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HOW DOES SPARTA COMPARE TO VANDALIA?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by senior smoke, Jan 7, 2009.

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  1. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    HELLO:
    some of the best times i ever had trapshooting was at the grand in vandalia ohio. the first time i went i could not believe i was shooting where some of the greatest shooters in the world once shot. i started shooting in 1972 and subscribed to the american shotgunner magazine. at that time meeting some of the all american shooters was something on par of meeting professional baseball players when i was a kid. there was history at vandalia. i have not been to sparta since it opened. i talk to shooters who have gone and i never hear one of them say that they really liked it. most say it does not seem like the grand american that they once knew. do you feel moving to sparta has been a success? i hear it is a great facility, but what is it missing? in know way is this thread meant to criticize the ata. i feel under the circumstances they did a great job. if you have shot at both Sparta and Vandalia, can you compare both facilities. does sparta feel like the grand american? do you feel in time, that it will surpass vandalia?
    steve balistreri
     
  2. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

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    Whether it "feels" like the grand or not,,,,it is now!!!!
     
  3. Joe Woods

    Joe Woods Well-Known Member

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    There is no more Vandalia.And there never will be another just like it!!!!
    Attended the Grand since 1975.
    I felt that when Christie's Restaurant next to Fulmer's Groc. Store,Vandalia,Ohio closed we were in serious trouble.Things do not remain the same.
    I'll bet when they quite setting up military tents for shooters to stay in, they thought the end was near.
    I wonder what year that was.!!!


    Joe Woods/Ontario
     
  4. Charlie Becknell

    Charlie Becknell Well-Known Member

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    I shot at Vandalia starting in about 1992. Never missed a Grand. I have been to Sparta all three years. Vandalia had a more "homey atmosphere" with the vendors. That part of Grand is not as good at Sparta. Hotel and eating acccomadations in Sparta are not equal to Dayton. However, I like Sparta for many reasons.

    1. I believe the EC did the best they could under the circumstances.

    2. Overall, the background is better at Sparta.

    3. Central entry building is far superior, not to mention squading and paying.

    4. Trap houses are much better spaced in Sparta.

    5. The facility is FAR superior.

    6. Ice cold water at the benches. (Remember the warm water drinking fountains at Vandalia, when you could find one).

    7. Port-a-lets are clean and not the stinking mess they were at Vandalia.

    8. The people in Sparta go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

    9.They have Sporting Clays ( 2 Courses) to shoot when bored shooting only a hundred targets.

    10. The shoot runs efficiently at Sparta.

    11. I am thankful that we still have a place to have the Grand.

    12. I see many criticize Sparta, many have never been there. I like it there and prefer it over Vandalia.

    13. Time to move on, Vandalia is gone forever and I will support Sparta as it builds a new tradition.
     
  5. partygirl

    partygirl TS Member

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    If the IDNR would build and airport north of the trap line, and put up permanet buildings and grandstands behind the banks it would be just like Vandalia. You gotta get that great echo going.
     
  6. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    i plan to shoot at sparta this year. around 30 years ago i golfed at a new course. the trees were just planted and i thought it was just a farm pasture. did not like it at all. went back to this golf course this past year, trees are grown, golf course was pretty nice. maybe, sparta needs to mature with age.
    steve
     
  7. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    The IDNR needs your support. The Grand is truly Grand in Sparta. We encourage your participation and support.

    An enthusiastic Illinois resident,
    Barry Roach
     
  8. Dove Commander

    Dove Commander TS Member

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    #11 is the most important. However, I don't trust Illinois politics. It's a state park.
     
  9. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Just different.


    I can't count how many times I did the "Vandalia Death March." Parked in my reserved spot far out in West BFE, (usually right about where the US-40 traffic signal and airport beacon were...if I found a parking spot closer than the "Do Not Cross This Line During Inclement Weather" sign, I was in heaven). Walked all the way up to CEB to squad...then pack-muled a bunch of factory shells all the way back to my vehicle. It was like Lewis and Clark or something.


    I bet a few of you did it, too. At least a time or two.


    In Sparta, you can drive right up to the squadding office, park easily and do your stuff, then drive to your bank, and park easily again (and no lugging factory shells from the shellhouse to Timbuktu, like in Vandalia...my back appreciates just thinking about it).


    The down side is, you can possibly do all this, and shoot your birds and leave, without seeing anybody you know. In Vandalia, that forced march down the trapline was usually punctuated by a half-dozen chance encounters with shoot buddies you hadn't seen in months, "How ya shootin'," etc. That was the best part.


    Sparta is damn efficient and convenient. Makes for a much less grueling day of shooting, especially if you don't have a motorhome. Half of the experience of Vandalia was walking your damn legs off. None of that here. The people with and without motor homes are on equal footing, and nobody has to walk much if they don't want to. It has no more walking, than going to a regular Sunday shoot at your local club. The flip side is, the "atmosphere" is reduced proportionally, too. Vendor row is nowhere near as interesting...it doesn't have that incredible, cramped "Bangkok Market" atmosphere like we had in Vandalia.


    So do I like efficiency better, or tradition? Hard to say. If I'd never been to Vandalia, Sparta would win, hands-down.


    But I tell you this - like a dying cancer patient, I'd give my left nut, just to have one more week in Vandalia, to experience the sounds, smells, and sights again. When my time comes and they pump me full of opiates, that's where I wanna go. Can they arrange that? Some would want to go to Hawaii, Telluride, or some nameless Canadian lake. I'd be eating an Italian sausage while trying not to lose a foot getting on the tractor, one more time.
     
  10. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    Great comparison Buzz.
     
  11. kybullseye

    kybullseye TS Member

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    I am also planning to attend the Grand in Sparta this year for the first time. I attended the Grand every year from 1983 to 2000. I really can't believe they haven't built a Friendly's or Christie's across the street yet. Next thing your going to tell me is that the Perazzi building doesn't have that same smell. I can't describe it, but for some reason I can remember it.
     
  12. AJ100

    AJ100 TS Member

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    "But I tell you this - like a dying cancer patient, I'd give my left nut, just to have one more week in Vandalia, to experience the sounds, smells, and sights again."

    Amen buzz.


    [​IMG]


    Tom(AJ100)
     
  13. AJ100

    AJ100 TS Member

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    Yep, the empty is a WW Super Target. Shot 1500 of those smelly buggers the next seven days. The pic is on the practice trap the first Saturday.

    The hat is Airport Gun Club. Stopped on the way home to Pgh. and shot another 300 just so we could say we did it.

    Thirty years ago but I can still remember which targets I missed.

    We always laughed about the little electric eye they had behind the cashiers window. The one you couldn't see but had to be there. After you planned all the events for the week and decided on which options you would play and NOT play, you walked up to the window and they would turn on that electric eye. It must have been some sort of beam. You wanted to say one thing but the only words that came out of your mouth were....

    I WANT TO PLAY EVERYTHING!

    Tom(AJ100)
     
  14. Hill topper

    Hill topper Member

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    Steve,
    I'm with Buzz and Charlie on this one.

    The difference is like going from the outdoor privy on the farm to when we moved everything inside.

    Tradition is fine, but after a few years we tore the outhouse down and moved onand started new traditions of not freezing our butts in the winter.

    ed.
     
  15. snowbird

    snowbird TS Member

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    Buzz has it right.

    Terry.
     
  16. JimmyP

    JimmyP TS Member

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    Well I haven't been shooting as long as most on here so I never got the chance to go to Vandalia. But I have been to Sparta every year that it has been open. I love it. The stories I hear about it though make me think that loyalty may have been in the eye of the beholder. Cramped, crowded, camping was packed, hard to get in if you were late, no parking etc... But there is something to say for tradition. sorry I never made it to Ohio but I'm happy with Sparta. What is not to like? You can park close to anything you want to see or do and they do run a whale of a shoot. Just my 2 pennies.

    Jimmy
     
  17. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    You guys are right about the vendors being separated. They need to be together and I don't know why they decided to split them up so far away from each other. I think if there could be a better connection between the building guys and the tent guys. Have all the food services together there, as well and I think we'd really have that 'good ole' gathering place feeling we once had.

    I think this would make more money for the food guys, it would help make the locker room the meeting place it once was and make walking vendor row much more enjoyable.

    Unfortunately, It doesn't look there's enough room (if that's possible there) to smoosh them all together and have all the room we'd need for everybody and the people too.

    What do the vendors want?
     
  18. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Member

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    I absolutely agree with about 80% of what Charlie Becknell said.

    I do believe the EC did the best they could under the circumstances. The background is better. The trap fields are much better spaced. The Parking is so much better. The ice water all along the trap line is an absolutely welcome improvement over the mud around the old water fountains. Especially with the 100+ degree temperatures we enjoyed in 2 of the last 3 years a Sparta.

    Call me an old sentimental fool, but Sparta just doesn't have that homey atmosphere that Vandalia had. If you were looking for someone or need to buy something from one of the vendors at Vandalia, you just needed to jump on one of the many wagons and eventually you would find what or who you were looking for. At Sparta, people tend to go back to the camper or throw the gun in the car and totally leave the grounds. People at Sparta do not mingle like we did at Vandalia. I have spent entire days at Sparta, and not seen one person I know.

    When I see pictures of Vandalia the way it is now I could almost cry. I remember when you went to the Remington or Winchester tent, when it really was a tent. I remember when there was a vendor booth where they shot miniature trap they called Mo-Skeet-O using a smoothbore 22 rifle and shotshells shooting at black miniature clay targets. (You can't imagine how many rounds of 10 shots at a time I burned up doing that.) Again you must remember I spent several days a year, every year since 1954! The last several years with my work schedule and family obligations, I didn’t spend the entire week, but I always found a way to shoot in the Grand American Handicap every year since 1963. That was my first year to shoot “The Grand.”

    So I hope you will forgive me if I over-romanticize Vandalia. I just miss my Vandalia just like I miss my Grandfather’s house in which I spent so much time. I miss Vandalia just like I miss my dog Patches that I spent so much time with when I was young. I miss Vandalia just like I miss my family members that have passed on. Vandalia held that sort of mystique that I will always miss. But alas, Vandalia is dead and gone and yes, we must move on.

    I did not stop living because any of my family members died. I had to move on. Still, to those people who say “Get over it,” Yes, of course you are right. I will continue to go to the Grand at Sparta, as I have for the past 3 years. I will continue to go to the Grand “come hell or high water” for as long as I am able to get there.

    I know some people will mock me for having such feelings about Vandalia. For those of you that scoff at me, all I can say is that you just don't get it and you probably never will. But please, don’t you DARE lecture me on how I should grieve for my memories of my family, my dog, or the “Old times at Vandalia”

    Yes, I will grieve for Vandalia for as long as I am alive

    Mark
     
  19. AJ100

    AJ100 TS Member

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    I would like to know how many people saying "get over it" live closer to sparta than they do to Vandalia.

    Sometimes it sounds like, Hey, Vandalia was too far and now it's "our" turn.

    Tom(AJ100)


    [​IMG]
     
  20. 7571

    7571 Well-Known Member

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    Mark and Buzz, you are right-on (100%)with your description. No one could have expressed my opinions better.

    For the people who have to ask this question, if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand.

    Tom
     
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