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Tucked back in an industrial park off Lima Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana is The XCount, an indoor range offering high school and club team participation, a league for disabled veterans, Boy Scout Merit Badge Clinics, an American Heritage Girls Badge Program, Eddie Eagle Workshops, and community outreach to help the public better understand the safe use of firearms.  

And area schools are coming on board.

Diane Rice, vice president of The X Count and who runs the 20-lane indoor shooting range, tells the story of a high school principal she approached about forming a team. When it was time to decide, the principal was in favor of it, but it wasn’t because he had known Rice and her shooting-coach husband, Gregg, for years.

The principal, doing a little investigating himself, discovered that schools with rifle teams tend to be feeder schools to the Ivy League. People on rifle teams tend to be smart and highly disciplined, which is something you need when it comes to competition shooting with precision rifles.

That’s understandable since the target used in competition isn’t a big bullseye but a tiny dot about as big as the lead in a lead pencil.

Forming rifle teams and running a range that is in use practically every night is expensive.

Accumulating an air rifle, a precision small bore rifle, sites and other pieces of equipment can cost about $15,000, so equipping a team of six or seven people can be costly.

Some foundations promote shooting sports that offer matching grants to help get new teams off the ground.

But while The XCount is only 5 years old, the shooting range itself needs work, and that’s not covered in the grants.

Rice says the building, constructed in the 1970s, needs work on its facade. The bathrooms need to be made handicapped accessible (there are handicapped teams that train and compete). The place needs $80,000 worth of HVAC work. Rice wants to install additional safety walls. A loading dock needs to be filled in and a couple of overhead doors need to be removed and replaced with regular walls.

So facility, whose website is TheXCount.com and is on Facebook, has launched a fundraising drive called A Hundred Ways To Help, asking people to make one-time large gifts, small gifts, recurring gifts, to sponsor an athlete, and other donations.

More and more high school shooting teams are signing up to compete at The XCount, but with a goal of half a million dollars, they need assistance. Think you can help? Please go [HERE] to pitch in!