I shot at that shoot this week . I thank everyone involved in running that shoot. My targets were fine . I did not shoot well enough to win a trophy this year. But if I won anything. I was brought up to say thank you . I wish I could shoot as well as some people who won a trophy. Good shooting to all that did !
Having been a one woman trophy committee for a few years for the ATA, I can tell you it is a very difficult and thankless job. Trophy preferences from shooters varies widely from one part of the country to another, there is no one perfect award. Clubs earmark a set dollar amount out of the entry fees to cover trophies, so the hope is always that the number of entries will at least equal the budget already spent in advance for the trophies.
I'm not involved with the Grand trophies any longer, but back when I was, the budget varied from $1200-$5,000 per event, depending on which event it was (obviously, the championship events with the expected larger number of entries had the biggest budget). At that time, $3 per entry fee was designated for awards. I had to purchase almost 2,000 individual awards to supply just the Grand.
I volunteered my time at the request of a past ATA president, after I complained about a trophy that Leo had won. It turned into a big effort, I spent about 10 hours per week for almost 50 weeks of the year dealing with trophies. After several years of doing this for no pay (I really did enjoy the job.) the Executive Committee and I just couldn't agree on things so I gave the job back to them. Now days the ATA has hired someone to do this job.
The ATA not only buys Grand trophies but also supplies trophies to 57 state/provincial shoots, 5 zone shoots, and 10 satellite grands. Ten years ago, that budget was close to $350,000 and that was before the added categories and inflation, so I can only imagine what has to be budgeted today. This is no small job.
Anyone who thinks they can improve the selection at their local club, should just step right up and volunteer, and while you're at it, donate or get donations, to lessen the cost, that's what I did.
I use to buy trophies for a local club, they gave out Kirk Stieff pewter bowls, cups, dishes, etc
This was in the late 70's early 80's, entry fees were much lower and prizes were better.
I guess inflation changed all this, trophy prices got higher and entry fees did not increase accordingly.
A lot of the trophies these days are less than ideal even at the Grand but do not think most shooters would be willing to see entry fees increase.
It's funny that you should mention an eagle trophy, that was what got me involved with trophies. I always tried to buy American made items but price got to be a factor. I also loved the idea from a Canadian club that bought from a local wildlife artist, but that is just impossible in some areas.
We had a lot of Kirk Stieff pewter in our basement. Leo stockpiled so many that years ago, we sold a pickup load to a pewter-smith who had a shop close to us. He was thrilled to get some of the handles, legs, decorations that they used but had broken the mold and were no longer available. We sold enough to buy a new refrigerator!
When silver hit an all time high back in the '80s, it was a great time for Leo to sell, it was a really bad time to try and buy silver trophies. I still have many place settings of sterling silverware that Leo won at the Grand over the years. At one time, we took a count of 54 place settings, but over the years have given away some to special friends and family, none of that has ever been/will never be sold.
IMO the point is this: Trapshooting is a GAME, it's done for FUN with your friends. If you don't win, strive to improve the next time and don't be a sore loser. If you do win, accept whatever award is handed out, but remember the real prize is the pride of being the best that particular day, be a gracious winner.
Even the very best shooters lose more than they win, you can't predict when it's going to be your day and only shoot when you know you will win. When it stops being fun, find a new game, life is too short to be unhappy.