History of the Bald Eagles Rifle Club
The Bald Eagles Rifle Club was started as a support organization for the USA Veterans Rifle Team. It was established as a NRA affiliated club with the goal of providing a vehicle to enter legal club teams in NRA competitions.
Jack Van Ness was the founder and first president of the club with Bob Gamboa as Vice-president. Al Coots was the Secretary and Treasurer and Bob DePasque was the other board member. The name of the club was recommended by Alan Dapp and agreed to by the other members.
A decision was made to take action on an NRA Highpower Committee resolution to conduct a 7-day highpower prone rifle championship to be held at the NRA Whittington Center during the first week of September each year. This and other factors led to the decision to incorporate the club in the state of New Mexico. Incorporation was completed April 9, 2002. During the incorporation process the Board of Directors was selected with Jack Van Ness as President, Al Coots, Secretary and board members Bob Gamboa, Lonnie Kuhns, Jim Rice and Middleton Tompkins. All of the board members were members of the USA Veterans Rifle Team that represented the USA in the 2001 World Veterans Team championships.
It was during this trip that plans were made for the First Annual Spirit of America matches. These were held in September of 2002 at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM.
The club also took on the formidable task of erecting a clubhouse at the NRA Whittington Center. Under the leadership of Jack Van Ness and the extremely generous contributions of club members, and with the staff of the NRA Whittington Center providing the labor to erect the building, the task was accomplished. The building is nearing completion and has already been put to use at the most recent highly successful Second Annual Spirit of America Fullbore Rifle matches held in 2003.
The club currently has 111 members, including two from Canada and one from England. This past year Arthur Clarke of the Great Britain was granted Honorary Bald Eagles Rifle Club membership.
Membership is open to those interested in promoting Fullbore rifle shooting including F Class shooting, and who are aged 60 or over. Associate membership is open to those aged 55 or over.
Club teams won the “Open Club” Herrick and Roumanian Trophy in the Palma Rifle Class at the 2003 National Long Range Rifle Championships held at Camp Perry, Ohio. Additionally, the club has fielded USA Veterans Rifle Teams to Perth, Australia in 2001 and to Bisley, England in 2003.