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In Minnesota we have in excess of 10,000 High School Athletes in competitive shooting trap all throughout the state. They buy shells, shotguns, and they shoot tons of targets. Our club is a busy place all week long.

Our club benefits from that revenue and can continue to function as a profitable and sustainable enterprise. Minnesota hosts 76 Registered ATA shoots in 2022 and my club is scheduled for eight of them. There are also Skeet and Sporting Clay events. All possible because there are venues available.

Kids are a never ending supply of shooting enthusiasts. They help keep the clubs open and our shotgun sports thriving. Maybe not ATA right now, but the long term business model and our future of our sport depends on them.

Lit is correct! Next step is to work on today’s population to promote Registered Shooting. As long as the kids shoot, we have a great facilities, and the some time to promote ATA etc al.

Come On Kids!!

Cheers, Dusty
 

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Disagree Tron-

Yes, one must have disposable income to shoot. Those who have it are heading to the clays courses.

Kind of like the White Sox vs Cubs debate. The Cubs are sold out every game even if they stink. The white Sox can't fill the stadium even giving away tickets.

The Cubs turned going to the game as a social event and it worked. Sporting has been advertising as being a social event and they are winning. The ATA are living in the world of if it is not broke don't fix it and are not wise enough to recognize it is broken.
Duck, I think you have a point. The Sox and Cubs thing was something to think about. Trapshooting in and of itself isn't very exciting as a "spectator sport" A lot of clubs ,and the ATA in general have missed the boat in trying to include families in the mix. Those families have a big influence on how spare time is spent. The wives and children may not be shooting but, ,the clubs could do a lot better in providing a better family oriented and social atmosphere . I know one club who decided to renovate and build on to their club house and provide a better atmosphere for the families. Their membership and their number of registered shooters increased. A couple of the wives actually took up shooting themselves. Sadly there a lot of shooters who see a day at the range as a chance to "get away from the wife and family" ! I have even seen some JERKS on here who say they don't want their spouses or kids anywhere near the gun cub ! :( Also youngster may see Daddy shooting and get a seed planted that may want to do that themselves one day. Anyway, I think your post has merit .
 

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In 1966 five juniors (self included) qualified to shoot for England in the senior DTL team in the Home International Tournament against Scotland, Wales and Ireland and in the postal event against Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Rhodesia (as it was before it became Zimbabwe) for the Mackintosh Trophy. The established members of the England team didn't want to shoot with us thinking we'd shoot like a bunch of lemons under pressure and put them off, so we were put in a squad on our own. We left them red faced because we won the 'International Squad' competition beating all the old farts by some margin! Unfortunately, 56 years later at age 75 I'm the only one still shooting registered targets.
 

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Look at the cover of the latest Trap and Field. Note the number of winners that are young shooters and look inside at the youngsters. The numbers of youth shooting today is far greater than in Lit’s era, you now have AIM, SCPT and high school Clays plus any other. There are kids and parents in the Clay’s program that have never shot before, never owned a gun befor but because of other kids and that it is a varsity sport in many schools become invloved.

if youth were not getting involved you would just have old guys winning and that’s not the case. Maybe your club should get involved in one of the youth programs. Some require their youth put in work time to offset some of the cost.

Not all is gloom and doom.

Don
 

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Our team is pretty young and in 6 years and maybe around 200 unique shooters we have only had 3 keep shooting into college and only 1 post college. Granted we haven’t had a lot of time for any of this to happen yet. We have however picked up 7 parents that are now regular shooters and are still coming out without their youth shooter now that the youth has moved on to other things. It’s great to expose the youth to the sport and teach them firearm safety etc but it’s an expensive way in time and money to pick up very few new long term shooters. We loose a lot of shooters when they get driver’s licenses and boy/girl friends. There are many things competing for their time.
 

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I'll have to respectfully disagree. From our local high school program, between youth and adults, in the past 1-2 years, there has been atleast 10 people, between youth and parent's that have joined ATA, and started shooting registered targets. Whether it's annual or lifetime memberships, it's still members shooting registered targets.

In the winter of 2020-2021, the guy i would go coyote hunting with at night, had a son that was going to be a freshman in high school, and i would always have to cut the nights short on friday and saturday, because i had to get up early to take my daughter to a jackpot shoot. He didn't understand that. Then he signed his son up for trapshooting in the spring of 2021. His now sophomore son, and 6th grade daughter shoot high school trap, and all 3 of them also shoot registered targets. His brother in law signed up his two boys as well.

Our high school team has a couple of coaches that do shoot registered targets, and we are starting to get more and more kids that are interested in shooting registered targets. Now we have a pretty good amount of kids from our program that will go to a few marathons when they have time. Some of the kids are busy with work on weekends, and after school, so they don't always have the time. But they do go when they do. A few of us even bring kids with. We are leaving for a marathon shoot today at 8:30, and i have one of the high school shooters coming over to ride along with us.

Part of this is, does anyone out there introduce these kids to ATA shooting? Maybe if we want to see it grow, and continue on, we need to be the ones to introduce others to it.
 

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First time I set foot on a trap field was in 2018 and that was so my son could get some practice for his first dove hunt. He had so much fun that within two weeks we had him on a trap team.

Six years later he’s just completed his sophomore season, I received my Level 1 coaching certification and we actively participate year round in shooting. We have many parents that have come to the trap world under similar circumstances. Many actively participate with team practice and have become involved in other ways. Quite a few have even taken up shooting.

We have a fair number of our kids that shoot outside of regular season. They’ve formed squads of their own and shoot the weekly leagues at the city parks and rec. range, they shoot the bi-weekly league held by a local club too. We have 12 shooters, and growing, that have signed up to shoot the summer State Games.

Now concerning after they graduate. I still see former shooters at league. One of our coaches has two kids that are former shooters and he still volunteers his time each season. Most kids go on to live their lives and may shoot from time to time, others have received scholarships and shoot for collage teams. We always get a few willing to return and volunteer there time and experience at practice.

With all that said, of our 6 coaching volunteers, 4 coaches never shot trap before introducing their children to it. Two are former youth shooters, one has two kids currently shooting, the other is single with no kids at all. Point, it’s not always about the kids themselves staying involved. The kids involvement is what brings in the demographic some feel we lack, the parents. The future is not a bleak as it looks.
 

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Youth teams make up the bulk of the squads at our local ATA shoots, in my own club I'd put that number at 75% or higher. Biggest impediment these days is cost to shoot. Shells are high, entry fees thru the roof at about any ATA event around the country. Add in travel and meals and costs can easily surpass $1 per target. These youth teams are doing what many of us old timers are doing, cutting back on the local shoots to concentrate on the zone, state and Grand type events. I truly hope they hang in there and we see more teams participating as they are pretty much what's keeping the local shoots afloat in my area.
 

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It's very easy to look at numbers on youth shooters that stick around ( like the author of this post said, look at All-American youth categories at least 2 decades ago and see if they are still registering targets.)

Even the SCTP admitted that the goal of youth shooting was to allow the youth of America to know their 2nd ammendment rights, and to foster a good experience in firearms ( along with safety, fun, and competition ). End goal is that during voting season, the youth who are now adults vote right-wing.

Youth shooting was NEVER about keeping the shooting sports alive by having youth continue shooting throughout their live.

However, I am curious what the numbers are of ATA members who shoot because of their kid ( the kid got the parent into shooting).

I'm an example. My dad shot recreational trap in his teens, stopped, then when I started shooting AIM, he became an ATA member and began registering targets. I'm at the point in my life where I will stop registering targets. I doubt he will register over 500 targets once I'm done.

1. Do parents of youth shooters stop shooting when their kid is done ( like my situation ) ?

The example of myself, maybe youth shooting is the solution to not have trap like the dying sport of American skeet, just in a counter-intuitive way.

2. Do you agree or disagree ?

Very long rant for me and if you made it to the end, thanks

Kyle Kanuha from Pennsylvania
 

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When my father grew up there was no Little League baseball. He played high school baseball. Later he played adult baseball with teams from communities with a tenth of the population we have today.

Now we have hundreds of kids in those communities playing Little League baseball but there is no adult baseball. I haven't heard anything about the church softball leagues in years and they may no longer exist.

Baseball for the kids sure hasn't generated participation in adult baseball.
 

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But most don't.

Promotion effort would be better targeted at Empty Nesters and DINKS.
I've been beating this drum for a long time. I'm a dink. I have money to shoot. 21 year old me did not have money to shoot.

I will never figure out why we give category trophies to every group but my crew. Middle aged men with income to spend, yet I'll shoot a 94 in caps and go home with nothing while a 17 year old who shoots a 79 wins, a lady who shoots a 70 wins, and some 80 year old who shoots a 72 wins...all from the 20 yard line.

Way to make the folks who have money consistently come back.

And someone else who pointed it out is correct...Sporting Clays is a social event. Food, discussions, and time in the woods for 2-3 hours enjoying shade. And guess who the biggest demographic is? Guys like me. 40's and 50's. Very few kids, very few older guys, but more women than I see on the trap field.
 

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My son is now 35 years old. 20+ years ago he shot a lot of ATA and non ATA events. At that time the youth programs were in their infancy and we funded our own youth shooting program. There was no National Championship events other than the World championships known as the Grand American. Today he has the “want to” and the finances to shoot but lacks the time-he his knee deep in LIFE and is time poor. He shoots occasionally when he can.

As a dad,while he was an active youth shooter, I often spoke to him about how important it was as a young adult to dedicate yourself to building your life at an early adult age. I always told him had I not worked hard during my early adult years, we would not be shooting all these targets today. I encouraged him to put his gun away at some point and work hard during his early adult years so he could afford to shoot later in life. He definitely was Listening. I believe he will become a fairly active shooter when he starts to gain more free time when he is late 40’s or in his 50’s.

I am a firm believer that the youth programs that we have had in place for the last 20 years will help future shooter numbers. The recent youth participation numbers have been huge and We have been planting these “seeds” in a big way with our youth programs for the last 15 years-I don’t believe we will see the results for another 10 years when some of the youth SCTP, Aim or High School League shooters start to become over 40 years old and begin to look for a hobby.

Roger
 

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And someone else who pointed it out is correct...Sporting Clays is a social event. Food, discussions, and time in the woods for 2-3 hours enjoying shade. And guess who the biggest demographic is? Guys like me. 40's and 50's. Very few kids, very few older guys, but more women than I see on the trap field.
I shoot a lot of sporting clays and 5-stand. My local sporting and five-stand is very convenient (more convenient than skeet) and no more expensive than trap/skeet. Cheaper actually because I am satisfied with smaller doses and consequently use less ammo. If sporting had been around when when I was a young adult starting out in the shooting sports, it would have been my primary adult hobby.
 

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I started shooting Skeet in 1962 when I was 18. Skeet was strong at out local club in Indiana then. Registered Skeet was popular with monthly "Calcutta" shoots. I had a Winchester model 12, 26" IC with a Simmons vent rib which was all I could afford. There were lots of 35 to 50 year old really good shooters back then to learn from. I shot registered Skeet off and on from 1962 to 2000. Now I shoot for recreation maybe once a week, mainly 20 gauge and .410.

Youth shooting did not exist in the shotgun sports where I lived when I started. I shot small bore rifle at my college for four years.
 
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Nine point three you might ask Minn. why it takes several days to hold their state Clay target championship. It’s because they have over 6000 kids in the program. What would happen if all those kids went to the State shoot. You would have all adult shooters screaming about how unfair it was that the kids ruined their shoot.

Look at your own team shoot, you had large numbers of kids and older shooters were bitching about them the two days they shot.

Before you start throwing rocks maybe you should be looking in your own backyard. Your club didn’t do squat about registered shoots for how many years till Robin & Kathy came back.

Don
 
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