This partnership has made it possible for the college to begin expanding its shooting programs and facilities. This expansion includes the building of new ranges at the John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Center.
The biggest project, an $8 million range equipped for air rifle, air pistol, and archery, is still awaiting funding and does not yet have an estimated completion date.
Once it is built, it will not only allow Hillsdale students to train alongside Olympic athletes, but will also bring both national and international championships to Hillsdale.
“Over the course of the year we will have the U.S. team and even more Olympic hopefuls out here training,” Hillsdale graduate Jordan Hintz ’18, a three-time All-American while a member of the college’s shotgun team, and the current head coach, said.
Bart Spieth, the Halter Center Rangemaster who led the college’s shotgun team to its first national championship in 2012, said that one day 60 – 80 countries could be sending teams to participate in World Cup championships here at Hillsdale.
“We will run some elite events and elite training out of that facility,” he said.
The first of those tournaments is about to begin as the Halter Center prepares for the USA Open National Championships for skeet and bunker, which will take place at the range from Sept. 8 – 19.
Senior Mary Brox, president of the new Hillsdale Olympic-Style Rifle and Pistol Club and a competitor herself, said she hopes even more Hillsdale students will get involved with shooting sports and clubs.
“We hope to include students who would like to compete,” Brox said, “as well as students who want to enjoy the sport and grow in their shooting skills.”
Spieth said he sees a lot of parallels between the goals of USA Shooting and Hillsdale College.
“We are like-minded people,” he said. “For the most part, having the same goals of wanting our future generations to understand and appreciate the heritage that we have with shooting sports and how that equips you to be able to protect yourself, your family, and your property.”
Spieth said he does not want these opportunities to be limited to Hillsdale students. Instead, he hopes that local and regional youth will also take this as a chance to use the resources Hillsdale is offering to pursue their Olympic dreams.
“We just welcome students to come out,” Spieth said.
Brox agreed that such events will put Hillsdale shooting on the map.
“As for these national events, they really put Hillsdale in the spotlight in the sports world,” she said. “Air rifle is the fastest growing youth sport in the country as of the last three years, and holding these competitions brings Hillsdale into the attention of an even broader Christian, conservative, determined community.”