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Higher gas, ammunition prices cut participation

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Joe Potosky, May 5, 2008.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Higher gas, ammunition prices cut participation at trap shoot

    BY MIKE SPRINGSTON- For the News-Democrat

    SPARTA --Rising gas and ammunition prices apparently were factors in declining entries at the third annual U.S. Open Trapshooting Championship held over the weekend at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex.

    The number of entries totaled 2,054 -- down approximately 1,000 from the 2007 event.

    Dave Cassens, tournament director, said participation has been down industrywide since last fall.

    "I haven't heard of a single major shoot since last winter that has shown an increase," said Cassens. He felt the decline was the direct result of the economy. A number of out-of-state participants at the WSRC events travel in RV campers.

    "A lot of shooters have to be choosy about where they shoot," he said. "Diesel for their campers is near $4.50 per gallon and a flat of shells has increased $30. This is having a dramatic effect on shoots."

    This year's event, which ran Thursday through Sunday, also faced some weather-related obstacles the first three days.

    No shooter registered a perfect score -- 100 targets in singles and 200 in doubles -- on the first day of the event when heavy winds were a factor. Shooters faced some rain delays the second day, but scores did improve.

    "It impressed me because we had rain delays and bad weather, but several shooters shot 100 straight. That's phenomenal," said Cassens.

    Saturday's event also had heavy winds and cold weather in the morning. Cassens said one target had to be reset four times in an hour because of wind changes.

    Saturday also had the largest turnout, with 336 shooters participating in the Winchester Singles.

    Richard Marshall, Jr., of Lincoln, Neb., won the all-around title. On Sunday, he also swept the Browning Handicap and and White Flyer Doubles. He also won the Winchester Singles on Saturday.

    Randy Miller of Bunker Hill won high overall.

    Jeffrey Welch of Caledonia won the ATA Handicap on Thursday David Bath of

    Belleville was runner-up.

    Other event winners were:

    • Holiday Inn Express Singles, Ron Bliss, Tuttle, Okla.

    • Illinois Conservation Foundation Doubles, Steven Johnson, Cherry Valley.

    • Zanders Sporting Goods Singles, Lou Kosiba, Waite Park, Minn.

    • Remington Nitro 27 Handicap, Sid Miller, Lovington.

    • Budweiser Doubles, Charles Bickle, South Elgin.

    • Friends of WSRC Handicap, Mike Dennis, Metamora.

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources ran the U.S. Open, the third entity to run the shoot in as many years. The Amateur Trapshooting Association ran the initial U.S. Open in 2006. Last year, Southern Promotions of Sparta was the event organizer.
  2. perazzitms

    perazzitms TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    So a perfect score in doubles is now 200 eh?

    Guess it's going to cut down on the shootoffs.
  3. K80433SC

    K80433SC Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    The horse is (admittedly) dead, but I will continue to beat it until more are willing to open their eyes to its demise.

    We are in some serious trouble here.............................

    Aside from the "rich folk" -- most of whom do not care, much less want to hear about the dilemma of the less fortunate, major tournament shooting will only continue to suffer the described attendance woes.

    The price of components and new shells has escalated to a point where this often-overlooked portion of the shooting equation has become "concern no. 1".
    Factor in $3.50 / gallon gasoline and $4.50 / gallon diesel fuel ; increased target fees ; food prices ; lodging "gouging" by local motels.........

    It's not hard to see that many will be (either) forced out, or made to "pick and choose" where and how much to shoot in the upcoming season. This will have an even-larger negative impact upon smaller, local gun clubs -- if shooters opt to attend only the larger events as a way to reduce overall shooting expenditures. The other edge of the sword will have the opposite effect, when shooters choose to stay closer to home to participate. Then -- major tournament shooting will suffer. It is the perfect "lose - lose" scenario for the overall health of the sport.

    I keep hearing the drum beat to "introduce a new, young shooter". Someone please tell me how I can interest a young person to spend the kind of money it takes to shoot competitive trap, given all of the drains that will be made upon their household finances. This "pie-in-the-sky" salvation for the sport of trapshooting assumes that we are talking about someone's "little rich kid" -- and there ARE several of those on the line these days, shooting their K80s and Kolars, etc. -- shucking brand new STS and Nitros.

    What happens when Daddy or Grandpa is no longer footing the shooting bill? They will either become sponsored All Americans (if they are good enough), or they will fall by the wayside. I can name any number of young shooters who were hotshots (in their heyday) who have left the sport, as soon as they reached the end of their junior eligibility -- and Daddy's wallet.

    Enough said. I'll go back to beating the horse now........
  4. phirel

    phirel TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    K80433SC- You did describe a problem but you forgot to include your suggested solutions.

    Pat Ireland
  5. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998

    The "Solution"??

    It's commonly referred to by fiscal gurus as "Disposable Income". People will pick and choose the leisure time hobbies by what their pocketbook will tolerate. It's no mystery that people's disposable income has lessened considerably in the last 2 years.

    I have friends in the boating/saltwater fishing industry and real estate in the resort/vacation venues. They have seen a drastic decrease in their revenues for the same reasons that competitive trapshooting has and will continue to do so for awhile.

    "The Solution" is not bringing young shooter's into the arena, it's money that's needed.

    People + Disposable Income = Leisure time spending. Pretty simple equation.

  6. VAMiket

    VAMiket Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I am probably going to regret this, but I feel the need to weigh in on this post. TS.com is a prime example of "no good deed (or intent) goes unpunished". Shooting means a great deal to me as I know it does to large number of people and the previous posters.

    Joe Potsky wrote "Rising gas and ammunition prices apparently were factors in declining entries at the third annual U.S. Open Trapshooting Championship" I agree, but the lack of local support infrastructure may also contribute to this, a factor that when ignored, infuriates a portion of ATA members. It is what it is.

    K80433SC - Good points, most Jr. shooters once out from under the disposable income umbrella of their parents, go to college or begin to start their own house holds drop out. The disposable is just not there. The parents may or may not continue to shoot, but some do and we need to keep those people in mind. Some of the juniors will come back some day, some will not. Not every seed you plant will sprout.

    grnberetcj wrote - "The Solution" is not bringing young shooter's into the arena, it's money that's needed." Again a valid point, however you bring one in and the other follows. While Juniors don't bring in all the money, they do bring in some and once in the coffers of the clubs and ATA, mingle with everyone elses money to support Trap Shooting.

    Pat Ireland wrote - "You did describe a problem but you forgot to include your suggested solutions" Everyone can see the problems as noted above and there are more not yet listed. So for every negative point you should post a positive solution. Try not to become so apathetic that you only see the negative. There is not one set solution to the problems we are facing, however TS.com posts usually draw such criticism I think many do not post for fear of this.

    So with that being said I will list a few suggestions that may be revelant to start with and, this is not a fishing trip.

    1. You could pocket your hulls and put them in the trash. Clubs could provide a target box where applicable (singles and doubles) for those who want to drop them. For those who choose to do neither, no harm no foul. It would not be required. This may help reduce labor costs and result in a savings for the club.

    2. State Associations and clubs could consider the distance between clubs and use the rising participation costs as a yardstick to allow shoots closer together on the same days. A shooter may consider it cost effective to drive 50 miles, but 100 miles might not fit the budget.

    3. We currently have a multitude of satellite Grands. A financial review of each could determine if it falls within financial and participant parameters for profit, loss or break even. I understand most are a financial loss to the ATA. If discontinuance is not an option, then allow them on a rotating basis every other year. Trophies could be scaled back until the financial environment improves. Shooters will understand this if it is to help the sport survive, some will complain others will not.

    4.Some clubs put the empty target boxes behind the firing line to be carried to the dumpster. If you shoot a couple hundred targets, you could carry two boxes to the dumpster. It helps the club and most of us could do with a little extra walking. If you choose not, again, no harm no foul.

    5. Clubs could sharpen their pencils and re-examine costs until things change, but not so much that they jeapordize their ability to be profitable.

    Remember these are suggestions, they can be implemented at some clubs, but not all clubs. They can be temporary or not. They are not "the solution" (this is not directed at grnberetcj) but could be parts of "a solution". Without a doubt, some feel the economic pinch greater than others. We are hovever in this together and survival will be easier if we work together. We should begin to adapt to the financial environment facing us. When you are green you grow, when you are ripe, you rot.

    Sky Dog
  7. Michael Jobe

    Michael Jobe TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I've been saying it for months, changes need to be made, or clubs and the game aren't going to survive. I looked up the stats and IIRC, the number of registered targets being shot has dropped 8 or 9 million from 2005 to 2007. I expect a 5 million drop in the number of targets being shot this year alone, maybe as high as 10 million. That would be a be over a 20% decline in registered targets in just four years.

    I've got ideas about changing the sport to hopefully maintain our current shooters, but good luck drawing new shooters into the sport with costs and competing family and life demands what they are.

    I'd like to see shot charges dropped to 7/8 oz at the 16 yard line, 1 oz for handicap, targets widened (4 hole?) and sped up (to 50-60 mph?), and events shortened (100 singles, 50 handicap, 50 doubles). 200 bird singles events are too long and too expensive. Figure at least $50 for targets and fees, and around another $40 to $50 in shells. Add in gas and food, and you're over $100, and you haven't played any options.

    Problem with my ideas though... for what ever reason many shooters and the ATA seem to be dead set against lowering the max shot charge. Shooters won't want tougher targets because everyone hates missing targets and wants a high average. Clubs won't like the idea of throwing fewer targets in an event and making less money, even though they might gain more shooters since the costs will be less and the event will be shorter.

    Trap shooting, and clubs that survive off it, are in a rock and hard place. The bigger clubs will make it a while, but small clubs may be gone as quickly as 4 to 5 years.

  8. dynapro

    dynapro TS Member

    Mar 9, 2008
    I'm in favor of the 1 oz. suggestion, 7/8 s/b optional. 1 oz. forces a level playing field among those that don't want the extra expense and recoil but shoot heavy to stay competitive. (factory 1 1/8's do cost the same as 1 oz. If the rule changed, maybe the price would go down.) Also, reduce singles events from 200 to 100 as many shoots have done.

    Our club has a mandatory hull retrieval rule and has a large pool of volunteers who receive discounted or even free shooting. Many others volunteer for free just because they are good guys and want shooting clubs to succeed.

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I hate to break the news to all you gloom and doom sayers. Fortunately this sport didn't last a 100 years by listening to the chicken little's of the world. Will revenues go down- Yes. Will the sport lose some shooters? - Yes Will the sport throw less targets? - Yes WILL THE SPORT SURVIVE?? YES This sport has survived through wars, a major depression and several recessions and it will survive this little blip.

    Just like the democrats, who can't read economic figures that say the natiional economy is good, and they keep saying Oh we are in a recession. Some of you keep telling us that the sky is falling. The sport may lose some shooters that maybe should find other recreational sports. I saw a bunch of young shooters and a bunch more shooters who certainly would not be considered rich having a ball this past Sunday, several hundred of them.

    Don't blame poor management on the economy. Don't water down the sport because then it becomes just another club shoot. The economy doesn't have anything to do with kids leaving the sport, that has been going on for years and hopefully they will come back one day.

    You act like the only thing affected is shooting.

  10. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Trap shooting is a peak and valley sport. Presently, it's in a valley and going down. However, as "BigDon" stated. It's not going to go byebye anytime soon. People come, and people go. Adjustments are made, but a core group of shooters will remain. It's something they love to do.
  11. nipper

    nipper TS Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    sorry but what were are in now and will be in for a very long time is not a little "blip".

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