By FHSU FOUNDATION
A generous $60,000 lead gift from Lorena Kellogg and her late husband, Wilmer, will initiate the construction of a new training center to accommodate the expanding Shotgun Team at Fort Hays State University. The training center will be built at the Hays City Sportsmen’s Club just north of Hays on the 183 bypass and I-70 and will offer a large meeting room, reloading room, and office.
Upon the Shotgun Team’s establishment in 2005, the group had only five members. Seventeen years later, the award-winning team’s roster boasts more than 30 members. While the co-ed team works hard, practicing a variety of shotgun events weekly and traveling across the country to competitions, the group prioritizes bolstering the sense of unity needed to be successful.
With members from more than seven states and representing sixteen different academic majors, the Shotgun Team members dedicate themselves to maintaining good academic standing despite a demanding practice schedule.
“One thing I enjoy most about the shooting team is the comradery and friendship that we all share and the want and will to succeed,” said Shotgun Team member Lane Sorenson.
“My teammates and coaches have pushed me to become an extraordinary shooter, and I am forever thankful for the memories and friendships that have been created in my five years,” said Sorenson’s team member, Hailey Zulkoski.
“The FHSU Shotgun Team represents and demonstrates many of the qualities this university is built upon; hard work, leadership, dedication, discipline, and the desire and willingness to succeed,” Assistant Coach and FHSU admissions counselor Jerrod Lies said.
No matter rain or snow, the Shotgun Team commits as much time as possible to improve their skills for the team’s good, even if it means shoveling the sidewalks clear of three feet of snow to practice at the Hays City Sportsmen’s Club three miles north of Hays.
This dedication has earned the team eight national championships and produces members who rank All-American status at ACUI national competitions.
“This group of young FHSU students who represent the Shotgun Team and Fort Hays State has amassed an incredible array of accomplishments,” head coach, Duane Shepherd, said.
“Their commitment toward professional development and the shotgun program has furthered the mission of Fort Hays State and the Shotgun Team to a national level of recognition,” he adds. “Fort Hays State’s Shotgun Team has been a national powerhouse for years, and it’s time they have a facility that reflects their success.”
The team continues to welcome new members thanks to their growing national recognition and the low tuition offered at Fort Hays State. Each summer, team members travel across the Midwest to talk about the group and its importance in their lives.
Last summer’s journey resulted in contacts across nine states, including young shooters, parents, coaches, and event coordinators. During these conversations, parents often comment on the affordability of Fort Hays State provided by the regional tuition rate that offers in-state tuition to students from Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Though the team, which is not associated with FHSU Athletics, does not offer scholarships to its members, it covers targets, ammunition, travel, and other costs necessary for succeeding in competitions. Students often receive scholarships from the university or academic departments instead of athletic scholarships.
As the team continues to grow, so does the need for additional space. Thanks to the support from Lorena and her late husband Wilmer’s lead gift, the new home of the FHSU Shotgun Team will be constructed at the Hays City Sportsmen’s Club.
The center will provide office and meeting space for team members and coaches, as well as storage for supplies and equipment. Additionally, the new training center will offer shooting simulation and allow for on-site reloading equipment.
“I am excited to see the program excel with the construction of the new building. It will help enhance the program and hopefully help with future recruitment,” Zulkoski said.
Wilmer and Lorena’s contributions to FHSU include their membership in the Wooster Society, a group of individuals who have arranged gifts to the FHSU Foundation through planned giving, and as Difference Makers, those who have strengthened Tiger Athletics by giving a minimum of $5,000 annually to athletic programs.
While the Kellogg’s lead gift provides the funding necessary to begin the project, community support and amplification will ensure the team receives the funding needed to make the center a reality.
“Thank you to Lorena and her late husband, Wilmer, for their support over the years and for making this facility possible with their generous lead gift. Their continuous support has helped our team reach new heights year after year, and we cannot thank them enough for their everlasting support,” Sorenson adds.
To contribute to the FHSU Shotgun Team and this new facility, visit https://foundation.fhsu.edu/donate and list “Shotgun Team” as your area of designation. For additional information, please contact Jason Williby with the Fort Hays State University Foundation at 785-628-5620 or firstname.lastname@example.org or head coach Duane Shepherd at 785-628-4374 or email@example.com.