The staff of Family Shooting Center maintains a public outdoor range, where shooters of all skill levels can hone their firearms proficiency. A day in the trapshooting area challenges sportsmen with pedestal traps, ATA automatic traps, and five-stand sporting clay stations. Alternatively, pistol and rifle ranges offer marksmen targets up to 100 yards away. The facility's multitude of shooting styles also includes an archery range that lets bowmen hone hunter's vision sharper than Davy Crockett's, even after he got LASIK.
To further develop responsible firearms operators, instructors lead classes that range from basic safety courses to private instruction for law-enforcement officials. Safety and camaraderie are further encouraged through trapshooting leagues and special rates for Boy Scouts. When hunger starts affecting concentration, an onsite vendor refuels guests with fare such as hot dogs, pulled pork, and gourmet bratwursts made from game meats.
Staff Size: 50+ people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Brands Used: Hyside Rafts, NRS rafting gear, Carlisle/Caviness paddles
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Whitewater rafting, kayaking, rentals
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
We have the greatest variety of trips and times on the Poudre River. We have three sizes of rafts (large, medium, and small) corresponding to the changing water levels during the summer to keep the excitement level high. Our guides are very experienced, lively, and considered the friendliest on the river. This is [my] 33rd year with the [business]. [I] have been rafting and kayaking on the Poudre and other rivers around the country and the world since the early '70s. We excel at offering our guests a great time on the river.
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
As a student at Maryville College, I started canoeing in the Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee. After seeing a John Denver concert, I traveled west and discovered the Colorado Plateau and fell in love with the country. I transferred to Colorado State University immediately, where I studied biology, and during my first summer in Colorado, I took a rafting trip and got the river fever. From there I became a Class V kayaker traveling everywhere to experience new rivers, did a stint as a river ranger in the high deserts of Utah, [and] became a high school biology teacher for a few years. [I] then returned to CSU to start a graduate degree when I realized just how special the Poudre River really was. My Shangri-la was right in front of me, and I hadn't even realized it. So I built my house on the river and started my rafting and kayaking business on the Poudre, which I'm still enjoying to this day.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
Seeing the radiant excitement and smiles of our guests that come with their river adventure.
Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
Boyd Wild grew up in a family of dedicated rifle hunters, but when he discovered archery he knew he'd found his true passion. Together with his wife, Carol, Boyd opened Archery in the Wild in 2002 in order to supply budding and proficient archers with gear from brand names like Hoyt and Bowtech. Along with products like compound hunting bows, Boyd and his team craft custom strings in whatever colors clients want. The store even has feathers and vanes available for customers who want to make their own arrows. For those unsure how to work their new gear, Archery in the Wild's 20- and 25-yard indoor shooting ranges host lessons where students can learn proper stances and shooting techniques under the guidance of experienced archers.
Safety comes first at Shoot Indoors, where certified staff members and range officers examine every piece of outside ammunition that comes in, ensuring an environment where clients can relax. They can rent pistols and head to the indoor range, where instructors perform complimentary safety orientations for beginners or those who might need a refresher. On Tuesdays, the range hosts Low-Light Night after 7 p.m., during which they dim the lights for a simulated nighttime shoot. And while they're waiting for their classes to begin, pupils relax in the spacious pro shop, where there is always hot coffee available and entertainment playing on two big-screen televisions.
According to United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine, three perfect days in Denver aren't complete without fly-fishing with Golden River Sports. Writer Rachel Sturtz was quite satisfied with her four-hour lesson, which isn't surprising, considering the the company's sterling reputation with sportsmen of all ability levels. The company's willingness to engage every clients comes from the experiences of instructors like Nick Adler, a self-taught fly fisherman who would have been grateful for guidance from a more experienced angler.
In that spirit, he and his fellow teachers offer four-part fly-fishing lessons, which begin with an introduction to fishing styles and equipment, and follow all the way through to advanced casting and how to read the water. Fly-tying clinics help out total beginners, guided trips take learning fishermen out to various creeks and rivers, and rentals allow schooled sportsmen to embark on their own adventures. An on-site store is loaded with all necessary equipment and accessories and gear for fly fishing and fly tying, including hooks, fly boxes, and a library of DVDs including fly-tying videos and each fish's favorite romantic comedy.