Outdoor Adventure Center offers fun for all ages


Built-up stress can take a toll on students, especially during the long winter months. The Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota is a place that helps students endure those cold winter months by giving them a place to shoot firearms and archery in the comfort of a warm building. 

The Outdoor Adventure Center features a 12-lane firearms range and an archery range, which is able to accommodate 40 shooters at one time. The facility is also home to Adventure Alley, a learning experience for younger children. The ranges are open to the public and can be accessed by either purchasing a membership or paying for a day pass. 

“Anybody can use it [the OAC], certainly there’s criteria involved in using any part of it. You have to be able to actually use a firearm and if you can’t then you have to get instruction, same with the archery area,” Executive Director Lisa Bretsch said.

The building also has locker areas that can be rented out for storage of firearms, bows, arrows and other types of equipment. These locker room areas give students that live on campus an additional option for the storage of their firearms. Students that live on campus must check their firearms into DePuy Hall, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building on campus, if they wish to bring their firearms to college. By using the locker areas at the OAC, students can store and use their firearms in one location. 

“It’s a good way to relieve stress. If shooting targets and things like that is how you relieve stress at home, it would be nice to have something like that here at school, especially if you’re from a long ways away and don’t go home for extended periods of time,” said Matt Nelson, a senior agriculture systems technology major.

The OAC also has areas that can be used for workshops and classes. The OAC would enjoy having SDSU students come up with any class or workshop ideas. 

“This area here [the lobby area] is for workshops and classrooms and that type of stuff so those would be run by whatever group is involved with it, so anybody can use it,” Bretsch said.  “We would love to have SDSU kids come and use the whole facility for a lot of different things. Our age limit here is little kids clear up to big kids, so we get everybody here.”

Aside from having range areas for open use, the OAC also offers different types of leagues and classes. The archery range is affiliated with the Easton Foundation and also hosts the Big Sioux Bowmen. 

“Currently the firearms has a Fun and Gun League and there are other leagues planned, this is just the first one that they have done. On the archery side, the Big Sioux Bowmen shoot here, so they do have a league. We also have an OAC league coming up that starts March 1, and anybody can be part of that,” Gail Markham, front desk manager,  said. 

Participants can register for the OAC archery league as teams of five or as individuals where the OAC staff will then place them on a team. 

“We have a 3-D tournament coming up, which is going to be fun. We have archery classes, so anybody can learn to shoot a bow and arrow. We want to do some fun things like … a wood carving class so that might be of interest to some of the art students up on campus…. We are talking about doing an outdoor photography class, so I know that there is photography up on campus, but we’d like to kind of branch out from that a little bit and work with SDSU to get that kind of thing going here. We’ve talked about doing adventure camps. We’ve talked about doing workshops for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, so we’ve just got a whole bunch of stuff on the burner coming up,” Bretsch said.

The OAC, which opened in 2014, is a place for everyone of all ages to experience the thrill of outdoor activities from shooting sports to wood carving, snowshoeing and even cross country skiing. The staff at the OAC is interested in spreading awareness about the facility and the things that can be done there across campus. 

“We are so much wanting to engage SDSU with our facility, so we are wanting to partner with you guys [SDSU] on what ever we can. We invite lots of student groups here. If somebody can figure out something that they want to do here, we’re willing to listen to their idea,” Bretsch said. “We are also really really interested in getting staff and support staff, professors, everybody, the whole campus, if we could get that whole campus to come over here it would be great. …  We are all about partnering with you guys [SDSU] to get you in the door and finding out how much fun it is to come here and do some of our stuff.” 

For more information about classes and leagues offered through the OAC, check the calendar of events on its website. The OAC can also be found on Facebook and Twitter at “Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota.”