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June 14, 2007

IDNR completes construction of new skeet fields at WSRC
Visitors to complex can now enjoy expanded recreation options and new restaurant

SPRINGFIELD –Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced construction has been completed on 24 new skeet fields at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC).  Inclusion of skeet shooting at the complex expands the recreational options at the venue, which already boasts over three and half miles of trap fields, two sporting clay courses, and a cowboy shooting area.  The director also announced regional favorite and nationally acclaimed 17th Street Bar & Grill will serve as the new restaurateur at the Sparta complex on an interim basis.

“Interest in the complex from shooting enthusiasts has been tremendous in the year since we opened,” said Dir. Flood.  I expect the addition of skeet shooting will add to that enthusiasm as visitors begin to realize fully what this facility has to offer.  And with Mike Mills and the reputation of 17th Street joining us, I anticipate we’ll see an even greater number of visitors come out to enjoy a good meal.”

The 1,600 acre WSRC now includes 24 skeet fields.  Construction of the skeet houses began in late winter and was completed in early June.  The state’s Capital Development Board managed the project.  Construction was completed by H2K Construction and Clinton Electric, and Knight & Associates served as project designers.

Skeet is a form of shooting where participants aim at clay targets that move horizontally across the air.  Approximately 225 shooters participated in the first skeet event, the Briley Open, held last weekend, June 8-10.

In addition to expansion of the sports facilities, Director Flood also announced that Mike Mills and his 17th Street Bar & Grill, headquartered in Murphysboro, have taken over the food and beverage services at the complex.  The former contract was held by Ned Kelly’s of Bloomington, Inc.

In the world of barbecue, champion pitmaster Mike Mills is affectionately known as “The Legend.”  He presides over the pits at his four nationally acclaimed 17th Street Bar & Grill restaurants in Southern Illinois and three Memphis Championship Barbecue restaurants in Las Vegas.  In the early 1990s he was co-captain of the Apple City Barbecue team, one of the most celebrated teams on the circuit. He is a four-time World Champion and three-time Grand World Champion of Memphis in May, otherwise known as the “Super Bowl of Swine.”  He is also the barbecue guru and a partner at Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City. Mike’s book, Peace, Love, and Barbecue, was nominated for a 2006 James Beard Award and was named the 2006 National Barbecue Association Book of the Year.

“Barbecue is all about family, friends and love – similar to the sport of shooting,” said Mike Mills, owner of 17th Street.  “We’re a family-owned business and our success is due in part to the many supporters we have in this region.  We’re proud to be part of the WSRC.  Our vision is to provide a place for families and friends to gather, as well as hold world-class special events and meetings in the beautiful banquet facility.”

The 17th Street Bar & Grill location at the WSRC features many of the same great tastes as their other restaurants, including its award-winning barbecue, in addition to steak, seafood, pasta, and many other offerings.  They can fulfill any special menu requests for catered events.  The restaurant is now catering special events at the WSRC and will be open for daily service beginning later this summer.  For more information about the restaurant, visit www.17thstreetbarbecue.com or call 618-684-8902 {Murphysboro office} or 618-295-2754 {the restaurant at the WSRC}.

About the WSRC

The WSRC is state of-the-art 1,600-acre shooting facility which features 120 trap fields extending along a 3 ½ mile shooting line and more than two dozen skeet fields.  Public shooting opportunities (except during major shooting events) are available on trap fields nearest the WSRC Events Center and vendor mall, and on the skeet fields for the convenience of recreational shooters.  Open shooting is available from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily at a cost of $5 for each 25-target round. 

WSRC Facts

* 120 Trap fields extending 3.5 miles

* 2 Sporting Clay Courses

* 24 Skeet Fields

* Cowboy Action Shooting Corral

* 3-D Archery Area (Late summer)

* 1000 RV Campsites, 750 include water, sewer and electric hookups

* 34,000 square foot Special Event Center

* Vendor Mall with over 34 shooting sport related shops

* Full service restaurant


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