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Nearly 600 compete in Cicero - Article

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Jul 15, 2007.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Nearly 600 compete in Cicero for the 146th Empire State Championship

    By David Figura Outdoors editor - Syracuse Online

    From about a mile away, you could hear the "pop, pop, pop" sounding like a belated Fourth of July fireworks show.

    Entering the home grounds of the New York State Amateur Trap Association Saturday afternoon in Cicero, it became immediately clear what all the noise was about. The 146th Annual Empire State Championship is wrapping up this weekend after four days of preliminary shooting.

    Saturday's competition featured nearly 600 competitors in the shotgun-shooting sport where consistency and focus are demanded and prized. The targets were clay, circular "pigeons," flung courtesy of a voice-activated system from a partially submerged, small building in front of the competitors.

    "You have grandmothers, construction workers, doctors, lawyers and lots of kids (in this sport)," said Keith Welch, of Granby, president of the state association that calls Cicero its home. The group commands a 70-acre complex, and the shooting area more than a half mile long.

    Tuesday through Friday, shooters of all ages and skill levels battled, preparing for this weekend's championships.

    Roughly three quarters of the shooters Saturday were men. The women were every bit as skillful and competitive.

    Bonnie Whalen, 51, of Bemus Point, was nailing pigeon after pigeon during the afternoon session. Afterward, she said she hit 190 out of 200 birds for the day.

    "That's not going to be enough," she said, well aware of other ladies who had hit 97, 98 or 99 birds (out of 100) during the morning's shoot. She expected them to continue at that pace during the afternoon.

    "It's all about concentration. It's pretty much a mind game," she said.
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