Smithfield Sportsman’s Club celebrates 100th anniversary

Smithfield Sportsman’s Club celebrates 100th anniversary

President of the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club, Jonathan Hirons. (Breeze photos by Charlie Lawrence)

SMITHFIELD – A century after its opening, the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club is just as active as ever.

Located at 14 Walter Carey Road in Smithfield, the club was founded in 1917 as the Georgiaville Foxhunters Club.

“It started out small, originally as an organization where you would take your dogs to hunt foxes,” President John Hirons said.

The club purchased its first acre of land at the modern location in 1938. Today the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club stretches over 21 acres of rural Smithfield.

“This is a beautiful property,” Hirons said. “We’ve come a long way.”

The club was founded to promote game conservation and legislation favorable to sportsmen, but Hirons emphasized that its chief responsibility is providing a safe and fun environment for all sportsmen activities.

Members can spend an entire day at the club and stack each hour with a different activity, bird watching in the morning, an afternoon at the indoor 50-foot gun range, post-lunch fishing in the stocked pond, and a bit of archery practice before dinner.

Approximately 350 members take advantage of the sprawling club, of which 55 are “lifetime and honorary members” who are exempt from paying dues.

The membership requirement does not turn away interested sportsmen. Hirons said the club has a wait list of more than 20 people at any given time.

The club also offers programs for the public, among them a junior rifle program for minors, a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management hunter safety program, an archery program, and an annual field day.

“We try to stay active in the community,” Hiron said.

The club also contributes funds to community causes.

This past year it donated $500 to the Gallagher Middle School Science Olympiad team, which qualified for the National Tournament.

The Sportsman’s Club has also formed a committee to assess the feasibility of creating a high school scholarship for the next academic year.

For community members who wish to learn more about the club, or simply share a love of the outdoors, Hirons suggests attending this year’s field day this Saturday, Sept. 17.

Held at the Sportsman’s Club from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the day-long event will include a petting zoo, raffles, fishing derby, food vendors, hay rides, and a turkey shoot. Better yet, Hiron added, “it’s free admission.”

Bob Carroll, of North Providence, volunteers his time to help get the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club ready for its annual Field Day this Saturday.