Skip to main content
HomeClub History

Chief Ouray Gun Club History

Recent Club History

A lot has happened here at the Chief Ouray Gun Club in recent years.  There isn't much to report, historically speaking, prior to about 2009.  Since 2009, however, a LOT of great things have happened within the Gun Club as well as at the Club's range.  Because we can all forget from time to time, we thought it was important to keep track of some of these milestones within the Club.  Below is a run-down.  Be sure to let our Secretary know if we forgot something significant. 

Club Funds

Sometime before 2009, an embezzling, no-good, low-down, snake got hold of the Club treasurer's seat.  In the years that this person held office, the Board and members never saw an accurate Club bank balance, dues payment checks were never deposited, Club bills went unpaid and the Club's cash income was pocketed by the treasurer.  When the present Board took over, we learned that we had just a couple hundred dollars in our account.  Yep, the (now former) treasurer was embezzling all those dues from members, all year long, year after year (that's at least a couple thousand dollars a year, folks).

What Changed:

2009 was the "year of the coup".  Nearly 75% of the club's membership came together and voted the embezzler and his ilk out so that rebuilding of the Club could begin.  Today, the club has several thousand dollars in its accounts and the Board protects those funds like a mother bear does her cubs.  Also, checks, balances, redundancies and a co-treasurer system have been put in place to ensure that embezzling never occurs within the Chief Ouray Gun Club again.  The Club also enjoys a Board that truly cares about the well being of the Chief Ouray Gun Club and its affairs.  With the Club's best interests at heart, within this Board, Club rebuilding has been taking place at breakneck speed.

Shooting Range:

In 2009 and 2010 there was more in shambles than just the Club's bank account.  The range was a disaster as well.  Due to years of neglect and a lack of funds here's a glimpse at the pre-2009-2010 shooting range:

  • It was overgrown with weeds;
  • There were no shooting benches;
  • There was no cover or enclosure at the long-range rifle station;
  • There were no stairs leading up to the rifle station - just a difficult-to-navigate mule trail.  Oh that trail was horrendous.  Not to mention dangerous and that's on a good day with no rain or snow or ice;
  • No bathroom existed anywhere at the range, but there was an old outhouse behind the trashy trailer - if you could get to it through the weeds and rubbish.  And if you didn't mind sharing it with the rodents.  And if you didn't mind airing your rear end to the rest of the world (there was no door!);
  • A dangerous, dilapidated, falling-down, rat and rodent infested 'club house' (a 1960-something single-wide mobile home) stood on the north end of the property.  Well, it didn't so much stand as it did lean;
  • The area behind the trailer held so much rubbish and junk that it looked like a landfill site, not a gun range;
  • There was no grill at the range.  Whenever we held a range clean-up and BBQ, some unfortunate member had to load their big patio grill into the back of a pickup truck and schlep it out to the range.  Then load that hot grill back up at the end of the day and haul it home and unload it again;
  • Trash was strewn everywhere - including on the range lanes;
  • Target stands were all shot up and many were buried, or partially buried, in the dirt and weeds on and around the range lanes;
  • There were no target-backs (boards to tack paper targets to);
  • The range's "backstops" consisted of hard, compacted dirt and rocks (ranging from small on up to 4-feet across), creating ricochet hazards;
  • An ugly, overflowing, shot up burn barrel stood on the range;
  • The driveway had never been maintained except the occasional dump truck load of gravel scattered by the county;
  • Only what is currently referred to as the "middle" lane and the lane to the far-south existed (there was no pistol range to the north);
  • The club had no insurance whatsoever;
  • The club had no Range Safety Officers;
  • Other than the property, which the range sits on, the Club had zero assets;
  • Besides the occasional, small, "turkey shoot", the Club had never put on events;
  • The Club had no instructors teaching in conjunction with the Club.

    What Changed:

  • A process that has taken place over the last several years, the weed supply on the range have been beaten into submission through yearly sprayings of weed killer, along with yearly weed-whacking.
  • Several shooting benches have been added to the middle range lane.
  • A cement pad was poured and a covered structure erected to make shooting at the long-range rifle station a true pleasure.
  • As the long-range rifle station was being built, an amazing set of stairs and handrail were added in place of the former "mule trail".
  • Sani-Serv out of Montrose kindly donates the use and regular emptying of the port-a-potty that is currently at the range.
  • In 2013, with the help of the Ridgway Fire Department, a handful of volunteers, and Bob Morss and his backhoe, the trailer, um, I mean club house, was burned down and its ashes and non-burnable materials scraped together, scooped up, and hauled away.  The metal was salvaged from the mess and taken to Recla Metals in Montrose.
  • When the trailer was burned and disposed of, so was the rubbish that was behind the trailer.
  • A couple of years back, a Club member donated the time and materials to erect a beautiful permanent grill (like you see at public parks, etc.) at the range.
  • With the help of many volunteers, all trash is long gone from the range.  Removing the unsightly, shot-to-pieces burning barrel from the range and adopting a bring-it-in, pack-it-out policy has nearly eliminated trash accumulation at the range. 
  • We dug out all the steel target stands we could find and straightened out the ones that were bent.  Because we've done so much work at the range in recent years, it actually looks good now, which allows it to demand more respect from folks who frequent the range!
  • We've received generous donations of plywood sheets to use as target backs and we've been fortunate enough to have some great volunteers who hang it for us when it gets worn out.
  • In about 2010, Bob Morss spearheaded the bringing-in of several truckloads of soft fill dirt, which was piled up at the ends of the range lanes to act as soft impact zones for bullets going downrange.  This and the help of volunteers, who removed several ton of rocks by hand, has greatly increased the safety of our range by reducing the risk of ricochet.  There was a time when about one out of every four bullets going down range could be heard ricocheting off of a rock.  Duck and cover no more!
  • The nasty burn barrel, that only seemed to encourage dumping of more trash everywhere but in the barrel, was removed and replaced with a bring-it-in, pack-it-out policy.
  • Again, with the help of volunteers, gravel has been brought in on a more regular basis and the driveway has been graded from time-to-time.  This is happening again this year, shortly after this writing, toward the end of 2018.
  • Once again, the club turned to Bob Morss and his trusty backhoe to create what is now the pistol range (the northernmost range lane).  The pair moved the dirt and rock out to form the lane and then moved in softer dirt as the backstop.  Other volunteers set up the shooting benches that are there now.
  • The club acquired a liability insurance policy, designed just for gun ranges, in about 2010.
  • In 2011 Chief Range Safety Officer, Gayle Buske, trained and certified 17 RSOs for the Club!

    ·         In 2011 Chief Ouray Gun Club Secretary, Gayle Buske wrote and was awarded a grant of over $16,000 for the club from the Black Canyn Friends of the NRA.

    ·        Thanks to the NRA grant, the club was able to purchase several firearms, a gun safe, ammunition, safety glasses, as well as many other miscellaneous items.

  • In 2011, the Chief Ouray Gun Club put on the largest-ever NRA Women On Target event in Colorado (also one of the biggest-ever for the NRA!), hosting over 100 female, first-time and beginning shooters;
  • In 2012, the Club put on another Women On Target Event;
  • In the years 2010 and 2011, the Chief Ouray Gun Club put on the first-ever gun shows in Ouray County.  (It was determined, however, that the Club made very little revenue on these events - really not enough to justify the amount of time that was put in, so the Club did not pursue future gun shows.)
  • Currently the Club has one instructor set up, who uses the Chief Ouray Gun Club range as her exclusive shooting venue, which brings in new club members on a regular basis.
  • Additional instructors are welcome too, so long as they follow the rules listed here, submit applicable fees to the Club, and submit applicable paperwork and insurance to the Club.


Around the time that the embezzling treasurer took office, the Club also suddenly stopped filing taxes each year.  We are a corporation, thus taxes need to be filed yearly.

What Changed:

In about 2013, then Treasurer Barbara Cole (not the embezzler) negotiated with Club member Parker McAbery's CPA firm to file the Club's taxes on a yearly basis.  McAbery brought the Club up to current on tax filings, thus ruling out negative repercussions from the IRS for the missed years' tax returns.

Earlier Club History

A little history as told by Frank Massard, a Ouray old timer and original Ourayan.  Mr. Massard passed away at age of 102 (something in the water??).  The following is a reprinting of a document that was found among the gun club's archives.

"Frank used to set targets for a gun club located below the trailer court on the west side of the road.  They had four targets in a row.  They hired boys to be in the pits at the end of the target range where the targets were.  The boys had a marker with a round hole in the center.  It was round and made of tin or metal with a stick attached.  The boys would hold the marker over the target to show where the shot hit.

The target would raise up and down and you could pull it down and mark it for the shooter.  The shooter would look through a telescope lens and view the target.

When you were in the pit, there was a rock wall barricade in front of you on the shooter's side.  "I was in grammar school - probably 1906 - 1910.  It was located between the Silver Shield Mill and the village Trailer Park on the west side of the road."  Relates Massard

This shooting was done in a house or building.  The pit was in the building which was built over the pit.  The shooters shot north into the hill.  Just beyond the last trailer.  "I think the last trailer sat on the foundation of the gun club building.:

In later years there was a gun club called the Chief Ouray Gun Club.  The club building was between the Twin Peaks Motel and the Box Canyon Motel.  the bullets went into a hill.

The Idarado Mine sold land to the gun club.  On October 24, 1955, the Idarado Mining Company sold 100' x 225' Lot 6 Block 2 laying adjacent to Block 2 to the Chief Ouray Gun Club.  It was later torn down by the Uhles and an 8 room motel put in.

There was a counter in the north end of the building and shooters stood back of it.  The bullets went into the hill.

The last gun club building was across from Orvis Hot Springs.

A turkey shoot.  Frank Massard said they were not always sure they killed the turkey.  Later that it was sort of inhumane.  So they shot targets and and the winners won frozen turkeys."

~Author unknown