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Your first Grand American experience

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by senior smoke, Dec 28, 2011.

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  1. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
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    7,577
    Location:
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    Hello:
    I started trapshooting in 1970, and the first Grand that I attended was in 1986. Attendance was up, and local shoots were packed with competitors. It was a great time to start shooting. In my opinion, one of the greatest shooting magazines at the time was The American Shotgunner magazine.

    Dan Bonillas was the main man in trapshooting in the 70's and around that time. I asked my wife if I could go to the Grand American as she knew how much it meant to me. We left Milwaukee around 12 midnight and after all the stops with the to children we made it there around 8am.

    Seeing the Grand American's main entrance was something that I could not explain to a non shooter. It felt like the Holy Grail. Walking the grounds and seeing Dan Bonillas in person was like shaking the hand of a rock star at that time.

    I had back to back 96's in the handicaps which was great shooting for me, but not when shooting along the best shooters in the world. I got to see Leo with his Remington 1100, as I remember saying to myself that his gun looked like a kids toy gun in his hands.

    I went to the hall of fame and seeing the guns of the past champions was something hard to explain. I could not believe seeing things that belonged to Arnold Rieger, Charlie Sparrow Young, I was like a kid in a candy shop.

    After the final day of the shoot I walked the grounds in front of the shoot off area and it hit me that I was in a very special place. Remembering the the greats who shot off for championships over the years gave me the chills.

    Like in the movie, I silently wanted to ask myself if I was in in Heaven, knowing very well that I was standing at the Grand American in Vandilia. It was a special place then, as it will always be in the hearts of trapshooters.

    If you could tell us about your first Grand American experience either in Ohio or in Sparta, most of us would like to hear about it. If you are a true shooter that loves this sport and respects the history of the game, you owe it to yourself to attend sometime.

    Steve Balistreri
     
  2. crusha

    crusha TS Member

    Joined:
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    5,762
    Wow, you mean you didn't shake Arnold Riegger's hand and buy him a pork sandwich?


    I'm shocked.
     
  3. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    buzz-gun:
    I would have loved to have met Mr. Rieger and shake his hand. It is because of people like him that we have such a great sport and history.
    Steve
     
  4. Dustoff

    Dustoff Member

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    May 24, 2011
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    How about Britt Robinson, was he there?
     
  5. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    7,577
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    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    Dustoff:
    Not to my knowledge.
    Steve
     
  6. Fast Oil

    Fast Oil TS Member

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    918
    My first Grand, 1970. In the hole loading targets on the arm. Long and dirty days. Anyone remember Cletus Zerkle?
     
  7. Martinpicker

    Martinpicker Active Member

    Joined:
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    Last August at Sparta was my first year at the Grand. Never got to go to Vandalia, but I thought the facility at Sparta was amazing! I shot five days of the prelim week. Wonderful experience. I would love to go back. My only complaint is against those people who were in front of me in the squadding line who reached the window after 45 minutes and then pulled out five or six ATA cards and stood there scheduling their entire AIM team for the entire week! Very inconsiderate! Jack
     
  8. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Jack:
    I would agree with you. Some people are so focused on what they are doing that they forget about common sense.
    Steve
     
  9. Snookassassin

    Snookassassin Member

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    I remember Cletus .Snookassassin, Clif Adams
     
  10. Snookassassin

    Snookassassin Member

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    I was in Dayton for business and went to the Grand to watch my friend shoot. I had shot trap from a hand thrower but never at a range. I bought a gun, joined the ATA and shot one hundred singles. Broke 76 and have been getting worse ever since. I have never missed a grand since I started in 1974. Still some of the best memories of my life.

    Happy New Year Everyone,

    Clif Adams
     
  11. Russ-in-Pa

    Russ-in-Pa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    721
    I haven't attended the GRand yet, but hope to sometime soon.

    I will be attending this year's Dixie Grand, and it will be my first "Big" shoot.
     
  12. snkypete

    snkypete Member

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    I attended the 88th Grand in 1987 at Vandalia. What an experience! You just
    knew you were at a very special place. Seeing Ray Stafford, Dan Bonillias,
    Leo Harrison III and other prominant shooters of the time was cool. The Hall of Fame was equally great. Vendor's row was awesome. Although parking was a
    nightmare, it was a great experiance.

    A couple of years ago I attended the Grand at Sparta. Had a heck of a time finding the place, but parking was no problem once I got there. The facility
    was excellent and with age and maturity it will get even better.

    I'm glad I got to experience both places. I hope I can find the time and resources to go back to Sparta someday.

    Richard
     
  13. mx8dave

    mx8dave Member

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    Location:
    Washington
    We were there in 2007 and 2010 ,very hot in 2007 ,had storms in 2010, but a really great experience,It is a little closer to us at Sparta ,maybe this year? It is like heaven to get to visit all the booths and dealers ,everyone should do it at least once ,I got to shoot on a squad behind Harlen and saw several known big Dogs ,Got a hug out of Karla Anne ,I could go on ,,but ,,you need to go to experience it ..MX8Dave
     
  14. BigBadBob

    BigBadBob TS Member

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    861
    When I was a kid I wanted to go to Vandalia, Ohio to shoot. Did not get the chance. Now, my oldest son is almost 16 and has been shooting SCTP for 5 years and AIM for 4. I have been attending Sparta for 5 years for the SCTP and AIM National Shoots. Still have not shot in the Grand myself, though it is a site to see. Some day, maybe, I'll get the chance to shoot for myself and maybe they'll name a gun after me. LOL
     
  15. War Wagon

    War Wagon Member

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    At the old Grand a guy i was shooting with pointed out a guy by one of those big trees and asked me if i knew who that was....i said no...it was Gen Paul Tibbets..... Yes it was him and i was to scared to go over there and thank him for what he and his crew did for our country. I will always regret that
     
  16. mike2010

    mike2010 TS Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
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    Last year was my first and it was a great time,we as ata members have a great place at Sparta,people were very helpful and nice and the temps were great during prelim week and for the sat. and sun aim shoot,hope to return next year
     
  17. rw993

    rw993 Active Member

    Joined:
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    439
    My first was Vandalia and I was EXHAUSTED
     
  18. Big Heap

    Big Heap TS Member

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    1941 - My dad and I traveled by rail to Chicago then to Dayton. Stayed downtown and was driven to Vandalia and back everyday. Dad and I had our picture in the Grand issue of Sportman's Review. 1996 Grand issue of Trap and Field has a picture of me being presented my 55 years attendance patch.

    (I got bored at the shoot and stayed in town one day to see "Sgt. York". I had 20 silver dollars to spend on the trip - seldom seen in Ohio.)
     
  19. Allen-MX8

    Allen-MX8 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    I have been to the Grand only twice and the first time was in 2007. I only shot the Budweiser Handicap on a Sunday and wow! was it ever hot! I think about 104 degrees that day. I hit a Lewis Class and won a little money though.

    The 2nd time was the next year 2008.

    Allen
     
  20. frostyman

    frostyman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    missouri
    I have went every year but one to Sparta (the hottest year). This last year I shot every event, prelim and grand week. That might have been a little much but will probably do it again this year. Great place. The first day of squadding does suck. They need to open up an hour earlier on the first day. After the first day the lines get a lot shorter.
     
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