BREAKING: Ancient Oak Gun Club gets new manager

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Schroeder-Manatee Ranch CEO Rex Jensen, right, announced Friday he has hired Jay Stenger as the new manager of the Ancient Oak Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/ LEE WILLIAMS

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch CEO Rex Jensen, right, announced Friday he has hired Jay Stenger as the new manager of the Ancient Oak Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/ LEE WILLIAMS

Lee’s note: Jay Stenger has been chosen as the new manager of the Ancient Oak Gun Club.

We first met Jay when we wrote a story about FWC’s shooting facility at Tenoroc.

Rex Jensen, CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and a great shooting buddy, picked the right guy to run his popular sporting clay club.

Kudos, Rex!

Here’s a story about the hire I just wrote for the paper:

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Rex Jensen, CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, announced Friday he has selected an experienced rangemaster with a diverse skill set as the new manager of the popular Ancient Oak Gun Club in Lakewood Ranch.

Jay Stenger was the rangemaster of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Tenoroc shooting range near Lakeland until Jensen chose him for what is one of the most prominent positions in Southwest Florida’s sport-shooting industry.

“Jay is open minded about where to steer the club, which has to be a lot of different things to a lot of people,” Jensen said. “He’s not focused on a narrow niche. To build a club like we want, we have to cater to all aspects of the shooting community — registered shoots and the average shooter. We need to groom new shooters, kids and men and women who have not yet taken up the sport.”

“This is a dream come true,” Stenger said of his new position.

Stenger and Jensen have plans to add specific offerings for youth.

“I’ve long planned to add a small space for a BB-gun range for kids, and there might be a place for archery, too,” Jensen said. “When I grew up, we had access to these things. But in today’s more urbanized world, you don’t get a chance to do it. To have a place were you can shoot BB-guns or a bow is terribly unique.”

Stenger also pointed out that he, like many seasoned shooters, began learning firearm safety with a BB-gun, and then progressed from a .22 rifle to a .410 shotgun and then eventually to a 12-gauge.

“That doesn’t often happen these days,” he said. “It’s typical for a new shooter to arrive at a range for the first time and take a new AR right out of the box. Starting shooting with airguns is critical to the safety and growth of the shooting sports.”

Experienced shooter

Stenger is a Marine Corps veteran who also spent a decade in civilian law enforcement.

He’s a top-level archer, and an archery instructor-trainer, but it was his business acumen that got him hired.

“He has a diverse background, including finance,” Jensen said. “He’s a great shooter, but he still has to work in the real business world.”

Stenger grew revenue at Tenoroc’s sporting clay course by 30 percent in just 18 months. There, he hosted more than 130 special events with at least 50 sporting clay shooters. Some charity shoots drew more than 300 competitors.

Special events — both highly competitive registered shoots such as the recent 2016 Florida State Sporting Clays Championship and a string of successful charity fundraisers — have long been a staple at Ancient Oak Gun Club. But Jensen said it’s the everyday shooter who is important, which is why the club has kept it’s annual membership fee at $150.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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