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NEVADA- A HISTORY OF TRAPSHOOTING

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Shoot Vegas!, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Shoot Vegas!

    Shoot Vegas! Member

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    I've been fortunate to have participated in a number of the greatest trapshooting events ever held, many of these in the State of Nevada. It also saddens me that I have now witnessed the closing of 4 facilities that made Nevada famous. Each of these 4 hosted over 1000 competitors during their glory years- Harold's Club (North of Reno on Pyramid Way), Bob Taylors (Las Vegas), the Sahara/Mint & Las Vegas Gun Club, and finally Sage Hill.

    When looking back at what drove the success of these venues, there were two common threads- there were compulsory purses in the main handicap events, and scores of 95 or 96 would earn you a handsome payoff, at least in the first 3 facilities mentioned, as they were of an earlier era.

    Weather often played a role in these events, but the shooters of the 60's, 70's and even somewhat into the 80's, didn't skirt the weather as they do now. The prize was simply too great, and weather just wasn't a consideration. If you went, you entered, you shot, plain and simple. Forget about High-Average awards and the like.

    Phil Miller was one of the great competitors and club managers of this period. He also contributed monthly articles ("Fellow Shooters") to Trap & Field magazine with his views. In May of 1960 he wrote- "Trapshooting started out as a money sport and if it is to continue its growth it must be kept a money sport".

    Call me antiquated, but I'm with Mr. Miller on this one.

    Today's target settings combined with modern equipment and ammunition have driven handicap scores to resemble those in a 16yd event. Handicap events were never meant to have perfect scores unless someone had a truly miraculous day. Nowadays, many new shooters will try ATA, but then experience the futility of not feeling competitive after one or two tournaments. If there was at least the perception that a 95 or 96 was competitive in a handicap event, it might turn things around. A new shooter can relate to breaking four 24s. He would probably even enter the purse under these circumstances, as would many others.

    We have lost the younger, blue-collar types that made up the masses of the earlier era of trapshooting. We now struggle to hang on to those that can still afford to shoot only for fun and the social interaction.

    Is it too late to make a change,and,the bigger question is how would we do it?


    Steve
     
  2. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    I have advocated mandatory purses on Championship events for as long as I can remember, not saying it has to be for a lot of money but at least for something other than bragging rights ... I broke a 97 at the Grand many years ago and paid for my entire week of shooting, shells, and traveling ... I don't know that I ever had as much fun with my clothes on before or since ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  3. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    Steve..... You answered your own question with Phil Millers observation, "Trapshooting started out as a money sport and if it is to continue its growth it must be kept a money sport".

    Put the money back into the sport and it will grow. Many, if not most, registered shooters of today simply cannot afford to play all the options and mandatory purses, so our sport has been watered down to accommodate them, thereby losing the true essence of registered shooting as it once was. Bad idea! If this sport is to continue as it once was, let those shooters go. They are the ones that are expecting something for nothing, and it just doesn't work that way, nor was it meant to. Tournament shooting cannot afford to pander to them and still remain viable. Sad, but true. Return registered tournament shooting to the same as the glory days, with the same rules, and 3 hole targets mandatory, and it will thrive, and grow. Many current registered shooters will drop off, but, they will continue to shoot at local clubs shooting fun and games and winning a few bucks here and there, and be happy doing so. Either way, they will remain in the trapshooting world. In the meantime, the serious competitors that love to shoot for the money, and are not intimidated by the cost, will start to follow the "money circuit" again. When this happens, and other shooters see the kind of money they could win by entering these tournaments, they will strive to become one of the serious shooters, not just a shooter that expects to win "something" every time they shoot. Granted this would shrink the tournament shooter base at first, but, the shooters that want to compete at a higher level will return, and they will stick with the sport with renewed dedication, and not drop out because they are not winning all the time.

    In my opinion, we need to pick back up where we left off in the late 60's and early 70's, and return to the formula that proved to work. Basically, everything that has been changed in tournament shooting since that time has only hurt our sport and helped to contribute to its demise. Have we learned nothing from this?

    All the clubs you have mentioned were the greatest of the great in the West where you could go and compete, and, if you had a good day, win a bunch of cash. Let's return tournament shooting to those that are willing to pay to play, are not afraid to shoot harder targets, care not about higher averages, and are just plain competitive to the core. Registered tournament trapshooting was built on this premise, and it should remain that way. It's the old "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" thing, because the strong are coming through and if you want to be one, DO IT!..... Just my experience... Dan Thome (Trap2)
     
  4. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

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    Yep, State Shoots, Zone's, Satellite's, etc. should have mandatory monies/purses for the Championsip Events....Live Bird shoots have "mandatory" money plus "options" and doesn't scare anyone away!!

    Curt
     
  5. Hauser

    Hauser Member

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    I don't understand why more clubs don't hold compulsory purse handicap events. They are not prohibited with the exception of shoot where the ATA gives money or trophies.


    They could hold these separate from their normal shoot schedule if their state secretary approves the dates and throw a tougher target as well.


    It looks like a much better way to generate income than, say 27 yard doulbes.


    Jerry Hauser
     
  6. warren

    warren Member

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    I'm with Steve on this I won $1800 at one of his shoots at his old club there in Vegas and of all my wins that was the one I remember the most and the reason I keep going back to his shoots.

    warren
     
  7. Steve Bills

    Steve Bills Member

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    I shot the shoots Steve C is referring to in the 70's & 80's in Nev. I do agree w/ Steve & Dan Thome..To save this sport ATA needs to go back to the old floormat. None of the Big Casino shoots are left & with the Sage gun club now closed we probably going to lose the 40 yr. old "Golden West Grand" thats been held every yr. in May @ Reno,Nev.for the last 40+ yrs. In the 1960 & 1970 this shoots was one of the biggest money shoots & the birth place of Harolds Casino Gold coin Belt Buckle trophies. Just my 2-cents worth..Speak up trapshooters & lets get a change started though the ATA. Steve Bills
     
  8. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    In earlier days when I started shooting ATA I never thought about three hole targets, Targets were thrown and I shot at them. I in time made the 27 yd line, Which was highlite of my shooting career.
     
  9. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    So what this would look like is the purse is no longer a line item option but is included in the entry fee. For example instead of charging $30 for 100 targets, the club charges $40.

    Has merit other than price increases are not usually well received. But on the other hand, people tend to remember the one good payday a lot more than spending an extra $10 here and there.

    I would very much like to see the bigger pots. Even if you don't win one on a given day, probably one of your friends did and that adds to the fun either way.
     
  10. Red Dot 1

    Red Dot 1 Member

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    Steve,

    Yours description of those wonderful gun clubs and the shoots that were held at each of them was wonderful to read. Those were the real days of trap shooting. I agree with you 110% about how the game has changed since those days but they are now gone forever and if a shooter didn't experience those shoots they have no idea of how much the game has changed that made current shooting 150% easier. Now they can flame me on that statement but it is a GOSPEL FACT!

    Roger Smith Over The Hill Trap Shooter from Wichita, KS
     
  11. Scott Johnson

    Scott Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Is this an example of compulsory purse?? Scott

    So what this would look like is the purse is no longer a line item option but is included in the entry fee. For example instead of charging $30 for 100 targets, the club charges $40.
     
  12. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Get rid of the extra trinkets-that'll reduce costs, let the very best gain yardage to the 30 and put 'em back in the 3-hole. See, that was easy. It's gotta be a package deal to be successful!!
     
  13. Paladin

    Paladin Well-Known Member

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    When heavy factory money left, entries slowly but surely followed suit. Or maybe vice/versa. Compulsory/non-compulsory made no difference. Angles made no difference. Speed/distance made no difference. Yardage made no difference.

    It's all about the Benjamin's. Face it, Trap was highly regarded decades ago. Today, there are a million hobbies a kid or adult can indulge in. Trap simply enjoys a much smaller piece of the hobby pie.
     
  14. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    I musta missed something-the factory money in the options. When did that disappear and who was adding it??
     
  15. Gunwood99

    Gunwood99 TS Member

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    Steve, Thank you for reminding us what it used to be like. I often talk to Nate, my son who shoots a lot better than me, about the good old days and he reminds me those days are unfortunately gone and we have to do our best today.

    However wouldn't it be nice if we could get the support of a folks like the Martins to maybe put up some cars to win---like the old days--- along with the gold coin trophies at some super shoot in VEGAS say in November so the weather would at least have a chance to be really nice????? AND I know the Martins love Vegas! I personally know lots of easterners that would show up for that--and to heck with the averages!

    Just thinking! Phil Simms Prosoft Recoil Systems
     
  16. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

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    Nobody put up the cars and big dollar prizes they were paid by the shooters. If you want to go back to the 70's you would need to adjust the purses and options for inflation. A $60 entry fee for a car shoot in 1970 would be $360 today. A $10 option on the 25's would be $60 today. The usual $100 to play all the purses and options in 1970 would be $600 today. How many of you cowboys want to put up a $600 bet that you can beat Harlan, Rick, Sean, and all the other top shooters. If you want to try I am pretty sure they will take your bet and you can set the targets in any hole and any speed you like.


    jim brown
     
  17. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    Trap shooters will partake of difficult targets and enjoy the experience like no other, just as we did in the bygone era mentioned by Steve!! Those today who pull out of an event because a little wind happens to blow are merely protecting their almighty averages. If such a shoot could be held today, I wouldn't expect too many of the average protectors to show up if it was a registered ATA shoot with difficult targets.

    Who says it must be a registered ATA event anyway? A great shoot promoter could put together such shoots under their own set of shooting rules. Come one come all to play marbles for a piece of the golden pie? You pay to play and no pulling out, period! Sign me up!!

    HAP
     
  18. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Those clubs you mentioned were the Grand Prix Circuit of American Registered Money Trapshooting. And they're all out of business.


    What does that tell you?


    I loved the old days of shooting out west as much as much as anyone, and I've sat in the bleachers out there with snow-capped peaks in the background and watched shooters win cars. But this discussion sounds so much like people in Detroit blaming free trade because their city on the hill is gone. There was something fundamentally unsustainable about it, and it's just easier to blame the bogeyman than accept that reality.


    But as others have pointed out - the good days can be back again, if somebody wants to go to the effort to put on a shoot. Build the shoot and run it the way you want it.


    What? Are you afraid nobody will come?
     
  19. Gunwood99

    Gunwood99 TS Member

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    One thing that would draw a lot of shooters is to separate the elite--All_American shooters into one group, short and Mid yardage shooters in another group(inc'l target managers), and then have a third group for the rest.

    Oh, and do you think the Martins putting up something on the order of 350 grand was sustainable? You'd have to ask Bill and LEE ANN that question?

    I doubt it could work if something was not done along these lines. The car shoots in past years in Ohio is proof of that! But I believe it could be done to get a LOT of excitement back into a dying sport. I fully believe it could be done! And who cares if it happens to be an ATA shoot if the proper guidelines are followed---especially if the ATA refused to sanction the affair! Phil Simms
     
  20. lance howard

    lance howard Member

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    Steve and Dan,
    You got it right. Forget about the averages, allstar team scores, etc, and put the $$$ back in the game. We USED to shoot what the clubs threw. Now we want
    the traps adjusted. The first shoot I ever took my wife to was 1978, Harolds club, fall PITA shoot in November. I was a carpenter making $240 week before taxes and I was the only shooter that ran the last trap in one of the handicaps and it paid $1655 for one stinking 25. I got to shoot with some of the best and it was a lot of fun. Sure,my option money only helped finance the best shooters but I was pleased to be there. We really need to think about the game we play. If you want serious competitors to play any sport, there has to be a reward in it that justifies the effort. I agree that we will loose some of the shooters at first but I think as you have stated that the real trap shooters will be there win or loose. It is better to loose trying to be the best you can than get a trinket for just being there.Just my opinion, but I think we can do better with our sport. Lance Howard
     
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