"ATA Delegate Newsletter" 

            by ED WEHKING
            Past ATA President          
Utah ATA Delegate

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Past ATA President
Utah ATA Delegate
HomeProgramsResultsInfoClubsHOFTeamsATA NewsSponsors

May 2024

Trapshooting season is in full swing at last. That’s a good thing. Being springtime in Utah, the weather is usually cold, wet and windy, which is a bad thing. But, at least we are shooting clay pigeons! 

Last month, I congratulated Tyler Workman on being named Rookie of The Year by Trap and Field. I also mentioned putting together a list of past Utah RoY and their status as I know it.

Before I get into the history of Utah’s award winners, let me digress a little and talk about the roots of the program as a whole, and the All American Team program.

Rookie of the Year first started in 1966. Sports Afield Magazine selected the RoY from 1966-1973. Those making the selections for Sports Afield were probably Jimmy Robinson, Betty Ann Foxworthy, and possibly Joan Davis. Since 1973, selections were made by various Trap and Field editors. 

Jimmy Robinson was a longtime editor for Sports Afield Magazine. In 1925, he became ATA life member # 910. In 1927, he started selecting the ATA All American Teams, which he did alone until 1964. He founded the ATA Hall of Fame and was instrumental in the formation of Ducks Unlimited.

Betty Ann Foxworthy joined the Trap and Field staff in 1956 and was named editor in 1960. Her knowledge of shooters made her a valuable All-America Team Selection Committee member since 1964, along with Jimmy. These two collaborated on the book "All-America Trapshooting Teams" in 1979. As a side note, Betty Ann’s husband Roy, was the 1960 Grand American Handicap champion.

* Information on Jimmy and Betty Ann was copied from the ATA Trapshooting Hall of Fame archives. 

Utah has had 14 Rookies out of approximately 119 total. With help from the editors at Trap and Field, I am happy to say Utah has the lead. Texas and California are close with 12, and 10 respectively. It appears there have been recipients from 31 states, and one Canadian province. Utah is represents 3% of the the states/provinces, yet almost 12% of the total winners. More of my useless trivia from Mark Twain, who was fond of quoting someone saying “lies, damed lies, and statistics.” So take all these numbers with a grain of salt.

Shon Thomas 1987, deceased. Active from 1987-2003 (sporadic after 1991). Shon was a great guy, tall and very physically built. He shot a Beretta 686 combo. The gun wore a raw spot on his cheek, which apparently didn’t bother him, as would finish an event with a very good score yet have blood on his cheek.I shot with Shon many times. He was a world-class shooter. If he had stuck with the game, he could have been as good as anyone Utah has ever produced. 

Stuart Pope, 1990, active from 1990-1996. He and his father, Tad, frequented a lot of clubs. Stuart still shoots fun shoots, and I see him every year at some of the local meat shoots. He can still point a gun very well.

Mike Patterson, 1992, Active from 1992-1998. The bulk of his targets were shot in 1992-1993. I don’t have any information on Mike, other than he was a junior at the time.

Robert Spencer 1993, deceased. Active from 1993-2000
I know very little about Robert other than that he was rather elderly for a Rookie of the Year, about 55. 

Keith Ward, 1997, active from 1997-2016, a few years skipped along the way. I was in California during Keith’s heyday. Thus, I never shot with him, to my recollection. 

Scott Syme, 2006, is still active. I have shot with Scott many times. Scott started his shooting career with a Browning combo but very recently switched to Krieghoff. Besides his regular job in the computer industry, he is in the apiary business. In other words, he raises bees and sells honey.

Robert Helms, 2009, active from 2009-2014. I recently saw Robert while he was visiting folks at a shoot. He and his wife Becky, used to be regulars at the local shoots. They also used Browning shotguns, and helped run the Kane County Gun Club, in Kanab, Utah. 

Roger Stitt 2010, Occasionally active. He last shot in 2022, however, he told me he planned on shooting some this year. Roger is one of those quiet, unsung shooters. You noticed him most when you looked at the scoreboard. Roger told me he was also an outstanding baseball player. He said he could throw a beeline from centerfield to home plate, until he tore his rotator cuff, thus ending that portion of his hobbies.

Chris Kinder, 2011, still active. Chris won the Utah State Handicap Championship his rookie year with 100 straight. I am not sure what gun Chris started with, I do know he is currently shooting a Kolar, and shoots it well. Chris owns his own HVAC business, yet has managed to find the time to be recognized as one of the mega target shooters the last two years, with an excess of 20,000 targets each year.

Ryan Hancock, 2013, is no longer active. He is my nephew and he really learned to shoot very well. He didn’t shoot much after his rookie year. As with many people, family and work take precedence over hobbies.

Dayle Street, 2015, active from 2015-2019. Dayle, like many shooters, has been through several guns. He ended with a Kolar. I had given him some pointers before his first ATA shoot. In his first singles event, he shot an 85. The next day, he called me to let me know that he had broken 100. The hook was set. I have shot with Dale many times and still visit with him quite often.  

Brett Despain 2017, still active. I have shot with Brett many times and visit with him often at the shoots. He flies for Delta Airlines, so he can be absent for a while or around for a while.

Avery Fitzgerald, 2021, is still active. Avery has two sons who also shoot. All three have made the Utah State Rookie of the Year. This family loves to shoot. His wife Brandi is the sister of former Rookie Stuart Pope.

Tyler Workman, 2023, Active. I don’t know a whole lot about Tyler other than he is always a contender.  

To the best of my knowledge, I have shot with at least nine, maybe ten of these gentlemen (some of my useless trivia). It is sad to think some are deceased, and sad that some have fallen away from the “Church of Trapshooting.” Only half of them are currently shooting ATA. Sometimes, life gets in the way of our hobbies.