A handy, affordable opportunity to enjoy the shooting sports in a safe environment was the goal Kevin Owens and his friends had in mind six years ago when they launched Square1 Outdoors. Their mission has taken root with a well-appointed shooting range on Mt. Vernon Road in Tupelo, and it’s set to expand to Booneville and other area locations soon.

Built with membership dollars and lots of sweat equity, the Square1 range at Sullivan Farms north of West Barnes Crossing Road includes separate, dedicated facilities for archery, handgun, shotgun and rifle shooting. Four handgun bays are separated by dirt berms, there is a 50-yard range primarily for rimfire separate from the 100- and 200-yard centerfire range, a five-stand shotgun facility overlooks a beautiful swath of countryside and all have permanent, covered decking for all-weather use.

While there is plenty of opportunity for adults to use the Square1 Outdoors facilities, the ultimate motivation is to share the shooting sports with youngsters.

“We’re making a dedicated effort to founding a new wave of shooters in north Mississippi,” David Ramseyer, with Square1 Outdoors, said. “It’s a labor of love, something we’re doing because we enjoy sharing with new people who’ve never tried it.”

“The purpose of Square1 was to open it for youth and family activities,” Ronnie McCoy, also with Square1 Outdoors, said. “That’s where the name originated, because anytime you begin something new, you start at square one.”

The group’s newest project involves setting up facilities in Booneville at the Prentiss County Sportsman’s Club. Ultimately, they plan to build facilities in a number of northeast Mississippi counties equivalent to those now in place in Tupelo. Square1 Outdoors is a nonprofit organization dedicated to community service.

“Most of us who were involved in the start of Square1 Outdoors were already involved in Boy Scouts or 4H or some other aspect of youth shooting sports, and we had kids of our own, and friends we wanted to shoot with,” said Owens. “Over time, we were running out of places to go, and we were interested in putting together some formal activities that kids could get involved with and learn more about different types of shooting, and there just wasn’t anywhere to do it. We all got together and decided to take a break from doing the activities and focus on building a place where we knew we could always be, always have time and always have the things we needed, and also be able to help other people prosper their programs by not having to duplicate resources and funding sources. Not everybody can have a set of rifles, not everybody can have a set of shotguns, but if there’s one set somewhere that everybody has access to, then everybody can shoot. That’s kind of what we’ve been doing for the past 6 years.

“We’re at the point now where, when people come along who want to do big events, we can take the burden off of them as far as providing the shooting sports and let them focus with their funds on things to promote their programs and build their membership.”

The organization is operated entirely on volunteer labor, donations and membership fees.

“We are getting instructors and coaches in place for the shotgun discipline so we can offer the program to schools in the area,” McCoy said. “We’d love to help any school that wanted to offer its students the opportunity to shoot with a competitive trap team or shotgun team. We will provide a place for schools founding trap and skeet teams to foster shooting programs here.”

Square1 Outdoors already has homeschool students using their archery facilities to organize and practice.

Annual adult members pay $20 per month via bank draft, and that membership includes a second adult, plus any youth in the family, from children to grandchildren, extending to nieces, nephews and so on, up to age 18 and any youth over 18 as long as they are enrolled in school or college or are dependent upon the adult member due to special needs.

Lifetime adult members pay a one-time $1,000 fee, or $250 per quarter for one year.

Guests may accompany member for two or three visits before being required to join and pay fees.

To learn more or to join, visit square1outdoors.com.

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