Boulder City gun club offers media early look at new products

In case you missed it, the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show is underway at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Owned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the SHOT Show draws manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, conservation organizations and members of the outdoor media from around the world.

The SHOT Show is to the shooting and hunting industry what the Consumer Electronic Show is to the digital world. Of the 36 SHOT Shows held to date, 15 have taken place here in Las Vegas. According to the NSSF, more than 60,000 people attended the 2013 show and injected $73.1 million into our local economy.

In addition to the economic boost the SHOT Show brings to Southern Nevada, it also has paved the way for significant improvements to one local shooting range, changes that benefit club members and guests who use the facility.

Every year the SHOT Show is held in Las Vegas, the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club in Boulder City hosts an event known as media day, the brainchild of outdoor marketing gurus Cathy Williams and Cory Cannon.

The event was created as a venue where the outdoor media can get a hands-on look at many of the new or updated products that will be unveiled during the SHOT Show. Products on display range from firearms and ammunition to knives, archery tackle, ATVs and even trucks. When you go to your favorite shooting blog and watch videos of the host shooting a new firearm at the SHOT Show, chances are the video was filmed at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club.

In 2013, 120 companies and more than 1,200 media members participated in media day. In order to facilitate an event of that size and scope, the club has added several new shooting bays. The range design makes it easy for multiple exhibitors to demonstrate their wares at the same time.

“Here, every major exhibitor has its own bay. If they want to go down and change targets, they go change targets. It’s not a stop-and-go thing,” said Harry Helfrich, president of the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club. “They give us a map where each one of the tents is going to be and where it is all going to go. We make sure there is space for them to use.”

Since the club is a nonprofit organization, it does not have deep pockets. That is where the club benefits from its arrangement with media day organizers who pay for the development and expansion needed to meet the needs of their event. When media day is over, those new facilities then are available to club members and guest shooters.

“We try to find ways that we can do improvement to the range that help the (media day) but we can also use when they get done and let them pay for that,” Helfrich said. One of those improvements is a widened and paved access road that not long ago was dirt. “That is for buses because they had a real problem coming down here on dirt roads, and the roads were so narrow they couldn’t turn around,” he said. “We widened the roads, but we let Triple Curl pay for that because it not only benefits us, but it benefits them on their end, too.”

The multiple-bay design at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club makes shooting there a pleasure. If you are sighting in your hunting rifle, for instance, you can check your target without waiting for shooters in the adjacent bays to stop shooting.

Though club membership has its benefits, including access to all ranges on the facility nearly every day of the year, nonmembers can use the designated courtesy ranges on certain days. All shooters are expected to follow the club’s range rules, and a range safety officer always is on site. Visit the club’s website at for more information.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at

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