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Dayton native Jim Thompson takes 'Grand' new job

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Nov 16, 2008.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    Dayton native takes 'Grand' new job

    By Jim Morris - Staff Writer

    DaytonDailyNews.com

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    VANDALIA — Back in the days when the Grand American Trapshooting Tournament was held in Vandalia (1924-2005), Jim Thompson enjoyed shooting at the Grand and hanging out in the tent where the local competitors congregated between events.

    "I always had a great time shooting at the Grand," Thompson said, "but in all that time I spent there, I never dreamed that one day I would end up running the whole thing."

    That's exactly what Thompson is doing. In July, the 56-year-old Dayton native and Butler Twp. resident retired from Delphi. In August he was selected as the new executive director of the Amateur Trapshooting Association.

    "I had sent them a resume a couple of years ago, but (the ATA executive committee) decided to run the organization without an executive director," Thompson said. "I didn't think much about it the last couple of years, but this year I was asked to reapply. So I got my resume together again and sent it to them.

    "They were meeting at the Grand (in Sparta, Ill.) and asked me to come out for an interview. So I did that, stayed for a day and came back home. The next day I got a call and they asked me to come back because they were offering me the job. So I did, we worked everything out and I became the executive director."

    Thompson, a Meadowdale High School graduate, takes over an organization that has been losing members in recent years. Like many associations, the ATA has had to compete with a growing number of distractions. People seem to have less time to do activities they have done in the past and trapshooting is one of them.

    Still, Thompson says there are bright spots.

    "Yes, we are down some members and the economy has probably caused some people who are continuing to shoot to register fewer targets, but we're not down all that much. In fact, there was a large number of life memberships sold in October, so that is a good sign. And, financially, we are in excellent condition," he said.

    Another positive Thompson points to is the ATA's new youth shooting program which officials hope will bring more people into the sport. It's called AIM (academics, integrity and marksmanship). It is designed for young people in elementary school through college, allowing them to compete with teams of like ability. Thompson said it would likely replace the Scholastic Clay Target Program as time goes on.

    The ATA has about 55,000 members. Thompson said he is working on "some ideas to bring in more members."

    One of the ATA's problems has been sagging attendance at the annual Grand American, which moved to Sparta in 2006. Attendance at most registered shoots in 2008 has been down, with few exceptions. One was the Ohio State Shoot, now held in Marengo.

    A problem shooters, especially those coming from the eastern U.S., have had is the perception Sparta is too far away and doesn't have much going on in the area around the shooting grounds.

    The World Shooting & Recreational Complex is without a doubt the best trapshooting venue in the world. If location has scared shooters away, Thompson points out the grounds are about 4½ hours from the ATA's long-time homegrounds on National Road and there are plenty of places to stay within 20 miles of the complex.

    "The ATA is committed to staying in Sparta," Thompson said. But he did note with a little sadness in his voice that the Trapshooting Hall of Fame is making plans to move from the only home it has ever known, next to ATA headquarters in Vandalia, to Sparta.

    He said no date has been announced for the Hall of Fame's departure. He did say there are no plans to move the ATA offices out of Vandalia.
     
  2. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I wish him the best of luck. I hope he is a success.
     
  3. Pacemaker

    Pacemaker Member

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    I am from Ohio. Sportshot, you should clarify your use of the word "traitors" What did the people of Ohio do to you? Do you have a legitimate issue or are you just stirring the pot? I don't know you but certainly could learn to not like you Tim Miller
     
  4. Dove Commander

    Dove Commander TS Member

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    Sportshot, you could have just said "I support moving everything to Sparta", but no, you had to throw some unrelated jabs and crap in there. What is the purpose? I'm from Ohio, and could care less where the offices and HOF are. Why insult a bunch of people who don't care?
     
  5. pj 999

    pj 999 TS Member

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    Congrats and good luck to Jim. They might as well save the move to Sparta and locate the offices and Hall of Fame in Marengo. That way when Grand moves back to Ohio it will all be at one location. Paul Baker
     
  6. birdogs

    birdogs TS Member

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    I wouldn't move ANYTHING to Sparta. Given present conditions, Sparta may turn out to be the interim home of the Grand. Attendance is dropping each year and there may now (or shortly) be an alternative such as Cardinal. Certainly, if participation keeps falling, there won't be a need for 100 trap fields.
     
  7. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Well, I'm not going to opinionate on the Marengo vs. Sparta thing...I believe we'll be in Sparta permanently, because Illinois spent big bucks to accommodate us, and the ATA's financial condition does not depend on the number of people who attend the Grand, from what I understand. (But if my understanding on that is wrong, someone please correct me). My understanding is that with the whole thing funded by user fees, and no need for shellhouse revenue to break even, the ATA could have a Grand with only 100 shooters, and it would be financially OK with it.


    But back to the original topic -

    I will say, I'm an Ohio native, and I'm not a bit offended by what the poster above said about Ohio. I think in a way, they did let us down a bit. Their Airport Expansion was simply more important to them, than keeping The Grand. The Grand was not sufficiently valuable to them to be worth doing what was needed to keep it there...so we simply moved, end of story.

    Illinois shackled their taxpayers up to the task of building us a Taj Mahal - or alternately - an ornate "burial vault," for the Grand to go to die. I wasn't happy at the time, but now I fully support the ATA's decision to go to Sparta. You have to go where you're wanted...and that apparently wasn't Ohio.


    So I say move everything. Get it done. And let Ohio enjoy their "new airport space."
     
  8. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

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    Well since this is all opinion. I will put my nickel in. I think that the shooters of the ATA elect the board of directors. Every year by voting for the Delegates at the State Shoots across the country.

    They have chosen an Executive Director to oversee operations.(to what ever specifications they have chosen) That is as it goes and here is wishing Jim Thompson all the success he can possibly have. I also hope he can turn this Association around and bring it back to its former level of success and participation.

    Bob Lawless
     
  9. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Jim faces some challenges from within the office and the trapshooting community. I hope to get to know him soon and personally offer my support and any help I can provide to keep trapshooting strong and expanding.

    Pat Ireland
     
  10. deereRalph

    deereRalph Member

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    After hearing all the gloom and doom on this site concerning Sparta, I had no desire to shoot there. But I did and thought is was great, it is not Vandalia,
    see everyone you know everyday. It's more shooter friendly, if you get off your butt and go to the shoot-offs, you will see the real trapshooters as well as folks you have shot with in years past and new shooters. I think Sparta is good for the ATA. I give my best to Mr. Thompson.
     
  11. The Rock

    The Rock Active Member

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    All the best to Jim. He has a true love of the sport. And one hell of a job on his hands. I wish him the wisdom to change the downward trend , and get some more shooters sighed up.

    Have not joined the ATA this year yet, but I will when I start getting my unemployment checks started. I most likely will not shoot registered over a few times this year, but I still believe in the ATA. And the operational money must come from us the members.

    Hope to see Jim at Cardinal Center this year.

    Rock

    Jim
     
  12. Tim

    Tim TS Member

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    I have known Jim Thompson for years and we have even shot together from time-to-time. Jim is a good man with a great personality and a good head on his shoulders. He will rise to the task of the ATA and represent himself well. Good luck and better health! Tim Hunsaker
     
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