Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Archery, firing range and motocross draws students

SURE SHOT — Whatever the preferred method of shooting is the preference, being arrows, bullets or shooting around a hairpin on a 125, Liberty offers venues for all marksmen.
Photo Credit: Scott Hill

Stadium lights draw thousands of fans to Liberty University’s campus on Saturday nights.  On certain weekends students have trouble finding parking spots at LaHaye as traffic spills over from the Ice Center’s lot.

Mainstream sports such as football and hockey are most commonly patroned by students, but Liberty tries to offer students a wider variety of recreational opportunities mostly unknown to students.

According to Mountain Property Supervisor Jon Wallace, students are allowed to ride their dirt bikes on certain trails around Snowflex.  There is a storage facility at the complex where students can store their bikes.

There is also a motocross track on Lone Jack Mountain off of Lone Jack Road, but students are required to have club memberships to ride there.

Wallace has semi-pro experience, and he watches students ride in order to make sure they are able riders.

“[I have] had a couple that are too sure of themselves,” Wallace said.

Wallace restricts the less capable riders to the trails while those he deems fit have access to the motocross track.

Wallace said in addition to the mile and a half motocross track, Lone Jack Mountain has about 12 miles of trails.

There are approximately 35 members of the dirt bike club this year.

“We [have not] really started a motocross team,” Wallace said. “We have to find some [students] who want to be consistent with it.”

For many years Liberty has owned acres of forested land between Liberty Village and the Paintball course.

“The chancellor wanted to develop it for student use and having an archery team was a top priority for us,” club sports coordinator Kirk Handy said.

Liberty has owned a 10-acre archery range for three years.  It is only for club members, but Game Operation Administrator Carter Browning said they often find students trespassing.

In front of a storage shed are a few targets where archers can sight in from 20, 30 and 40 yards.  The targets, which look like deer, are kept in this shed.

A trail starts behind the shed and winds through the course.

Archers pair up and go through the course, keeping score on scorecards. There are 25 targets in the course and usually takes about two hours to complete, Browning said.

“All of this land is taken care of by the archery club,” Browning said.

The club hosted two events in September, Browning said.  There were about 50 people from the community who participated.

Liberty offers an archery class, but the class does not use the course.

Liberty also offers a shooting range for students who would rather not carry bows and arrows but choose guns and ammunition instead.

The Liberty Police Department operates a gun range on university property in Campbell County, according to Police Chief Colonel Richard D. Hinkley.

“[The Liberty University Police Department] does teach safety courses that are open to students and employees,” Hinkley said.

It is an outdoor range and participants can practice with handguns and rifles.

Hinkley said it is free for students, but they are required to make an appointment to use it.

“They just have to attend the safety class then notify us in advance when they are planning on coming during the two days it is open to them,” Hinkley said.

Students must also bring their own ammunition and guns.

“Students who live on campus are required to store personal firearms at the Police Department,” Hinkley said. “Lockers are provided and students must provide a lock.”

Whether it is extreme sports, archery or target shooting, Liberty University seeks to expand its bubble geographically and in the opportunities it offers its students.

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