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.
Having multiple firearm bays means BluCore's instructors—who have backgrounds in law enforcement, special ops, and competitive shooting—can dedicate one bay to training while keeping the other open for public shooting or special events such as ladies' night. A variety of combat-proven training classes cover topics for students of all abilities, from the NRA Basic Pistol Class to women-only classes. BluCore's facilities also encompass a gun shop, where the staff helps guests choose firearms and accessories from manufacturers such as Glock and Sig Sauer.
At Colorado Handgun Shooting School, NRA-certified instructors Sherry and Jon Vargason make safety the focus of every class, whether they're working with a first-time student or a seasoned T-shirt cannon operator. They teach at The Shootist Pistol Range, leading classes such as the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course and a concealed-handgun course that qualifies students to apply for state concealed-handgun permits. To help clients feel as comfortable as possible, Sherry and Jon also organize women-only classes, as well as private one-on-one instruction.
At The Denver Fly Shop, masters of fly-fishing's elusive art lead classroom instruction, field sessions, and guided trips with a proficient grasp on the sport's intricate ins and outs. Through classroom sessions, the crew teaches students how to tie essential knots and how to mimic the movement of insects. They also offer in-depth knowledge on locations where fish have been known to hangout and mingle with delinquent trout-school dropouts. Their casting lessons familiarize anglers with their gear during two-hour sessions that take place indoors during winter months and on the banks of Smith Lake in Washington Park when spring sets in. Once their intro lessons are complete, students can put their newfound proficiencies to the test during guided fishing trips to some of Colorado’s most abundant waterways.
There is also a comprehensive fly-fishing shop with over 3000 different fly patterns to complement fly fishers' ventures beyond their intro lessons. Guided tours are also offered to explore the area.
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.
While bullets streak down the lanes at most shooting ranges, the more than 40 avenues of fire found on Monaco Street host a different projectile: arrows. No Limits Archery features 31 20-yard lanes with paper targets—ideal training grounds for beginners hunting the broad sides of barns. Deep-woods verisimilitude increases across a dozen 40-yard ranges, where arrows glance off the oblique flanks of 3-D faux animals.
The facility rents out compound bows to beginners who don't yet possess their own equipment, and an onsite pro shop provides extra ammo and mid- to high-end compound weapons to more serious practitioners. Each Friday, instructors oust adults from the range to provide targeted instruction to youngsters, and they host tournaments and leagues for pros on weekends.
Shannon Long's path to the American dream went in the opposite direction than that of most people. While many work in retail to support their dreams of becoming artists, Shannon molded clay over steel substructures, sculpting half-scale abstract figurative art while dreaming about starting a fly-fishing business. As a boy growing up in popular Lake Havasu, he frequented a small Western-themed shop where the owner was always chatting with customers who shared his fascination with the independent spirit of the American West. In a turn of serendipity, Shannon got married and happily followed his wife to her native Colorado. Sometime after, he opened the fly-fishing shop he had always dreamed of, and found himself becoming the shopkeeper chatting with and educating customers in their shared interests.
Today, Shannon oversees a guide service manned by a staff of veteran fly-fishing experts. On full-day and half-day fly-fishing trips, guides lead anglers for the grand slam: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, and brook trout all caught in a single trip. The Rocky Mountain landscapes surround fishermen in dramatic scenery, including towering pine trees, giant red rocks, and bright-blue skies as the sounds of colliding bighorn sheep occasionally ring out over the water. In addition to guided trips, the staff also leads classes, including courses designed for women and families, that cater to both beginner and advanced anglers.