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Saving Trapshooting

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by AA27Rutger, Dec 15, 2009.

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  1. AA27Rutger

    AA27Rutger TS Member

    Joined:
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    If you are disheartened as I am about the decline of trapshooting, please join me in listing things you have seen that cause clubs to be successful. The goal is to give all clubs tools to use to grow trapshooting. These comments are not meant to criticize specific shooters or clubs in any way. Here are some ideas to start the discussion.
    1. Shooters need something to win. Personally I like shells. There is only one thing people will do with shells: sign up and shoot again. With conventional trophies, the dollars spent are gone from trapshooting forever. I also think three dollars per entry (the trophy money) should be returned to the shooters in trophies or money (not capped). In my experience calcuttas bring out the shooters. We need to figure out a way to have them or something similar legally. I think the calcuttas would be more successful if they were 60/40 as the shooters need a motive to sign up.
    2. I also believe food can be a draw. It has to be good, but it does not have to be free.
    3. Using enough traps is important so shooters are not sitting around all day.
    4. The All American Team point system forces shooters to go to the big shoots, hurting the smaller clubs. To gain All-American points, shooters from smaller states must spend large amounts of their trapshooting dollars on travel instead of targets. Pennsylvania, for instance, has a huge state shoot and several other large point shoots. Compare that to Louisiana. I would suggest at the very least all state shoots have the same point value.
    5. The debate over harder versus easier targets never ends, as there is some merit on both sides. Perhaps we need a fourth event of more difficulty such as wobble trap or ZZ bird; then we can leave conventional trap alone.
    6. The ATA needs to evolve with the times. I do not profess to know exactly what to do here, but I do think we need to elect highly motivated delagates. The ATA is now talking about hiring referees for the Grand as the delegaates are not doing their jobs. I also think the ATA needs to be more proactive. Business as usual is failing us. I know competition is a good thing. Perhaps another Trapshooting organization would actually help.
    Ron Rutger
     
  2. Dickgshot

    Dickgshot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Take some tips from sporting clays, which, though it too has declined in this economy, has taken a lot of shooters away from trap.


    (1) forget about prize money. The people who would appreciate winning a few dollars would probably appreciate a lower shooting cost more.

    (2) Some events to challenge shooting skills without requiring perfection.
    Events from a 30-35 yard line; oscillating doubles; 27 yard wobble trap;
    27 yard doubles from a wobble trap. Bring back the shooters to registered trap that are now only "games" players.(Annies, Protections, etc.)
     
  3. instruction

    instruction TS Member

    Joined:
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    Take a friend trap shooting, and then take another one. etc, etc, etc.
     
  4. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Promotion, promotion, promotion!
     
  5. todd farris

    todd farris TS Member

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    A competitive trapshooting association will not help anything. ATA is supposed to be a member driven association. Pressure your rep to do his job, if not, replace him. The only suggestion I have is people make the difference. If your club is friendly to the shooters and is respectful of the shooter's desires within the rulebook, the shooters will come. Good targets and good times are what people want.

    Todd
     
  6. maka

    maka Member

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    Small club I shoot at has Halloween shoot, orange & black targets mixed. 70-80 shooters show up. Lewis class, all 4 pay. In Jan. white targets on snow. Same program and turn out. Another club shoots green targets on St. Patties. Again large turnout and all classes pay. Just some examples low cost fun.
     
  7. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    3 hole targets
     
  8. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Face it, the number of people participating in trap shooting is going to dwindle over time, especially given the increasing cost of the game.

    The answer is economics. Non-traditional revenue must be generated to keep the club in the black and subsidize trap shooting.

    Many younger people prefer the variety of target presentations in sporting clays. I'm not saying this to put trap down, but rather that a smart trap club will also install a decent 5-stand to accommodate them. The more shooters the better for the bottom line. I know at my club there are days when there are far more sporting clays shooters than trap shooters.

    Another thing is to woe people who may not want to actively participate in trap shooting, but instead simply want to become competent enough for hunting. Offer basic shotgunning courses. This would help generate revenue.
     
  9. t-bar

    t-bar Member

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    Ron,

    Could you explain the hiring of referee's for the Grand?

    I agree with everything you have brought up, but have no answer's. Perhaps our new exec. director, Frank Rivley has some new ideas.

    Barb
     
  10. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member

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    Over the past few years, many clubs and individuals have worked very hard to introduce kids to shooting. The number of juniors and sub-jrs has increased at an amazing rate. A part of the success is due to the efforts to reduce costs for the kids. Works well as long as they are kids...we lose too many when they become of age and have to pay their own way at full rate. We need to find a way to reduce the expenses of the game.
     
  11. Big Heap

    Big Heap TS Member

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    Move trapshooting into the 21st Century.

    In the 1800's it was a game for anybody with a shotgun. Fine and dandy. Today it should be a competition between people who are really competitive.

    Let the shooters compete to qualify to shoot against the "pros". We need a Pro Class to separate the best shooters from the rest of us.

    Today, real competition is dead. The "All American" designation should be dropped and we should classify shooters based on how much money they win. That should shake things up. Put up the money and see who can win.
     
  12. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    I'm a 4h coach in middle Tn, we shot SCTP last year and are going with the AIM program this year. I can tell you there is no shortage of young shooters in our area.. All of our local schools have teams and the kids not old enough to be on the schools teams are on our 4h teams. When we go to competition its a all day event, there are usually 10-12 trap fields where we go and there are always a waiting list to get a open field.. I like the trophys, I could care less about the money, I have some old trophys I won shooting years ago and when people come into my shop now they all look to see what they are for, I wouldnt take a sack full of money for them, My daughter won the TN state shoot last year and got a big trophy, I dont think any amount of money could replace her trophy..
    We took a couple of the kids to a small ATA shoot 40 miles from here a couple of months ago, one of them won first place in the d class, it cost $25 to enter, he got $8 back in prize money.. and said he's not going back..
     
  13. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    The two factors that increase the roles of any organization. Price and Promotion. The first can't happen without a major economic change. The second can and should be ongoing but is almost nonexistent.

    If the ATA wants the trapshooting world to expand they must do something about partnering with the small club and understand that they are the incubator for new shooters. When I talk to ATA officials their answer is always the same.... "if we can't get an immediate payback we don't want to spend any money."

    You would think that the success of the SCTP and the new trapshooters it has brought to our organization would have waved a red flag in front of the ATA execs, but either they are stuck is the status quo or not paying attention. The SCTP gave the ATA their AIM program but they still don't see the power of promotion. Without a plan to increase our roles I don't consider the BOD and the EC worthy porters of our organization.

    Promote or die.
     
  14. RLC323

    RLC323 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Karla makes a good point about the expense of this game. It takes a lot of money and time to get good at this sport, and the reward as far as money is not so impressive any more, even at the top of the game.

    As far as inviting prospects to shoot, I quit doing it because I found shooting was an expense most of them could not handle. I have always loved to shoot, and I have been an ATA member since '71. But there were 10 years when my wife and I were just married and raising our son there was just no money or time for trapshooting. So before you invite someone be sure they have the time and money.

    I always felt league shooters were an untapped resource for our sport, we need to find a way to turn more of these casual league shooters into registered shooters, and keep them interested in the sport by strictly enforcing the class and yardage rules. Fastest way to lose shooters is to let them be beaten by those cheats who hide the level of their ability to win another (of their many) Class D trophies.
     
  15. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Barry C. Roach has twice posted the key to increasing participation in our sport. It is promotion. Go to almost any club, turn around and find the nearest gas station and ask directions to the club. They will not know either where the club is or what trapshooting is. I tried for many years to get my neighbor to go trapshooting with me. After a couple of years, I figured out that he thought I trapped animals and shot them in the trap. My home town is rather small. We do have a large Dicks store and I buy 20-30 flats of AA shells every year from them. The people who work at the gun counter in the store have no idea that there is a trap range with 14 registered shoots each year just outside of town. We do not promote trapshooting, so we are the real problem.

    If one has a business, and nobody know where the business is located or what it sells, how can the business become successful?

    Pat Ireland
     
  16. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    How do your cheapen the cost when clubs are throwing targets at cost?? Who pays the difference??

    Maybe a smaller leaner ATA is what is needed? Why do you think everyone ought to be a trapshooter??

    Most promotion costs money so where do the funds come from and how are they to be spent in a already tight budget??? Everyone can be a personal ambassador of the sport but many want to tell others how to do it.

    The BOD & EC are charged to be fiscally responsible. They are made up of people that YOU elect yet you constantly complain about how they do things. Simple solution elect different directors. Fact I think you will find is that most directors are elected by just a few shooters who bother to vote. Check your state bylaws on how your directors are elected, change them if you don't like them.

    It's so much easier to sit and complain and be the no action expert. You have all the answers so get involved and change things.

    You had better believe economics is the major problem right now and if you know how to solve that problem please share. And spreading the wealth is not the answer.

    Don
     
  17. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Lots of good thoughts so far. Letting people know you exist is one way to promote your club. I once drove to a club near Philadelphia for its Black Friday registered shoot. I never thought to use Google or Mapquest and spent over an hour driving up and down the highway from which I was to turn to reach the club without seeing a sign for that road or the club. Even the local UPS route driver never heard of it, yet it was an old, well-established club. Eventually a refuse truck worker told me where it was. When I got there, I wondered how a large 12-trap club could be such a well-kept secret.

    Another concern may be that a club's own members don't know trapshooting is available there. Remember that, at least in these parts, a large percentage of the membership joins in order to use the rifle range once a year. I frequently shoot at one local club that is experiencing a decline in trapshooting and asked me to write something for its January newsletter. That text and a photo illustrating that we trapshooters don't let a few snow flurries interfere with a good bull session is below.

    FROM YOUR CLUB'S TRAP COMMITTEE…

    I have been a regular patron at the HH&A trap fields for 20 years. At first, I fully expected to shoot poorly there because, after all, it was the hardest place to shoot in trap club-rich central Pennsylvania. At least, that’s what everyone told me. And because I bought into that theory, I fully lived up to my expectations. But I eventually decided that I would ignore the nay-sayers and master the joint. I did just that and now enjoy shooting at HH&A as much as anywhere and more than a lot of other places. But I don’t see many club members there and can’t help wondering why.

    When I initially shot at HH&A on Sunday mornings, you almost had to take a number and wait to shoot. The parking lot across the street was always filled to overflowing and that was with the trap help parked all the way against the back of the lot so more customers’ vehicles would fit. Today, that’s not a problem but it results in another one – poor attendance.

    You are missing out on some of the most fun you can have with a shotgun. Chuck Bishop has the two trap machines set to near-perfection, so the targets are not the wild, very challenging ones of yesteryear. Sure, air currents will still play with them but that’s true at any venue. Roger Rosendale goes over the trap machines regularly, so the breakdowns of days gone by are much fewer in number. The cramped sign-up building and its clothes-burning wood stove or, worse yet, sinus-destroying propane heater are gone, replaced with a spacious, modern building with electric heat and more than one light fixture. The faces on hand to sign you up and help you if needed are the friendly ones of Chuck, Roger, Jeff Koser, Steve Johnson and Anthony Pilotti. And then there are Albert, Harry and the rest of the guys who pitch in and help out, all of whose names I unfortunately cannot recall. In retrospect, the “good old days” weren’t this good.

    Your club’s trap fields are open Sunday and Wednesday mornings and, depending upon the season and amount of available help, Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings. The charge for shooting is one of the lowest in the area - $3.00 for 25 targets (although most shooters sign up for 50 at a time). The camaraderie is as good as it gets anywhere. And did I mention that the targets are well-set? Come on out and give it a try! If the participation picks up, we might be able to talk Roger, Chuck, Steve, Jeff and the rest of the crew into hosting some leagues and “fun” shoots for prizes.

    Please don’t hesitate to try shooting trap because you don’t know how or fear the embarrassment of a bad score. We’ve all been there and done that and stand ready to lend a hand however it might be needed.

    For your trap committee,

    ED CLAPPER

    Contributing Editor, Shotgun Sports Magazine



    [​IMG]


    Ed
     
  18. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Location:
    Northampton PA
    Trapshooting got stuck in a time warp and lost it's way out. With the advent of Sporting Clays we saw our potential consumer base drift away and not likely to return. Sporting Clays also took away our "just for fun shooters".Fewer opportunities for people to hunt and shoot birds means no need to practice shooting skills. Trapshooting has become an "old mans game" dominated by a very few young bucks. Youth programs are strictly "feel good" approaches to our current problems. If anyone doubts that fact please tell us how many former All-American junior and sub-junior shooters still continue after mommy and daddy stop footing the bill.

    Some say keep the cost down. Does that mean giving the targets away and charging more for beer and food? Gun clubs are having a hard enough time making it in todays' economy without reducing the price of targets. Trapshooting is probably cheaper today then when I started 45 years ago. Sporting Clays courses around here charge nearly $40/100 and have a full parking lot several days a week. Is this situation reversable-maybe. I'll address possible changes later that may help!!
     
  19. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    I joined the ata last november,now I'm not sure why I did, I honestly couldnt give any new prospect a good reason to join.. I have shot at 3 events, I havent seen the first trophy given, I did see the 1 kid get his $8.. So with that being said..lets say i did shoot,and register 1000 targets or 10000 targets.. What benefit is that to me? other than telling people I have x number of registered targets? I guess I dont really understand the bigger picture..thanks!
     
  20. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure kids are the answer. Oh yes, they are important to the distant future of the shooting sports, but in the short term (where those sports need help NOW), not so much. I say that for a couple of reasons.

    My son couldn't wait to join me on the trap fields and started at age nine. He attended Nora (Martin) Ross and Phil Kiner clinics and traveled to distant ATA shoots with me. He had some success and won the junior singles championship at a tournament in North Carolina. Then he discovered girls and scholastic baseball, football and wrestling. His available shooting time became more limited. Then he got his driver's license and we bought him a vehicle. Shooting suddenly became something to do when there were no other options. Now he's 28, engaged, just bought a home and will be off to dental school in a year or so. I bought him a new trap combo in 2005 and I'll guarantee you it doesn't have four flats of shells through it in four+ years - and that includes dove hunting!

    Ten years ago, at the 100th Grand, ATA treasurer Tom Burkey and I were riding out the west end in his golf cart and were discussing the future of trapshooting. I mentioned kids being the sport's future and Tom disagreed, citing the above scenario and proposed that the population in its "middle" years should be our target. Their kids are out of the nest, their mortgage may be nearing its end and they have more disposable time and income than in years past. Kids stop shooting when dad stops paying and don't have the time and money to pick it back up until they become "middle-aged." That made sense to me then and still does.

    We have to keep recruiting kids but we now have to double our efforts toward the parents who stopped shooting 20+ years ago to buy a home and raise a family. They are the crop we hopefully planted that is ripe for harvest.

    Ed
     
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