Grand Time at the Grand Nationals!

Sep 12th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Sports

By Bob Copeland

As the year comes to a close for the registered ATA and AIM events for 2013, the last big event of the season is the Grand Nationals held at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL. August 4th, 5th and 6th is all about the AIM Youth athletes who come from all over the United States and Canada to compete for one of the many trophies that will be awarded.

It is a time to enjoy all that the Grand National has to offer. A time in which the athletes can dream about someday maybe owning the $30,000.00 shotgun they get to take out and try or standing on the platform where he or she might be to receive the trophy for winning it all. It is also a time to compete in the shooting roundup which has a variety of events from pistol challenges to 3 gun tactical and cowboy action competitions to Annie Oakley showdown and a 28 ga. trap event. A collection of fine food to fancy leather shell bags and every accessory you could image that might make mom and dad or grandma and grandpa windup without a penny left in their pocket when it is all over.

For the 15 members of the Central Arkansas Trap Shooters who made the trip, it was a special time. It was a time to laugh and have some fun. They worked hard to raise the money to pay their entry fees and buy their shells. They were full of hope and had high expectations as they stood in awe and looked down the 3 miles of trap fields. For the majority of them this was their first time to see a shooting complex of this magnitude but never the less they came to compete and win.

As the competition began it became apparent that were doing what they came to do. The scores started to mount up and their confidence level soared to a new height. During the 3 days of competition all of the athletes shot at a level that topped their personal best for the year. 25 straight, 50 straight and 75 straight became the norm for those who shot singles. Some also topped their best in handicaps and doubles. It was a proud time when the patches were given out and all of the hats were shot for shooting 25 or more in a row. As far as our teams went, our sub-junior team placed nineth overall in their division while our two junior teams placed nineth and twelfth overall in their division. There was over 330 teams competing so you can see that was pretty good.

For Ryan Bowen, third place winner in the Beretta Pistol Challenge, Joe McAlee, third place winner in the 28 ga event, and Mitchell McCarty, third place winner in sub-junior class in singles, getting a trophy was icing on the cake. For the rest who came close to getting a trophy it was still a time to be proud of the way and the skill level they competed on. It heard the saying, “I’ll get it next year”, more than once.

Congratulations to John Bell, Ryan Bowen, Clay Smith, Slayton Davis, Kirklynd Miller, Briar Shawn, Joe McAlee, Hope McAlee, Dalton House, Garrett Woods, Alex Chance, Mitchell McCarty, Jacob Jones, Cody Hiser and Pierce Jackson for representing the trap team and Arkansas so well.  A special thanks to all the parents and coaches for all their time and hard work and all those many people who purchased the smoked pork butts that made this trip possible for these athletes.