Remembering Mary Ann Sanborn (1936-2021)

On September 18, 2021, KR Training graduate, friend, course host and supporter Mary Ann Sanborn passed away after a long bout with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Dave Rosenfield and other relatives listed in her official obituary.  While Mary Ann was certainly well-known around the area because of her Sanborn Travel business,  I first met Mary Ann and Dave in March 1995, when they attended an NRA Pistol Instructor class that I taught that year. Interest in becoming a certified pistol instructor surged when it became clear that the state legislature was going to pass a concealed carry permit bill, and there would be demand for pistol classes as soon as DPS began certifying instructors. Dave and Mary Ann also connected us with their many shooting friends and helped me fill several instructor courses that year as a result of their referrals. Penny met them soon after!

Mary Ann and Dave – firearms dealers specializing in sales of suppressors and machine guns – had a small outdoor range at their Sanborn Shooters facility in Smithville, Texas. They graciously offered their facility as a location where we could teach courses, and converted a garage into a classroom. We used their facility and several others from 1996-2002 as our course offerings expanded from Texas License to Carry (LTC) courses to more advanced pistol classes, competition training, and force on force scenarios. The video below shows student scenarios from a 1998 class run at Sanborn Shooters.

When Penny and I got married in May 1998,  we held a fun shoot at Sanborn Shooters for our friends and family, as part of the event.  As always, Mary Ann and Dave were wonderful hosts. Here’s a pic of Dave demonstrating a full auto Sten Gun at that event.   Incidentally, long-time KR Training colleagues, Kelli and John Kochan first met at a KR Training course held at Sanborn Shooters as well.

From 1997-2006 while Penny worked at M.D. Anderson’s Science Park Research Division in Smithville, she made many lunchtime visits to Sanborn Shooters, to visit and get in short mid-day practice sessions – the original KR Training 100-round drill! On weekends in 2001 when we were not teaching, Penny and I used the Sanborn Shooters facility to train for the Steel Challenge World Championship match, where I made the top 32 shootoff and Penny was 2nd woman (rimfire) and 5th woman (centerfire). Pictures from that match are on the archive site.  Our success that year would not have been possible without the support of Mary Ann and Dave.  Dinners at Rob’s and lunches at Charlie’s and Pockets were also memorable.  Charlie’s BBQ will be forever part of KR Training Scenario lore, thanks to the guidance of Mary Ann and Dave.

As the 21st century began, Dave and Mary Ann encouraged us to build our own permanent training facility, giving us advice on land selection and facility construction. After more than a year of looking at various properties, we purchased the original A-Zone property, spent the fall and winter doing construction, and fired the first official rounds on the range into a ribbon of exploding targets from Sanborn Shooters on 02-02-02, at 2:02 pm.

Photos from the Grand Opening are on the KR Training archive site.  Mary Ann and Dave’s support was critical for KR Training branching out into its own location.  They even provided a cabin for Penny’s parents for a time after they decided to relocate from Indiana to build a home near the A-Zone.

After we moved KR Training operations to the A-Zone, we stayed in contact with Dave and Mary Ann, attending New Year’s Eve and birthday events held at Sanborn Shooters featuring fireworks manufactured by Dave, Mary Ann and their pyrotechnician friends, and kept up with their exploits as assistants working major fireworks shows around Central Texas. Especially notable events were incredible fireworks displays for Mary Ann’s 65th birthday, and of course a big event to usher in the turn of the century on 12/31/1999.

Mary Ann’s last visit to the A-Zone was October 11, 2020. A lover of dogs and cats, she liked visiting her “grand-dogs” Scudder and Rye. We brought them over to Sanborn Shooters several times during her final year.

A special remembrance celebration is planned for May 2022 at Sanborn Shooters. Mary Ann was an important member of the KR Training family, and she will forever be in our hearts. Penny, Karl, Ribo, Grand Dogs Scudder & Rye, and KR Training are incredibly grateful for Mary Ann’s kindness, generosity, sense of humor, and beautiful smile. She will be greatly missed.