Civilian Marksmanship Program

With programming headquarters and facilities on the grounds of the Camp Perry Ohio National Guard Training Facility in Port Clinton, the Civilian Marksmanship Program offers marksmanship opportunities not only to those locally but to those around the country as well.

CMP, a nonprofit organization, provides an opportunity for people to participate in marksmanship with an emphasis on safety and youth.

“Our focus is on young people, and they are a great group who work hard to shoot well and responsibly,” said Steven Cooper, CMP’s marketing, education and training manager. “Many are very good at their craft.”

Whether an experienced marksman or a beginner who has never fired before, CMP welcomes everyone to safely participate in the sport. CMP offers training, safety education and competitions in various shooting disciplines including air rifle, pistol, and high-power and long-range programs.

Civilian Marksmanship Program
Steven Cooper and Dana Lynd, assistant programs chief for CMP

According to Cooper, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, in some form, has been around for more than 100 years, since the time of President Theodore Roosevelt.

In order to improve marksmanship among young Americans, Roosevelt created an early version of the Civilian Marksmanship Program when he influenced the U.S. Congress to create the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice – the foundation of today’s CMP.

In 1996, CMP went from that original government program to a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit program, officially known as The Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety, Inc., which propelled new opportunities, growth and interest in the program. 

Today, CMP’s functions are to instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship, promote safety in the use of firearms, conduct competitions in the use of firearms, and award competitors with trophies, prizes, badges and other insignia.

The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center

Competitive shooters from all over the country use CMP at Camp Perry. The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility at Camp Perry, contains an 80-point air gun range with electronic targets and large monitors overhead to track scoring. Spectators are able to follow live competitions in person or online.

Gary Anderson, a farm boy from Nebraska, is a self-taught shooter who has won two Olympic gold medals, seven world championships, 16 national championships, and holds six world records. He has won more Olympic and world championship three-position titles than any other American in history.

Today, Anderson remains a mentor for new and experienced marksmen around the country and is a regular face in the crowd during CMP competitions at Camp Perry.

“We are very fortunate to still have him involved and dedicated to the program. A lot of the programs were developed under him, so we are where we are today because of him,” said Dana Lynd, CMP’s assistant programs chief.

CMP has 5,500 affiliated clubs around the U.S. many of which funnel competitors’ involvement, and CMP provides education and competitions to support them.

“The individuals might start out with a pump-action pellet gun and if they are part of an active club they often take it to the next level,” Cooper said.

CMP awards $200,000 in scholarships annually. Some scholarships are given to those with marksmanship backgrounds, while others support individuals in the communities where their facilities are located. CMP has additional facilities in Talladega and Anniston, Alabama and is expanding to Columbia, Missouri. 

“Air gun participants come right out of high school, and many start participating in high school, and follow us through college,” Cooper said. “And then, some even go on to participate in the Olympics.” 

A community-minded partnership

Bolstered by its success, CMP wants to reach more people, easily and cost-effectively. 

Ohio Farm Bureau offered an opportunity to meet the group’s goal in a simple way through group membership advertising opportunities in Farm Bureau’s eight-county Northwest District region.

When Farm Bureau member Michelle Miller, board secretary for Ottawa County Farm Bureau, approached CMP about joining Farm Bureau, they thought it could be a good fit. 

“I knew they wanted to increase awareness and expand their reach to the younger individuals,” Miller said. “I thought Farm Bureau’s advertising opportunities, available through membership, would greatly benefit them and provide outreach they may not get otherwise.”

CMP at Camp Perry is located in a very rural area, so when there are open shooting nights or weekends, local people – who might otherwise be shooting on their own property – can come and compete.

“Being involved and reaching others in our local community is very important to all of us; that’s how we got involved with Farm Bureau,” Lynd said. “We felt like that was a good opportunity to reach a lot of people we haven’t reached before.”

In addition to the awareness the local Farm Bureau is helping to spread, the Ohio Farm Bureau group membership has also provided benefits, including discounts, to CMP employees. 

“CMP lends to us a lot of different things too. We may be able to join up with them on some of the community impacts that they may participate in,” Miller said. “I believe we can open doors and help each other reach our goals.”

If you own a business and are interested in Farm Bureau’s Group membership program for your employees, visit

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