By Kevin McClintock
Globe Staff Writer
COLUMBUS, Kan. —
For the third time since 1991, the area’s premier sporting clay resort will host a national event that’s expected to draw thousands of visitors to the area and pump millions of dollars into the economy.
“We're very excited and thrilled to have been chosen,” Claythorne Lodge owner Frieda Lancaster said last week.
Located between Columbus and Oswego, the lodge will host the National Sporting Clay Association’s 2014 U.S. Open, where more than 1,000 competitors with shotguns will be shooting at more than 1 million clay targets. The event will be held June 2 to 8.
Lancaster and husband Sam applied for the event earlier this year.
“In our case we’ve (hosted) U.S. Opens in the past, so they were familiar with us,” she said.
Mike Greninger, of the Southwest Missouri Lodging Association, helped pitch the area and its assets to support the event.
Claythorne Lodge, which started out as a farm and has grown to more than 600 acres, previously hosted the U.S. Open in 2001 and 2006, as well as the World Championship in 2003.
“This event is expected to bring nearly $2 million into the regional economy; this will be through lodging, eating at restaurants, shopping at retail shops and gas stations,” Frieda Lancaster said.
The lodge will be hiring additional employees during that week, as well as accommodating nearly 50 volunteers and 100 referees. Overall, 4,000 visitors are expected.
Claythorne is capable of accommodating 1,000-plus shooters across five courses, each with a sporting clay setup mimicking the natural movements of top game species: teal, dove, quail, pheasant and rabbit.
Between now and June 2014, Frieda Lancaster said, the resort staff hopes to design new shooting courses, erect a new pavilion for shooters to relax in and make improvements to various roads in and around the lodge.
“It’s a two-year commitment to prepare everything for 1,000 competitors to come in here and for us to be able to support them,” she said. “But it’s a plus for us (and a plus) for the entire area.”