Chris Kyle of "American Sniper" had ties to the valley

A lot of people are now very familiar with Chris Kyle's story. The movie based on his life, American Sniper, has now grossed over $300 million at the box office, making it the most successful military movie ever.

Chris Kyle made a big impact here in Arizona and spent quite a bit of time in our state.

Kyle was a start in the very small and tightly knit sniper community way before the book or movie telling his story came out.

And he did a lot of work at a very unique facility called the Big Sandy Shooting Range, about 2 1/2 hours northwest of the valley. 

It's the biggest movie of the year, and the biggest war movie ever.

"I'm not a great friend, I'm just a friend. And I thoroughly enjoyed being around him," said Kenton Tucker, with the Big Sandy Range.

Kyle spent quite a bit of time here in Arizona.

It looks a lot like what you see in Afghanistan and Iraq. "That's why the snipers like being here," said Tucker.

And a lot of time was spent at the Big Sandy Shooting Range located northwest of the valley. Kyle worked to train members of the military and even police officers and sheriff's deputies from here in the valley.

Tucker owns the range and said he often worked alongside Chris.

"Then he would tell you these fantastic stories, and I was kidding with him as was everybody and I said why don't you make a movie? And he can't I can't do that, I can't do that, and I said well you ought to," he said.

Eventually Chris wrote a book called American Sniper and the movie followed, but before any of that in the small fraternity of snipers he was already kind of a celebrity.

"The Big Sandy Range even has the Chris Kyle target, all the way across this ravine, over a mile away," said Tucker.

FOX 10 asked Tucker whether he was surprised by the success of the movie. "No, not at all, I can't see it though, it's something I can't do. I just want to remember Chris the way he was, everybody who has seen it tells me it's a great movie," he said.

While most remember Chris what they see in the movie, Tucker and the numerous law enforcement officers he trained will remember him in their own way.

"he had a good sense of humor, he was a good show, and I thoroughly enjoyed being around him," said Tucker.

The website for the Big Sandy Shooting Range is

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