Tuesday, February 06, 2007

NSSA Skeet, the future?

In my travels I see plenty of skeet shooters. Unfortunately, most don’t shoot registered skeet.

Its time national headquarters sits down and has a serious discussion in regard to NSSA skeet, especially the emphasis on 4-gun shooting.

This discussion needs to take place with those who don’t shoot 4-guns or even shoot registered.

A first year free NSSA membership helped, but...

What is the perception of non-registered skeet shooters in regard to registered skeet?

Why won’t they shoot registered, other than the thinking they can’t win and would just be throwing their money away?

Where are the junior shooters in numbers that matter?

Except for an occasional youth who shoots with dad, they are not seen at most shoots. A few years back, Vermont had no junior shooters who shot registered. This may still be the case.

I for one sense a serious disconnect between the hard core 4-gun shooters and other skeet shooters.

Attitude and perception is everything!

The long time 4-gun shooter seems not too concerned on length of shoots, cost of tube sets, four re-loaders, price of ammunition, shoot fees, motel rates, gasoline, and so forth.

Sure, not all, but I see it and I'm sure others see it also.

We have an inner group that run shoots, or have a say on how they are run, and they don’t want change.

When you talk shoot fees they get upset. God forbid if you talk about doing away with mandatory purses. Trust me, I have brought this up on several occasions.

A number of clubs still have free dinners on Saturday evening. Unfortunately at many clubs they are not free and the cost is included in shoot fees.

If you bring up attending one day shoots to a 4-gun shooter, it’s a non-starter.

I know several 4-gun shooters who do not attend one day shoots, even if within an hour drive from the home club.

Many times, this is the difference between a club having a successful shoot, or not!

Do you hear what I’m saying?

Forget about drawing shooters from far and wide, the reason often given for holding 4-gun shoots. We can’t get regional 4-gun shooters in many areas to support local one day shoots. A club says why make the effort? That's a shame as that's the vehicle to draw new shooters.

Anytime a discussion is brought forth on how to improve registered skeet, the subject seems to always revert back to 4-gun shooting and how to increase numbers.

4-gun shoot participation is not the solution. 4-gun shooting does more too hurt modern skeet than any other factor. It goes back to the perception you have to be a 4-gun shooter. A catch 22!

The 4-gauge 50-50-50-50 one day shoot is a non-starter for the shooter looking at becoming a registered shooter and really does nothing for the serious 4-gun shooter. It's a missed opportunity. The club should use the day shooting two 100 target events with the hope of attracting new shooters and market the shoot so they get a decent turnout from regional shooters.

In many instances shooters don't want the expense or wish to put in the time associated with 4-gun shooting. In most cases they only wish to shoot one or two guns and not travel outside the region.

Yes, any shooter can choose to shoot only one gun, but that’s not the perception.

Talk to a NSSA shooter for any length of time and the emphasis is on 4-gun shooting.

My wife and I have enjoyed attending two-hundred target .410 shoots or 12 & 20 gauge shoots.

One shoot my wife and I attended where we had loads of fun was a club in North Carolina. A one field club (Alamance) and the shoot was just 100 targets. Everyone understood they may be called on to take out a squad. The shoot fee included a lunch (cook your own). We shot 100 targets and were done for the day. This club does this once a month. Each month a different gauge. You can’t get more basic then that.

For many years, NSSA skeet only had ATA trap to contend with. Many did not care for trap and thus shot registered skeet. When we first started shooting, one day skeet shoots were in abundance, no longer the case in many areas.

Sporting clays slowly spread throughout the states and 100 target shoots can be found each weekend. Some registered and many just for fun. One gun and only four boxes of shells. You shoot at your own pace and as in golf, you can let the faster squads shoot ahead of you. Minimum expense compared to 4-gun skeet. Yes, you will pay more per target at many clubs, but you’re only contending with 100 targets. In and out in one day, and at many clubs, before lunch.

ATA shooters can choose to shoot singles at a very reasonable price and not even think they need to be shooting handicap. Where the perception in skeet is you must shoot 4-guns.

I’ve laid it out and have surely oversimplified, but at some point a serious discussion and thus changes need to be made in regard to NSSA skeet and how it's presented (marketed).

Is the emphasis from headquarters going to be on 4-gun shoots or one day shoots?

At the present, I don't see any serious marketing by headquarters towards one day shoots except for talking about the one day 4-gun concept, so any tilt in that direction would be a major change.

In any case, the change will have to take place at the club level with a carrot from headquarters.

Maybe reduced daily fees for clubs that hold one day shoots that have class winners?

2 comments:

  1. What you say makes a lot of sense. I returned to registered skeet shooting last spring after over 35 years of not shooting clay targets. The changes and attitudes are significant. One day shoots were the norm in the 50's and 60's and many folks shot only one or two gauges. Skeet was attracting new shooters then at a much higher rate than today. No purses were envolved then either. Purses seem to be the curse as the purse advocates feel only the large shoots attract enough money to make it worth while. Do away with mandatory purses, emphasis on one day shoots will help to increase the number of registered shooters IMHO.

    David Hinton
    NSSA # 25930

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  2. Well said,
    I'm not sure where I stand on one day shoots but I can tell you that a small club near me shoots 200 doubles in a one day format and even thought it is only once a year I wouldn't miss it.
    I would just like to add to your comment about junior shooters. Regardless of the format of skeet in the future, THE JUNIORS ARE THE FUTURE OF THE SPORT! Please take a kid out shooting with you, Even if they end up hooked on clays or trap you will have brought a young person into the world of gun safety and show them how guns are used responsibly by the majority of peaple who use them. (Not as seen every night on the news.) The state I shoot in represents one of the largest populations of junior shooters in a single state. Thats great but out of 300+ shooters at our state shoot, less than 10 percent were juniors or younger. I'm proud of my state but I also belive that this number needs to be more like 20% - 25%. These kids are the future lawyers, senators, and working public that will either save our sport from the EPA, Sierra Clubs, and development, or they will not and our sport will be slowly strangled out by the inability to shoot lead or the encroachment of development. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you. - T. Capers (Shooter since age 14, currently 34) NSSA#134804

    One more note to parents, Even if you think that your child may not be ready to go shooting, take them to the club and see if they are interested, IF they are, ONLY IF THEY ARE INTERESTED, let um try it. I can say with no reservation, Skeet Shooting saved my childhood and maybe my life. At age 14 I was smoking cigaretts and making bad descisions already. My dad took me to a gun club and I started shooting trap. Soon I shifted to skeet and my father made an interesting discovery - my son would rather shoot than be a deralict and hang out with his deralict friends. At that point my father said to me, "any time you want to go shoot, I'll take you". My guess is that he did not expect me to want to go every day, and obviously we couldn't do that for lack of not only time but money as well. (my dad is no where near rich!) But what my father did realize is that it was nearly impossible for me to get in trouble at the gun club becaused I was busy and the majority of the people who where there with me were good influences. He also saw that my goal in shooting competitvely was not to win, but to be perfect. If you run 25 straight or 50, or 100, you gain a sense of accomplishment, (very useful in a kids development). Just like anything in life, it works for some people, and not for others. I just gave you my perspective and I hope it can help someone. -----Ted Capers

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