January 1 2019
The new calendar year has begun, and as is generally the case in January, it is cold! Not a lot of shooting going on right now, turkey shoots are things of the past as are the holidays. There are a few are leagues happening, as well as a few fun shoots. With the New Year come new hopes and dreams, as well as new goals or the renewal of old goals that were never achieved. What-ever the case, this is the time of year that one can stay inside and work on one’s mental game. You can also practice gun mounts so that you and your gun feel like you are “one.” This is a good practice to do so that your gun doesn’t feel like a 2x4 when you mount it for your first shoot of the year.
I recently returned from an Executive Committee meeting in Sparta IL. Our meeting was in the ATA offices, so we didn’t even visit the shooting complex. It would have been interesting to see the complex in a non-shooting time frame. I am sure it would have looked quite sterile. As far as the meeting went, The ATA is sound financially, and made a profit last year, not a massive prof-it, but still a profit. Plans are already underway for next year’s Grand American Shoot. Sponsors are being contacted, trophy packages are starting to come together, and the program is in its infancy. The state of Illinois is very happy with the shooting complex, and future funding seems secure. The economic impact the shooting complex brings to the local communities is huge. The pot-holes on Cardinal Road (the main road into the complex), have been filled and the road repaved.
With the New Year comes some new laws. One of the new laws in many states is an increased minimum wage. Good news for employees, but probably increased target and shell prices for the shooters. It is times like this that I urge shooters to help volunteer at the local clubs. By vol-unteering, we can help keep costs down and keep enjoying the sport we love.
It may be cold outside, but it is a good time to start planning your shoot calendar for the year. Something that is becoming quite a success is the Western Zone Big 50. The latest shoot, the third week of December, had over 130 participants zone wide. Hopefully, the program will get larger every month. This is a great venue to shoot if you are just wanting to ease into the sea-son, or just not strong enough to shoot a 300 bird day. The monthly pay-offs are being posted on the ATA home page, under “Latest News.” I hope more clubs in Utah host some Big 50 shoots.
Next on the calendar is the Spring Grand in Tucson, Arizona. This is always a very large shoot that generally has nice warm weather. Anything will be warm compared to what we have in Utah during February.
Then in March, Purgatory holds its three-day shoot, and then the season is off to a rapid start with most weekends having a shoot somewhere. Then before you know it, it is summer!