Toby Spence

Toby Spence aims down range at what will soon become an archery range for all to enjoy.

As you approach the vacant lot behind Bartling Park, there isn’t much to lay your eyes on.

The ambient sound of traveling cars and semi-trailer trucks permeates the air as they race up and down the Interstate. Just beyond the lot and yards of fencing, antelope occasionally forage in the grass, looking up at the occasional truck horn. The vacant lot will soon no longer be vacant, and Toby Spence has a vision.

“There will be an archery range here soon,” said Spence as he pointed along the perimeter of the lot.

Spence, who used to operate the motocross park in Douglas, said the idea for the project was birthed in February and has since gained a bevy of interest from the community. To date, Spence has received over 200 signatures and hopes to have the range open by mid-July.

The City of Douglas and Converse County have granted approval for the project. The archery range is just one idea of many that the Outdoor Enthusiast of Converse County intend to implement in Douglas.

“We’re envisioning one big group bringing people in,” Spence said. “The goal is to appeal to those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.”

Along with the archery range, the club hopes to organize activities for mountain bikers, road bikers, runners, hunters, kayakers and so on.

On the range, Spence plans to set up three ranges each with targets fixed at different distances. He also hopes to provide accommodations for the handicapped and structures to shade observers. Funds for targets and frames have already been donated by Sportsmen for Wildlife as well as donations from Douglas Feed.

Once open, the range will not allow broadhead arrows and anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

“There are a lot of archers in town, the interest is here,” Spence said. “We’re excited to get things set up.”

Outdoor Enthusiast of Converse County will hold their second organizational meeting tonight at Headstrong Brewery at 7 p.m. Updates on the range and clean up of the North Platte River will be on the agenda. All are welcome to attend.

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