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Last call for the sport of trapshooting part 3

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by kentdeadapair, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. kentdeadapair

    kentdeadapair TS Member

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    I started going to gun clubs, turkey shoots, and registered trap shoots with my dad when I was a little boy and have been around gun clubs continuously ever since. I have done almost every job connected with gun clubs and registered shooting and started shooting in the mid 1950’s. I worked as a trap boy for over ten years to pay for my shooting and supervised trap help for many years at the local club before and after I was in the army. I have attended 80+ Idaho state shoots (ATA and PITA), shot over 300,000 registered targets, been to the Grand American twice and the Grand Pacific 30+ times, won a number of Idaho state championships including six handicap (5 ATA and 1 PITA),
    Served on the PITA Executive Committee two different times, also on their rules committee and the handicap committee, the state PITA association for 31 years, as a director of the Boise Gun Club for many years and was on the board of directors for the Idaho Hall of Fame for eleven years. I am also in the Idaho Trapshooting Hall of Fame and the PITA Hall of Fame and completed my PITA 400 in 1994 (same as the ATA Grand Slam) and got my ATA AA-27-AA pin in 2004. I have always been concerned with the health and promotion of trapshooting and have invested a great amount of time and money in the sport.

    Because many of you that will read this know little or nothing about the PITA, I would like to digress for a bit so that you will not just dismiss this article as something from “one of those PITA guys out west.” The reasons the PITA was created are interesting but not germane to this discussion of the handicap system, however you might be interested in why it still exists after 76 years.

    When Doug House was President of the ATA he came to our ATA state shoot in Idaho and we had a nice conversation about many things and he asked me why I felt there was any need for the PITA. I asked him what his favorite shoots of the year were and he thought a moment and said “my state shoot and the Grand American.” I told him I lived in a state where we had two state shoots each year and also because of the PITA I had another “Grand” to go to and it was a few hundred miles away rather that several thousand. I loved the Grand American the times I was able to go but for a working guy from out here, the cost and time involved are often prohibitive, so the Grand Pacific looks pretty good to a lot of us. There are other reasons that the PITA continues to exist but the extra state shoot and Grand are what got me involved.

    When I was a kid and started shooting, most of the shooters in Boise shot both ATA and PITA shoots so my dad did and I did. We would go to one or sometimes both of the state shoots each year (depending on where they were held). I worked and promoted both ATA and PITA shoots when they were scheduled at Boise and had no preference for one over the other.

    In 1973 I was President of the Boise Gun Club when we held the state PITA shoot and not a single state director attended, so I ran the state meeting and realized their state association was near collapse because of apathy. I decided to get involved for a selfish reason – I didn’t want to lose the luxury of having two state shoots each year. Over time I became more and more convinced that since the PITA was a much smaller organization than the ATA, it was much easier to get changes accomplished there. I sure didn’t get everything I wanted but was able to make quite a few changes. Unfortunately I was unable to get several of the major changes I would have liked but did get a lot that I felt improved things for the shooters.

    Over the next 30 years I somehow became identified as “the PITA guy from Idaho” even though I continued to shoot, work at, and promote many ATA shoots and activities also.
    Over the years I did what I thought was best for trapshooting, the shooters in Idaho, and my own enjoyment of shooting. That is also why I am taking the time and effort to put together this article on the handicap system.

    I was always interested in the rich history of trapshooting and the great shooters of the past and present. Over a long period of shooting, working, and observing I became convinced that the big plus for trapshooting over the other shooting sports such as skeet, was the handicap event that trap had that the others didn’t.

    Today I believe that the handicap event is still the “Crown Jewel” of trapshooting, but that our handicap system is one of the things that are causing a decline or stagnation in the sport.

    When you combine the problems of a large group of very good shooters who have mastered the 27-yard line in handicap with the difficulty of getting the rest of our shooting population to be more competitive in the handicap events, we have a real mess.

    When Tom Garages lived and shot in this area in the 1970’s he was such a dominant shooter that other shooters would come to me and say “can’t we do something about this?” This was the first time I had really realized that many shooters resented the fact that the system was not working as it should and there were some shooters that were just too good for the system we had in place.

    In 2006 27 yardarms either won the state handicaps or tied for them in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado 1 & 2, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho 1 & 2, Indiana tie for champ and took RU, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota 1 & 2, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania tie for champ and took RU, Rhode Island, Utah 1 & 2, Washington 1 & 2, Wisconsin tie for champ and took RU, Wyoming 1 & 2. In addition they were also state runner-ups in Florida, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Virginia. Also this listing does not show the other state where the actual high scores in the championship handicap were 27 yarders but were non-residents. This happens a lot as you might expect.

    In 2006 at the zone shoots 27 yarders did the following: Central – 1 & 2, Eastern – 1, Southern – 1, Southwest – tie for champ and took r-u, Western 1-2-3 (all 100’s)

    On p A-13 in 2006 average book. Hall of Fame buckles at the Satellite Grands and the Grand American (added as trophies to the Hall of Fame purse by Bill Hunter) 9 of 10 were won by 27 yarders (4 by Kay Ohye)

    So far in 07 Dixie Marshall, Spring James Sharp Arizona, and Jim Copsey for the Southern Grand.

    Reasons for inaction. Member pressure against changes. The ATA unable to decide what to try. Relocation distraction. Ed Clapper wrote an article in the December 2003 issue of Shotgun Sports (The Relocation Blues). He felt the ATA expended a lot of effort, time, and money on the relocation issue that was not necessary. The ATA could have required minimum target requirements and very easily stayed at Vandalia and he makes the point that the large majority of ATA members don’t care that much about the Grand “since only about 20% of the 34,000 ATA members manage to register enough targets each year to avoid being penalized in class or yardage if they were to attend the Grand.”

    He also quoted Neil Winston off of a trapshooting discussion website as saying: “…the Grand, where few of us go and which is, after all is said and done, the 10-day playground of the best, richest and closest of us.” Clapper believes this is true and as I stated earlier, because of geography or economics the vast majority of ATA members will never go to the Grand, or if they do, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.

    I am not opposed to the relocation to Sparta and I hope to get there at least once (if they ever move the Hall of Fame and Museum down there) but I do resent the fact that trapshooting would have been better served if the same amount of energy, effort, and thought had gone into solving the handicap systems problems we have as went into relocation of the Grand.

    Today many shooters want an easy high scoring sport. This plays into the strengths of the very good handicap shooters.

    Shooters fighting mandatory reductions.

    Enjoy it the way it is and fight any changes.

    People are less willing to work at the club and state level.

    Selfish – want what they like not what is best for the health of the sport.

    Stu and Amy at the Idaho State. S.O. at Evergreen discouraging.

    Grand picture in 83.

    Started these articles in 1993 – amazed no significant changes have been made.

    Possible changes Jessen different angles for different yardages. Golf handicap. Little’s article.

    Western problem.

    Young – old- women – 20 yards??

    Most shooters do not have the time, interest, or patience (stubbornness) to research shoot results, average books, Trap and Field, Shotgun Sports, On Target and other sources to grasp the scope of the problem.

    Small clubs – in our area not much emphasis in them holding registered shoots. The ATA seems to be pushing more and more big shoots. Taylor quote _

    Reasons for high scores today. Targets today vs clangers from the past. 2 hole and often thrown soft. Many more shoots and targets. Old days 800 hdcp wow! Travel – train ect. Vs what we have today.

    Equipment and technbology. Guns targets ammo traps voice pulls instruction now vs them. More people with money and recreation time. RV’s Divco milk truck.

    Skill level then long tiem to have a 27 yarder come to a shoot. Line in the dirt.

    # of shooters then and now. # of 27’s

    79 biggest state shoot Now

    1963 Grand tons of short yd squads thought they were all sandbaggers. Didn’t realize # and punches. 24 was long 3rd in nation in 62. 27 yrs later tons of long yd in 1990

    High averages over the years. How they have changed.

    Phil Kiner (T & F April 2007) believes that you should start new shooters on the 19 and that it should probably be the 18 yard line. The fear of sandbaggers keeps this from happening and he makes a very valid point about this fear when he writes: “…many times good ideas that would help are rejected for fear that they will give some very small group an edge or enhanced ability to cheat. To this theory, my question is, which is worse – 1% of the population potentially getting an advantage while 50% of the population is helped, or hindering 50% to make sure the 1% is covered.”

    27 yard ladies. Starting to win major things more often. 2 at 15 years old, 3 at 16 and 1 at 17.

    Jacque Snellenberger in her column (T&F April 2007) on yardage reductions maintains that if shooting better handicap scores is your goal you should not torture yourself by shooting bad scores at a yardage you are not handling and that you should take your reductions. If you view shooting as nothing more than a social gathering then you probably don’t care about yardage reductions and may not want one because then you “can’t shoot with your friends anymore.” I feel that this is a pretty weak excuse. I used to shoot singles and doubles with my dad and we would then shoot different squads in the handicaps because of yardage differences. We didn’t feel that was too big of an imposition. Also, is it fair to your squadmates to be shooting with someone that is always shooting very low scores? I once shot a major shoot (1100 targets – 600 handicap) where the 27 yard shooter right in front of me shot all of his handicap scores in the 60’s or low 70’s. After about three days I found out he had been shooting like this for over six months and when I asked him why he didn’t get a reduction he said: “I turn them all down. I spent too much money getting here to take a reduction.” I felt this was a selfish attitude on his part and our squad didn’t have a lot of fun during the handicap events. The system would work better if reductions were mandatory. Why does the ATA give shooters a choice to refuse reductions when they don’t let them choose to take or refuse earned yardage? They should call the bluff of those shooter who say they will quite if they have to take a reduction. A few might but most will grumble a while, stay with the sport, and usually get to shooting better again after some reductions. That would be good for them and good for trapshooting.

    2005 Year End Handicap Target Summary (T&F?) 19-20 yards – 9158 – about 34% shot about 17% of the registered handicap targets. 27 yards – 2711 – about 10% shot 20% of the registered handicap targets.

    April, 2002. Spring 500. Non-Registered. 50 yards and three hole and 28 and 29 yards. 5 of the champion buckles won by 27 yarders and one not. Five of top six in the total HOA were 27 yarders.

    Yardage reductions (T&F November, 2005) 2004 – Total yardage reviews – 17,247 – total reductions – 10,254. Of the 6993 reviews not given reductions there were 4,358 that refused reductions and 873 that refused 2 or more reductions for the target year.

    (from T&F October, 2004 – From Past Pages) “In one of the most sensational exhibitions of trapshooting ever displayed in the Rocky Mountains, Arnold Riegger won the Rocky Mountain Handicap with a 390 X 400 target score. Shooting from a 25 yard handicap, Riegger blasted his way to the win over a large field of shooters. His score was one of the best ever recorded in the nation.” (shot at Casper, Wyoming)

    David Kaiser “Issues in Registered Handicap.” (T&F December, 2004) “The essence of what makes ……sheet by itself along with Phil Kiner

    Mandatory Yardage Reductions in Final Shot column in Shotgun Sports June, 2001 by Dick Bennett. “Our present system will never show its true competitive value unless it is used as designed. Unless shooters shoot from the yardage assigned, you can never truly measure or apply or adjust the system. Adjustments to the system are statistically unbalanced by shooters who refuse reductions.” “We keep electing 27-yarders as State Directors and Delegates and wonder why the handicap system doesn’t change. It’s like asking politicians to vote for campaign funding reform or, better yet, putting the mice in charge of setting the traps!”

    Some years ago when there was a push to move the handicap system back to 30 yards Frank Little wrote in Shotgun Sports that he felt that we should focus on the target difficulty aspect (speed and angle) of our sport instead of increasing the yardage markers.
    He believed that increasing the speed and angle of the target would have the same effect as the increased yardage proposed. Shooters who have difficulty will be moved forward by reductions and the previously very successful long-yardage shooter would not win as much.

    (T&F Jan, 2004) 1994 – active members – 35,316 registered targets 85,000,000. New members – 5,752. 2002 – active members – 34,515. Registered targets 85,000,000. New members – 6,656. (T& F March, 2007) 2006- Active Members 34,770. registered targets – 79,224,230. New members not listed.

    (T&F December, 2003 – President’s Page) 2003 – 34,804 active members. 84,995,900 targets. New members 7,788. I remain convinced the key to the health of our sport starts at the small local club. (why work to bring a friend into registered shooting with an unfair handicap system)

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    Doug House (T&F March, 1981) In his President’s Page laments the trend of clubs (and the ATA delegates at the Grand in 1980) of allowing 2 hole targets to be thrown. He stated that when traps are set in the 2 hole (or the equivalent) the targets are easier and the scores higher. He goes on to say “I think it is time that we take a long, hard look at what it is doing to trapshooting now and how it will affect the sport in the future.”

    SV and Boise 2 hole vs 3 hole.

    (T&F July, 1979) Timed delay of pulls and the use of one-ounce loads were being discussed.

    Some of you have been shooting long enough to remember the great Vic Reinders and his thoughtful discussions in his column called Vic’s Views in T&F years ago. I ran across some of his columns from almost 30 years ago and (surprise!) he devoted quite a bit of space to problems with the handicap system and changes he felt should be made.
    In November of 1979 he uses the figures from the 1978 average book to make a very good case for putting a lot of shooters on 19-18-17 or even 16 yards for handicap events.
    (Shades of Phil Kiner in 2007). In June, 1980 he writes: “I am convinced that the vast majority of our shooters are overhandicapped from one to four yards. They can’t possibly compete against shooters who average 92% and up from 27 yards….Let’s just abolish the rule of automatically starting all new shooters at 20 yards or more. Let’s us the 16, - 17 – and 18 – yard lines for those whod deserve it, and let’s not insist on the foolish notion that no able-bodied male should be under 20 yards.” He revisits these ideas in his April and March, 1981 columns and gives some history as well, as he mentions that prior to 1947
     
  2. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

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    Nice well written post. The ATA will probably change when we vote out all the incumbents in congress. :) Too many other things for disposable income nowadays as well. Maybe a change is necessary, I don't have enough knowledge or experience to say what is needed.
     
  3. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    I'm sure the ATA, after reading this, will be willing to move me up to the 21 where I can compete favorably with any All-American. Then leave me there for the remainder of my career.

    Gee, that seems something like top shooters who have been "stuck" at the fence for over 30 years and winning countless honorary yards, without penalty. Why not me!!
     
  4. Delbert

    Delbert TS Member

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    kentdeadapair, usually I skip over excessively long posts, but yours was an exception. It was well worth the time to read it. There will never be any meaningful changes to the handicap system as long as the foxes are guarding the henhouse.

    Oh well, trap's loss is sporting clay's gain.
     
  5. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    you did a real nice informative thread. i always felt that trying to make changes in the sport of trapshooting was like fighting city hall. in years past,the former owner of the muskego gun club (boxhorns), tried to get the ata to change it's handicap system, to no avail. in my opinion, he had some real good ideas. i have nothing against the ata, love to shoot tournaments, but very hard to gbet things changed.

    steve balistreri
     
  6. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    IMO...have more "races" either 50 or 75 bird. Would maybe allow the little guy to compete more (afford to) and be more competitive 'cause endurance is less a factor...
     
  7. Jeff P

    Jeff P Well-Known Member

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    Well, since the sport is officially 'dead'

    I'm offering $1,000 each, cash, for used Perazzi's with serial numbers above 95,000 - I can go $1,200 for a combo set. And I'll give $1,500 for K-80s.

    Please PM me. I have cash ready to purchase these guns. Other guns, too...just ask for a quote. For example, an 1100 trap might be worth $75.

    I won't pay anything for empty hulls, but I will pay shipping only to keep them out of the landfills.

    And I'm offering $100 for good, clean, gently used PWs and Spolar Golds.

    Since the sport is dead, of course....
     
  8. boonedoggle

    boonedoggle TS Member

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    plz summarize!
    s
     
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