The Nebraska Territorial Rangers' (NTR) humble beginnings began in 1996 with five members. We had attended a couple of cowboy shoots and it was so much fun, we decided what the world needed was another place and another weekend to play cowboy & shoot the guns of the Old West! Thus NTR came into being. Our first match was held on April 20, 1997, and we had all of 11 shooters attend. We’ve done a little growing since then! A lot of hard work, planning, money, and time have been invested since that first shoot.
NTR’s first range was located south of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. Attendance at the first couple of shoots was small. However, things quickly changed. The shooting line improved almost monthly—jail, fort, and sheriff’s office were built. The monthly attendance at our shoots continued to grow as well as the membership. When the monthly matches started numbering 50 to 60 shooters, we were out growing the original range & parking area. It was time to find a new place to play cowboy and shoot our beloved Old West firearms.
The year was 1999. It had been three years since NTR’s inception, and the search was on for a new range. As some other clubs can attest to, this is no easy task! This is especially a difficult task in eastern Nebraska where places to shoot are not plentiful and the population is dense. So, late one night the Rangers crossed the Missouri River into the state of Iowa and commandeered the perfect range. (Now, this ain’t exactly the way it happened, but it makes a good story!) To this day, NTR’s range is in “occupied Iowa” on a range between Logan and Woodbine.
After commandeering a range, all the stage fronts, picnic shelter, and our first prized outhouse had to be moved. The site for the new range was overgrown with trees and brush. That’s when we found out just how dedicated some of our members were. Every weekend was a work weekend. NTR's present range was discovered on March 20, 1999; we held the first shoot of the season one month later on April 25th. The cowboy spirit and work ethic came through!
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In April 2006 NTR purchased the 14 acres we had developed and played on for 7 years. In 2014 we make the final land payment. Today NTR’s range has 10 wonderful scenarios nestled in the hills and trees, ample parking, covered picnic area, camping with electrical hookups, and a range house with electricity. The stage fronts consist of a livery stable, mercantile, bank/cantina, fort, sheriff’s office (including an original jail over 100 years old), Victorian hotel, saloon, and grave yard. In addition to the stage fronts, we have many props we incorporate into our scenarios. NTR’s philosophy is to pour the shooters’ fees back into “their range.”
As was mentioned in the previous section, we have done some growing since that first shoot in 1996 when 11 shooters attended. Since 2007 we have averaged around 55 shooters at our monthly events! We currently have over 120 members from 4 states.
In September 1999, NTR hosted our first annual shoot. We have held an annual match every year until 2020 when interest declined due to the loss of our chuckwagon and our top retail vendor. Instead we are offering a Wild Bunch Match and Long Range Rifle match on the Saturday before the monthly shoot in September. Our shooters prefer this arrangement and it is a better cost for entertainment value.
We hold seven monthly matches a year. We have a “Dress in Your Best Duds” annual meeting, fundraiser, and banquet every year in January. This event has proven to be a social event our members and guests look forward to every year.
Well, that’s the story of the Nebraska Territorial Rangers’ journey to this point in our history. NTR shoots are held on the 4th Sunday of the month, April through October. Come out and spend the day with us. We’ll do our best to make you feel welcome and ensure you have a fun and safe time.
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Our goal and purpose is to provide a place for the old west action shooter to have FUN in a SAFE shooting environment. Our range officers/posse marshals are trained Range Safety Officers. Members work weekly throughout the shooting season on the range making improvements. We want to make Gun Fire in the Hills one of the best old west style ranges in the country. (We've been told by many people visiting that we already are there!) We strive to make our shooting scenarios not over complicated without being boring.
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