitions, are probably just not realistic timelines that some people have poured a lot of effort into.”

The Right Location

Narrowing down the right location could be tricky, task force members said.

Ideally, it should be close enough to services and attractions that shooting contest participants will want to stay and spend their money.

But it probably shouldn’t be too close to residential neighborhoods because of the noise factor.

“I just can’t imagine somebody wanting people shooting a .50-caliber a quarter-mile from their house,” task force co-chair Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs said.

And the possibility of future developments near the shooting complex should also be considered, said co-chair Rep. Art Washut, R-Casper.

“Will there be a subdivision built five years from now that will make part of the shooting range unusable?” he said.

‘Hold Factor’

The shooting complex is envisioned to be not only a world-class site for competitive matches, but also a boon for Wyoming’s tourism and hospitality economy.

There should be something nearby to make people want to linger, even after the contests end, Hicks said.

“I call it the ‘hold factor.’ So if you come out for an event, what’s going to hold them in this area, in Wyoming for a couple of more days?” he said.

How much overflow business the shooting complex creates could depend on the nature of the events, Maestas said.

“If it’s a world cup event where it’s only the top six competitors in each category, typically they come in with their group of people, they shoot, then they go home,” he said.

Open-class events might draw lager crowds, including many families that will want to explore the surrounding area, he said.

Shooting events could bring lots of money to Wyoming, whether the complex ends up being near a large tourist attraction, or “hidden gems in a smaller area,” said task force member James Schoon of the Wyoming Office of Tourism.

“Either way that we cut it, whether it’s a lesser-known area or a hot spot, it’s going to benefit the state. It’s just a matter of whether we want to pump money into those lesser-known areas that can accommodate it,” he said.

The timing for Wyoming is good, because participation in archery and the shooting sports is growing, particularly among women and families, said task force member Rep. Pepper Ottman, R-Riverton.

“We’re right at a good time for all of these things, because it’s growing,” she said.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter