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Rend Lake Shooting Complex - What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Larry Chinski, Jul 23, 2008.

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  1. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    Hey all:

    I recently moved to southern Illinois and am a short distance from the Rend Lake Shooting Complex. I have been surprised to see how few trapshooters there are here. I realize it is a large sporting clays facility, but with 10 trap fields, all pat traps, voice release and beautiful grounds, I would think it would be a premier site to shoot trap.

    I have been talking with the new director of the facility, who has asked me to help get the trap program successful again. He is very very interested in making it successful and will do whatever it takes. As an example he is going to be pouring new concrete for all the walks next week, as they are badly broken up and was the first thing I noticed and recommended right away.

    I would like to hear any positive or negative comments from anyone who has shot either practice or registered there in the last couple years, so I can help make some improvements. Any comments at all that can help us get it going would be appreciated. These can range from target setting to administrative. I'll listen to anything!

    Thanx for the help...

    Larry C
     
  2. hammer-time

    hammer-time TS Member

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    Larry, can't help you on the trap fields, but if their like the sporting and 5 stand, maybe. I was their for the southern IL Zone shoot.

    The biggest problem I've seen down there is the place is showing it's age and poor upkeep. I talked with the manager, don't remember his name, but like him.

    The 5 stand bleachers were terrible. I saw one guy almost break his leg when the end of the bench broke and his leg went through from being rotten. I saw another gent sit to watch a round, and when he stood up, his backside was sticking to teh bench from the resin from the wood that leeched out. Ruined his pants. The sporting course was pretty nice, but the traps were showing their age on many stations. Birds were very inconsistant.

    Nice facility, but it needs some TLC and $ put back into it. I know a bunch of locals were upset that he state decided to spend all that money on Sparta when they had Rend in such need.
     
  3. WoodsonEnt

    WoodsonEnt Active Member

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    Larry,

    I have been to Rend Lake, and it was a great place to shoot! My understanding is when it was a great place, it has gone to a poor place! This is just rumor, and I haven't been there in awhile. The rumor is, that the place has been run recently by a group of sporting clays shooters from the St. Louis area. They care about sporting clays, and not Trap. They had a shoot on July 13th. I heard from 3 different people, that it was awful. The people running the place was gone to a Sporting Clays shoot, and had left someone else in charge. Apparently this someone else was all alone, and not much experience. These 3 people commented that they would never go back! I do not know anything for sure, just only what I have been told. I wish it would be run right and regain popularity! I like shooting there, and would like to vend there.

    Matt
     
  4. jevoliva

    jevoliva Member

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    Last time I was there (sometime last fall, I believe).. I saw both problems in action. Bad facilities and HORRIBLE running of the shoot. Like to the point they had problems posting the scores and had absolutely no way of figuring the options. The thing that really got me pissed off about was they never posted who played what options. How can you make sure the payouts were correct? If memory serves, I received a packet about two weeks later with a full shoot report including who played the options and how they were divided, but you can't provide that at the time of the shoot?

    The shoot was late getting started (by about 45 minutes if I remember correctly), the targets were inconsistent, the food was average and the general management of the shoot was mass confusion. The other thing that really turned me off is that there was a general feeling that running the ATA shoot that weekend was a giant hassle.

    I agree with the scheduling issue -- when you go head-to-head with either Brittany or Carmi (I don't know for sure there has ever been a conflict with Carmi), people will go to those places first, even if they have to drive 30-60 miles more.

    I just looked up when I shot there last year and it was March 18, 2007. I shot a 99 in singles and a 97 in dubs -- my 83 in the handicap didn't help the attitude either! :) Larry, if you need any more input from someone who has ran shoots, let me know. Either PM me or we can meet up at the Grand.

    John Voliva
     
  5. Kent

    Kent TS Member

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    Larry called me last night and introduced himself and told me of his forthcoming efforts to help Rend Lake. I was impressed with his sincerity and he does have the qualifications to get the job done.

    We discussed at length what my thoughts were of what went wrong and what needs to be done to change directions.

    One point that I did not bring up to him was the lack of a club atmosphere that is no longer prevalent. No programs other than a monthly registered shoot are scheduled. In the past the facility was supported by the “deep pockets” of the Rend Lake Conservancy District and thought of as a tourist attraction to add to the other offerings the district had, golf course, hotel, restaurant, and campgrounds. With the change in politics also came a change in the views the Districts BOD had about not making a profit there.

    I do believe that as a tourist facility it did draw a few visitors to the site. Local support was at a bare minimum with only about 10 regular ATA shooters within a 30-mile range of the site. A few years back we would generally have 10 to 15 squads with a large percentage of shooters traveling in excess of 100 miles to participate at a registered shoot. We would have at least two squads from Indiana such as John above who commented (at least 75 miles to the Indiana line). We would have a squad from Tennessee, 200 miles away. Two squads from Kentucky, and 3 or so from the St. Louis area, and one from the Cape Girardeau (Southern Missouri). We even had a regular shooter with Alaska license plates on his truck. The remaining supporters were from the Carmi club, Carrier Mills club, KVS club and central Illinois.

    In the last two seasons I have only been there twice and was very disappointed in the way the program was run. I attended their last registered shoot, which was sponsored by the Illini Indians, whom supplied the trophies. The event winners went home without their trophies because the manager was off at a sporting clays shoot and did not think ahead enough to take them out of the safe and leave them for his designated program director (being kind here) to award.

    I too have heard the phrase “I will never go back there” from many, many shooters.

    Larry, I hope you can make a difference but it will be a difficult task. I wish you success.


    Kent Southard
     
  6. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    Thanx for the comments thus far guys. Keep them coming!

    I am compiling a list and will discuss each and every one with the new management. As I said, Jeff (the new manager) appears to be very interested in getting the trap program running again. As a matter of fact, he will more than likely leave that part of it to me as many of you are correct, he is much more of a sporting clays shooter and is more familiar with those procedures and what it takes to run a successful sporting clays shoot. He openly admits that he is just not familiar with what a good trap target looks like, how a proper shoot should be run, etc.

    Some of these problems I can fix immediately - such as target setting and running the shoot itself. I set all targets with a radar gun, and to exact specificataion. Even when I set targets for practice, I use the radar gun. Ever hear the phrase "practice makes perfect"? That is actually wrong. The real phrase should be "perfect practice, makes perfect". This means you should practice whatever it is the exact way you will perform it. So why would you just set targets on a practice day not to regulation? Doesn't happen with me. Kent (Killians Red) has given me some great advise on how to fix simple things like classification, posting of scores, trophies, and the program as well. I can take care of that.

    As for money, obviously that is a concern. That part of it I really can't do much about, so updating the houses, etc will be something I will discuss with Jeff but can only make recommendations there. I know the concrete will make a big difference in the next week or so.


    I may not be the perfect solution, but am the Preisdent of Downers Grove Sportstmens Club, run all of the ATA TO shoots, help with the trophy shoots, and have been in the ATA for a number of years. I love this sport and want to see this place become successful. I will do my best to do that and may ask some of you guys from time to time for advise, etc if that is ok.

    If some of you who responded to this thread would email me, so I have your contact info that would be great. I wouldn't mind maybe calling you for 15 mins and chatting. Kent was extremely helpful last night, even though I called him at 10:00 at night! haha

    I will keep everyone informed of what chages we make and when I will take over the first shoot. We may start with something simple like a targes only or something. I'd be interested to see if that appeals to everyone, or would a trophy shoot be the way to go?

    Thanx again...

    Larry Chinski
     
  7. Harv Shell

    Harv Shell TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Location:
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    Larry,<br>
    I posted this on another thread, but based on John & Kent's replies,<br>
    it would apply here too.<br>
    <br>
    1. Great targets all set legal & the same.<br>
    2. Start on time & keep it moving.<br>
    3. Friendly attitudes.<br>
    4. Great food at reasonable prices.<br>
    5. Talk up your club at other shoots & ask people to come check it out.<br>
    6. Repeat step 1-5 every shoot.<br>
    <br>
    As you know, this is all we did at your home club to become 2nd in <br>
    Illinois last year in registered targets thrown, behind Brittany and not<br>
    counting Sparta. Good luck, Harv.
     
  8. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    Good advise Harv - I agree 100%
    I am sure I will be calling you for more advise once we get going bud....
     
  9. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Larry:

    Not to sound like taking a "Band-Aid" approach, but fix what absolutely needs fixing and slap a "coat of paint" on that puppy to make the place presentable, rationing/squeezing every cent out of every dollar until George starts to scream!

    While you're doing that promote a couple "Open House" programs to get some butts in the door, while trying to realign the scheduled programming. Figure out how to make Rend Lake a trap "destination".

    You did a masterful job with ATA at DGSC and while I couldn't be happier for you on the move, I was sorry to learn how far away you went...

    Good Luck on the new mission...

    Jay Spitz
     
  10. Kent

    Kent TS Member

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    Hello again Larry,

    A reputation is great but when it goes bad it is a hard thing to change. I would not say that Rend had a reputation in the past of throwing easy targets but a reputation of throwing good targets. More shooters have carded some of their best rounds at Rend because of the good targets and perfect background. Another program that the site used to do is a personal recognition award for 100 straights. A simple "Tee" shirt that was given out to honoree. These were appreciated by the shooters and were great advertisement for the club. They used to be seen at trapshoots all over the states I mentioned above.



    [​IMG]
     
  11. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    Thanx Jay - good to hear from ya! I can't take credit for the ATA program at DGSC. That was mostly Harv and he allowed me to be his bee-atch for a couple years, until he suckered me into doing the TO shoots.

    I like that T-shirt Kent. That can't be too expensive to put together. There is a board of 100's on the wall as well, but it looks rather old.

    Larry C
     
  12. jevoliva

    jevoliva Member

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    Larry,

    My e-mail is above. Did I read your post right, you are the current President of Downer's Grove? That is a VERY fine club and wish I could make it up there more often -- I shot up there for the first time at the Weikum shoot this year.

    Drop me an e-mail.

    John
     
  13. arnie2

    arnie2 TS Member

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    I have never been there so I can't comment on the facilities, but I would advise that someone update the Rend Lake web site, there are no events listed for 2008 and the shooting rates are shown as 2007 rates, so it appears no ones updated it for 2008 yet and the years half over.

    Hopefully they'll give you the support needed to turn Rend Lake around, I've been thinking of taking a trip down there this fall for a long weekend.
     
  14. Kent

    Kent TS Member

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    John are you and Mike W. goning to give us out of staters any chance this weekend at Evansville? You need to invite Larry over to your shoot and have him meet all the Indiana shooters that used to come to Rend.

    See you Sunday for sure.
     
  15. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    I agree with the web site - it is indeed in need of updating. I am an IT guy myself so will get with whoever manages that and get some more recent information and maybe some pictures on there.

    Yes John I am the current President of DGSC. I was the Vice President the previous two years as well. It's a great place to shoot!

    Larry C
     
  16. jevoliva

    jevoliva Member

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    Kent,

    I will _probably_ shoot Saturday and most likey Sunday. I just got my second eye done on Tuesday and am axious to try shooting with no contacts. But, I have some stuff to get done around the house, so Saturday may be out.

    I spoke with Mike yesterday evening at the fair and he said he would be out on Sunday. See you then!

    John
     
  17. cim jr.

    cim jr. TS Member

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    I used to travel from south of Nashville,Tn to shoot there.It was great! When Dennis left the Trap-shooting went to hell.I broke 400 singles there and never got my T-shirt they kept telling me it had been mailed to me.

    I hope that I can go back because 2-squads from Tenn used to shoot there.

    CIM
     
  18. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    I grew up only about an hour from Rend Lake. Didn't shoot as a kid but did go there after I took up shooting. I could head downstate and visit my parents and go to a shoot at Rend Lake. Broke my first 100 straight there and have the t-shirt, that was in '03 as part of a two day shoot that as I recall they used to have on a somewhat regular basis. Met Killian's Red down there (although he probably doesn't remember), gave me a couple of Marathon hats when he found out how far I drove to get there. Got a punch for a 97 there the same weekend. At the time it seemed a pretty popular place to shoot and the target/background were very good. That was back when Dennis was running it.

    Was there in '06 (I think) on a Friday, three of us from Naperville were heading to Evansville for their 4th weekend shoot so we took an extra day and shot skeet and sporting at Rend Lake. I was somewhat disappointed then with the overall condition, machines on the sporting clay course that were out of service, etc. Didn't shoot any trap.

    Now if I drive that far to shoot on a weekend it's to Evansville. They run a fine shoot over there with decent prizes and a good perpetual purse to shoot for.

    Scott
     
  19. Dave P

    Dave P TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    What kind of condition and cleanliness is the hotel/motel complex in? Dining facilities?
     
  20. Larry Chinski

    Larry Chinski Member

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    Hey Dave:

    The resort is beautiful. There are three types of living quarters available, and that are only a mile form the shooting complex. There is a regular hotel at the resort, cabins that can be rented that have a little backyard that runs to the lake, and boatels, which are rooms that are literally sitting right on the lake.

    Aside from the resort there is the seasons lodge and condos that can be rented as well. There is a restaurant on the resort property, and a couple very nice campgrounds. As a matter of fact, the shooting complex has probably 8-10 campsites right across from the shooting line! It is for many of these reasons I was surprised it was not more popular.

    Thanx again...

    Larry C
     
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