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Officials take first steps to open shooting range near Cameo

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Bench installed to discourage random shooting; spring dedication planned By Gary Harmon

CVA Helps to Create a Shooting Complex in Colorado

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Officials take first steps to open shooting range near Cameo _ GJSentinel

Black Powder Shooting Ranges

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Colonial Williamsburg Foundation retained CVA to provide a period correct "Musket Shooting

Static, Dynamic, and Inter-active Ranges

Static, Dynamic, and Inter-active Ranges

Over the last 15 years, the cost of shooting range construction has escalated beyond the r

Baffles, Berms, and Backstops

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Pursuant to prior range industry paper on this subject, one specifically by my good friend


Black Powder Shooting Ranges

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation retained CVA to provide a period correct “Musket Shooting Range” Design that incorporate details to meet industry standard and safety features. The Musket Range is one of the area’s first-ever musket ranges. Colonial Williamsburg is looking at the shooting facility as a way to increase tourism by touting the musket firing range both as an engaging historical guest attraction and as a method for a more hands on approach when teaching visitor’s about 18th century America.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation relied on CVA’s design for obtaining permitting and performing the construction of the musket range to teach more visitors about the heritage attraction. The range premiered on March 2016 and will offering its guest an opportunity to experience history. The guests will be able to learn about and fire two historical flintlocks, the Brown Bess musket and a Fowling Piece.

For more information about the Colonial Williamsburg Musket Range experience follow the link provided.


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Clem Theed

By Nat Arenson 12/2004


The Florida Pistol Shooting Fraternity is delighted that material was gathered here in to permanently memorialize Clem Theed. It is opined that no one deserves this recognition more than this outstanding individual.


Clem made friends over a number of years, who admired him immensely.


Clem was a lawyer and respected in his field. Unfortunately, we are certain that his practice suffered as a result of the time spent pursuing his favorite avocation and the promotion, development, and support of the Shooting Sports, both inFloridaand nationally.


Clem can well be considered the father, or grandfather, of Shooting Programs inFlorida. He was directly involved in the creation, development, and improvement of severalFloridaranges.


It is a fact that Clem used his legal and persuasive talents to have the drainage district in southFloridato dredge around an area that was then set aside for aShootingRange. Somehow, Clem’s name became attached to the property, a shooting range was developed and became known as the Trail Glades Range. The property was then turned over to the county, with the stipulation that it be utilized as a range in perpetuity. Now that’s an accomplishment!


Clem was also active Nationally in the Shooting Sports and served on the NRA Board of Directors from ‘52 to ‘55, and then again from ‘57 to ‘64. Doc Arenson, from Pensacola remembers beginning his tour on the NRA Board in ‘67, and understand from many that Clem contributed substantially to NRA’s success.


Clem was a delight to know. Quiet, unassuming, never seeking recognition or praise for his many accomplishments. Clem also had a terrific sense of humor. At times that humor was a little on the mischievous side. One episode, which speaks for itself, Clem, Mike Santanello, and Doc Arenson were in the Miami Airport. They came to see Doc off after the Flamingo Matches. They were sitting at a counter with a cute waitress taking the order. Clem was wearing a bolo tie that he had woven out of long strands of black and orange licorice. He proceeded to tell the waitress that this was his first flight and that he was very nervous. He inquired about flight safety, and intimated how scared he was, and on and on. While describing his fear of flying, he inserted the lower end of his bolo tie into his mouth, started munching on it, at the same time describing his terror. The poor waitress became justifiably startled, wide-eyed, open-mouthed and looked as though she was about to faint. She may not have recovered yet.


In 1957, in support of the Pensacola Rifle and Pistol Club’s Fiesta of Five Flags Pistol Regional, Clem hired a full-sized coach bus, loaded it with pistol shooters, and they drove all the way from Miami to Pensacola to participate in the tournament. To commemorate the occasion, Clem presented the Pensacola Club with a plaque decorated with a pistol and a protruding alligator head. The plaque proclaimed “The Palmetto Pistol Club was here”.


Get the picture of Clem Theed?

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Rambling From A Past President and Pistol Competitor

By:  Clark Vargas

April, 2008


The Dixie Matches in Floridadate back to 1955 and were hosted by the Jacksonville Police Pistol Club (GR&PC).  The Dixie Matches were then hosted at the JacksonvillePoliceRangeby Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club member, V.V. Voght, who passed January 27th, 2002.


For many years, the winter circuit which started the Nations shooting year for over 400 competitors were  the Annual Dixie Matches at Jacksonville, followed by warm up at the Flamingo Matches in Miami Trail Glades Shooting Park, then the ”Big Top” at Mid-Winters at Tampa and finally the fun match in  Fiesta of Five Flags at Pensacola. These were the matches that made up the nation’s conventional pistol “Winter Circuit”.  The two matches fired the weekends preceding were hosted by Von V. Vought at theJacksonvillePoliceRangeand Clem Theed at theTrailGladesRangeinMiamithe National Mid-Winter championships were hosted by Henry Huerta, these 4 matches served as a Mid-Winter’s warm-up to the National Matches.  The Fiesta of Five Flags was a post Mid-Winter fun match and  was  match hosted for many years by renowned physician and Pistol shooter, Dr. Nat Arenson, atPensacola,Florida.


TheFloridamid-winter circuit matches were in preparation for the National matches atCampPerryin July, they were well attended by 800 to 1000 attendees if you counted the 4 services support personnel with their 3 to 4 each “Gun Smith” support trailers, and personnel.


The mid-winters matches themselves ceased  atTampain early 1990’s with the closing of theTampaPoliceRange.


The Dixie Matches were held annually from 1955 through 1971, a total of 16 matches, at the oldJacksonvillePoliceRangeat Imeson airport.  After an absence of 20 years, the GR&PC, under the guidance of National Champion Joe Carrapellotti (Navy) and Clark Vargas, the President of FSSA, assumed sponsorship of the tournament.  The first of the new series of Dixie Matches was held in March 1991 and it has since become an annual event at the Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club.  In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Dixie Matches have taken the place as the premier Mid-Winters Conventional Pistol Regional Tournament in the Nation.


Normal attendance to the Dixie Matches has been just over 125 more or less of the best National pistol shooters and service teams.


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Clement Theed, Former Judge, NRA Director

March 1990,MiamiHerald Obit./ Vargas 12/03


“There have been no major improvements since 1958: “The land has already been acquired for expansion.”


Since the addition of the Junior Rifle program in 1957, popularity ofTrailGladesRangehas continuously increased.


“It is no wonder that the range is so popular.”  A youngster can come and shoot all day for a 25 cent fee.  He must furnish his own ammunition, but the range can furnish guns, pads and scopes.”


“The success of our junior program is due largely to the number of qualified supervisors we have who are willing to donate their time to teach youngsters.”


“At last count we had 511 boys and girls active in the junior program.”


“We have competition once a month which is larger than any other city has as its annual match.”


“Trail Glades” Range should be expanded from the present 69 shooting positions to 100.  “Booths should be built around the positions to protect shooters from wind and noise and a 300 meter range for high powered rifles should be added.


With these changes, the Pan-Am rifle matches could very well be attracted here.


At present, there are three rifle matches that make up the most important competition on an international scale.  These are the Olympics, World Championships and Pan-American Games.  The three are held on alternate years with one year marked for lay-off.


This is an off year for international shooting competition.  Next year, world championships will be fired inGermany.  The following year (1967) will be the Pan-am competition, followed in ’68 by the Olympics, Clem Theed said in the Miami News in 1967.


March 1990, the Miami Herald reported on Clem Theed’s death. On the serious side, Mr. Theed’s accomplishments included roles as a justice of the peace; a columnist for The Miami Metropolis, which became The Miami Daily News; a member of the South Florida Flood Control District, where he worked for conservation of water supplies forEvergladesNational Park.


He also was appointed to the Dade County Budget Committee and helped acquire land for the county’sSportsmanPark“TrailGladesRanges,” where he helped develop the target turning machinery. The pistol and rifle ranges at the park were names in his honor in 1982.


Guns were a passion for Mr. Theed, who was once national director of the National Rifle Association. In the 1940’s, he developed and appeared in Columbia Pictures movie short on trick shooting, Trigger Magic. In 1971, he was named “Man of the Year” by the NRA.


From 1946 to 1951, he served as a municipal and police court judge inSouth Miami. He was past president of the Southwest Kiwanis Club, past commander of the Lindley DeGarmo Post, No. 70 and past commander of the Dade County Commanders Council.


Two of Mr. Theed’s pranks are classics in the family lore, said his son Robert Theed.


One time Mr. Theed cut his finger shaving and took advantage of the injury to spread blood across his neck and face. He lay on the bathroom floor for almost an hour before his unsuspecting wife, Etta walked in.


“Mother screamed,” Robert Theed said.


Another time, Mr. Theed purloined a three pound sirloin that Mrs. Theed was preparing for a company dinner. He smeared a bit of the sirloin drippings on the floor for the family dog.


“She assumed the dog had eaten the steak,” said Robert Theed.


Clem Theed was a member of the Range Development Committee of the National Rifle Association (NRA) ofAmerica. He served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the NRA for 10 years and after his retirement from legal practice in 1962, he served as an NRA Field Representative until May 31, 1967.


He was one of the country’s top pistol competitors for over 15 years and was instrumental in establishing theTrailGladesRangeinDade County,Florida, now known as the “Clem Theed” Range. Clem spent a lifetime building ranges and assisting in range design and range construction.


He was a life-long supporter of the NRA and the principles for which it stands, and having been honored by the Association for his valued contributions was names as the recipient of the prestigious NRA Public Service Award for 1971.

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The Florida Sport Shooting Association

P. Daniels / C. Vargas 12/2/03


By the late 1970′s there were separate state associations for Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun. In each of the other states in the United States there was a single state association and there was a desire at NRA that Floridashould have one single state association also.  South Carolinaand Californiamay have had separate Police Combat State Associations that were approved by the NRA. About that time the NRA created the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and designated it as the official state association from Florida.  The expectation was that members of the existing state associations would merge into the new official state association. Some did, but they also maintained their membership in their original shooting discipline associations. NRA competition rule books require, then and now,  that  applications for state championship matches must be approved by the official state association. These applications were being forwarded to the Unified Sportsmen of Florida for approval.
Early in it’s existence the Unified Sportsmen of Florida became a legislative activist organization focusing primarily upon anti-gun laws and identifying pro-gun candidates for elective office.  Considerable NRA/ILA  resources and money were used to help accomplish this.  About 1980 the leadership of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida voluntarily relinquished the Official NRA State Association designation  and became a State Association “Other.” Approval for state championship matches reverted back to the original Florida discipline associations.
About 1982 a Task Force on State Associations was appointed by the NRA President. In it’s final report the Task Force recommended that each state have a single official state association. There was little interest by the four state associations in Florida to voluntarily merge.
About 1984 a group ofFlorida competitive shooters involved in “Silhouette Shooting” made application to NRA to be recognized as the official state association for silhouette.  This served as the catalyst for NRA staff to make a recommendation to the NRA Board of Directors that a new state association be created inFlorida and that the separate disciplines be mandated to merge.
In 1985 the NRA Board of Directed passed a resolution creating the Florida Sport Shooting Association and directed that it become operational January 1, 1987.  It directed the separate officialFlorida state association status of Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun would be discontinued after that date.  During 1986 the NRA Field Representative staff hosted several organizational meetings with leaders of the separate associations and the “silhouette” shooters, which resulted in a set of bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for the Florida Sport Shooting Association.  Three director positions were created for each of the shooting disciplines of Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Silhouette with autonomy to direct the affairs of their discipline. Six Directors at Large, Legislative, Editor and Junior positions were created. .  At the final meeting of the planning group late in 1986 a slate of candidates were nominated. These new FSSA officers were then elected at the first meeting of the FSSA, which was held at theTampaPoliceRanges in January 1987. Some time later three director positions for Police Combat and a single Membership Director was created.


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Trail Glade Ranges, The Sports Park Beautiful

from the 20th Annual Flamingo Open Pistol Championship 1957


Jut how did this splendid public tax-supported park come about? These spacious lawns and bright blue skies, waving palms, modern facilities and superb sportsman accommodations did not ‘just happen’.


Indeed not, they are the result of long-range planning and a determination to keep the shooting sport alive, and to encourage the youth of our area in the true and proper use of firearms – the American tradition.


Here, everyone interested in the legal and proper use of firearms, for practice, or for the more advanced forms of competition in their chosen sport, may enjoy southFlorida’s fabulous climate surrounded by the best that a progressive park department can make available. It is without any doubt a shooters paradise, as it has been so often referred to by our thousands of guests from the north, who have come here to enjoy the ultimate in well organized, but friendly, competition,


Here, lazy but friendly ‘gators’ swim silently closer to receive any food offering that the interested tourists and Floridians alike care to toss to them.


Many varieties of edible fishes around in this deep quiet sixteen hundred foot body of water, provided you have a true fisherman’s patience, and have picked the right ‘bait’.


The colorful covered firing line, the well-kept range lawns and the green-grassed retaining walls give the competitions a perfect foreground and backstop, against which to shoot.


This view of the combined trap and skeet ranges, embraces just one half of this most modern layout.


There are four, complete, combined, electrically operated fields. All buildings, including the storage building serving as buffers between the fields, walks and other facilities are concrete and of the latest design.


The shooter fires over the vast flat miles of the everglades, with a perfect blue sky background.


The trap houses are built on small peninsulas projecting into the quiet lake that surrounds the entire shooting area. The walks and well-kept lawns are the finest to be found in the country.


How was all this done, and for the first time in the entire country? Well, it was done! And can be done again. However, it will be possible only when you have that perfect combination of a live-wire public body, such as out board of county commissioners, composed of men who realize the importance of the sport, the need for a public park of this nature, and who are implemented by a progressive, forward looking and aggressive park director, who is willing to plan and create such a facility. And to this, a determined group of sports people backing a man with some vision and understanding of the needs of those who participate in the sports, who has ideas and ideals and you have such a park.  Once you get it, us it, improve it and above all – keep it!

Let’s take a stroll and look over the “TrailGladesRanges” of today


We will start from the native coral rock observation tower where we can get a good view of the entire layout.


We must remember that this park is in the very heart of theEvergladesand had to be ‘filled’ from an average of 4-feet, to an elevation of 8.5 feet, so as to be safely above flood levels. This was a bold undertaking, but eventually accomplished.


From up here we can get a good view of the lagoon, and part of the picnic grounds – back there, among the palms and tropical shrubs, is this very sociable “coffee shop”, where all the snacks and cold drinks, etc., can be had at all times. This cool and modern spot is often used for club meetings and other social events, and is usually ‘headquarters’ for all the “bull sessions”.


On the west lawn at the rear of the combined pistol and rifle firing line, is the very modern combined Range Officer’s Stand Statistical Office and main restroom. Above that, in the distance, is the country’s most up-to-date combined trap and skeet range. It is a beautiful facility with well-kept lawns and trees.


A bit closer to the trap and skeet area, from the tower, we see the pool in the foreground is at normal glade level and is a haven for wild duck, coots and wading birds, which rapidly become used to the sound of firing and literally feed under the muzzles of the shotguns. Fish are everywhere for the taking.


Coming back again to the seventy point firing line which can be converted from rifle use to pistol in less than an hour, and visa versa for any ‘big time’ tournament use, we find ample proof of the well kept lawns and facilities.


The same range set up for 100-yards for smallbore rifle. It is converted into a 50-yard pistol match with the ‘rolling targets’ ready to move to all recognized ranges as in the “Sawgrass” or the “Flamingo”. It’s as simple as that!


The 17 acres of beautiful lawn are dressed up by the colorful striped awnings covering the firing line where it is a simple matter to get that lazy vacation time feeling whenever you come out to enjoy this shooters paradise.


Please notice that the range is equipped with very modern aluminum folding chairs, sturdy picnic tables and every other convenience that the most particular shooter could wish for.


We’ve mentioned the Coffee Shop nestling among the palms on the banks of the Lagoon, be we haven’t gone inside for a ‘snack’. Sometimes it is quiet and cool, other times its fairly jumping with enthusiastic people from all over the nation. Shooters and just some everyday people.


Everybody patronizes the Snack Bar, young and old. You’ll meet old friends and new here.


You will meet old buddies here, like Captain ‘Dick’ Hanson, ofMarylandand Handsome ‘Herb’ Hollister, one of the new NRA directors, fromBoulder,Colorado. Yeah, you even meet guys like Al Freeland ofRock Island,Illinois.


Oh yes, we have cool shade and balmy breezes and tropical sunshine and do those Yankees love it!


Please notice as we go along, these smallbore bugs shoot lying down and rest standing up, while out pistol friends do the opposite.


Even though everyone is urged to use and enjoy these marvelous facilities, there must be interested one, and some sponsoring organizations, to formulate plans, arrange training programs, and to conduct tournaments. The Dade County Sports Park Association coordinates the activities of the ‘home Clubs’ and we see a new and important ground in action. The Florida State Rifle Association’s electing offers, make plans for the 1957-1958 season, under the inspiration of one of the ‘salts’ of the earth, Frank L. Wyman, official NRA representative.


All of these organizations, which represent every branch of the shooting world, as well as archery, skisk, air-boating are the ‘heartbeat’ of the Park. By cooperating with the Dade County Commission and the Dade County Parks Department, we feel we present an unbeatable team, and in every way we feel we justify the tax dollars that have made this park possible.


Sometimes we have more than 300 rapid shooters, who swarm down on us taking over the whole park and shoot up the whole works for a week at a time. That is what the layout is for — more power to them. We then have the smaller, though equally as enthusiastic groups who shoot and play and yet they still turn out National Records. This is the ideal spot to revive old friendships and make new ones. There is just something in the air—


However, for the greater portion of the time, the ranges are the gathering sports for young couples, newlyweds or just courting, who are interested in the sport of shooting and the club atmosphere.


Or, often as not, whole families like the ‘shooting torschs” who believe the sport is good for every member of the family and prove it every weekend. It is fun for everybody, so why shouldn’t the whole family be interested?


We told you how we shift and convert the Range from rifle to pistol and back again, well sometimes we clear the entire range when some other exhibition shooter puts on a special exhibition. For instance, the first Atom Bomb was to be exploded on the Gold Coast of Florida. It was a blast.


Of course, we have sent a bill of his sponsors for replacement of a 30-foot area of new lawn left by the blast.


I doubt seriously if we have overlooked a thing for your comfort and convenience.


We must admit that we are not able to squeeze in a conventional landing field or strip for visiting flyers, but our Marine Corps and Coast Guard friends do drop in by ‘copter’ now and then , and if they are in a good frame of mine, they dust off our parking lots and driveways. Mighty efficient as a sweeper, you can be sure.


During the 1957 Flamingo Open Pistol Championships, we were honored by a visit from Lieutenant General, Floyd L. Parks, US Army (Ret.), the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association of America. His purpose was to greet the competitors and giveTrailGladeRangesa close inspection.


All too soon, the general’s allotted time flew by. We did get some work done on the new big bore range plans and then the Marine Corps chopper arrived to take the general to his waiting plane. We discussed the shooting game and its future and the visit was a complete success from our point of view.  The general was well pleased with the situation inSouth Floridaand was in hearty accord with the views of both Col. Lepping as NRA referee gave us a hearty handshake to seal the deal and we honestly feel we are on the right path for the future of the shooting game in this area.


We said goodbye to a grand man, in whose hands we feel the Association and everything it stands for is safe and headed for a glorious future.


The Palmetto Pistol Club ofMiami


This Club has assumed all the responsibility for the Pistol Division under the special Park setup, under whichTrailGladeRangesfunctions with the aid of the Dade County Sports Park Association, which assigns certain duties and responsibilities on the carious shooting clubs in theDadeCountyarea for Training, control and competitive programming.



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