Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clay target shoots and the middle class, a conversation

Where is the middle class at clay target shoots or has the definition of middle class changed from when I was a youngster?

I see plenty of Wal-Mart 100 shell value packs at a shoot, but rarely someone who works at Wal-Mart attending the shoot! If I do, its more likely at a ATA trap shoot or a non-major sporting clays shoot!

I'm talking middle class, full time workers. Not talking small skeet clubs holding "target only" shoots or sporting clays shoots offering 100 targets for $40, lunch included!

Also, not talking clubs that give a Holiday Inn experience such as Addieville East Farm. It can charge accordingly and not look back.

Returning from the Lobster shoot at Addieville I can tell stories of lobster served on Saturday, cigars handed out, and the 30 minute fireworks display. For the shoot that offers almost nothing but charges Holiday Inn prices, I tell stories of...

Clubs that charge Holiday Inn prices, but give a Super 8 experience must be more realistic on fees charged.

In the long term such clubs are doing great harm to the clay target sports.

Registered skeet with it's 4-gun format may have lost the middle class Wal-Mart type worker forever.

The skeet community needs the value pack shooter, whether some shooters know it or not. You won't get him if the cost of shoots is not restrained and the emphases is on 4-gun shooting.

Trap is always the most affordable. Most likely due to the number of shooters they can schedule per field per day and the ability to put cheap or free help in the scorers chair. The PAT trap has done wonders for keeping shoot expenses down. When you hear a trap shooter complaining its usually over the cost per 100, excluding other fees, and the shooter is from a member run club in the northeast still charging $3 or less per round.

When I talk about the expense in regard to register shooting, many just roll there eyes. Yes, there is exceptions with fees charged, but if you have your eye wide open you can't but help see for yourself. Throw in the ever increasing cost of travel and ammunition and you better find a way to cut cost!

Whats the answer? I don't have one solution for all, but...

Paid referees is a big expense. Somehow we have to find away to work around that or get more bang for the buck.

Skeet referees according to talk board postings can take home $150 per day at some shoots. They may also can get room and board. I remember when $100 was a big deal!

Some 16 station sporting clays course pays each puller $65 for a total cost of $1040. That is a fixed cost even if one shooter attends. Thus, the stampede for clubs to go without refs and pull your own at monthly shoots, and at shoots that don't offer a large payout. Hats off for trying to keep cost down!

I always see the youngest workers at a trap shoot. Cheap labor?

What's to be done?

One club that I'm aware, when asked what the expense of holding a shoot was, the person in charge of the shoot could not come up with a number. You have a set expenses going in and go from there, but if you have no idea going in...

Is the free lunch or dinner really free? If not free, make it an option.

Does every shooter need to get a mailing. We do have the Internet...

Do we have to see $10-$15 returned to shooters? Is this mandatory or optional when registering for shoots at your club? Trap seems to get along fine without it.

Do trophies given gotten to be to expensive? An expense that might need to be addressed.

Maybe if we sit down with paper in hand before we decide what to charge for a shoot.

Also, please don't start with the mindset the shoot will allow you not to raise club dues or target prices if you can overcharge for the shoot and still get a decent turnout...

1 comment:

  1. This is an important topic. As we all know, everyone doesn't have a money tree growing in our back yard. Every time I go shooting it seems that I am paying more to get there, paying more to eat, paying more for shells and paying more to shoot. There has to be a stopping point somewhere or our sport is going to see more and more of our participants dropping out because they can no longer afford it. I would be more than happy to help the clubs out that I shoot at with the scoring when I am not on the firing line. I will help out in any way I can if it will help get the cost of shooting down. I personally know a lot of shooters who don't shoot now, when I say to them,,,I miss seeing you at the shoots,,,where ya been? The answer is always,,,,it is just too expensive, I can't afford it. That is a shame. This is the greatest sport I have ever been involved in. I wouldn't take anything for the memories and all the friends that I have gained from the last 42 years of shooting...

    Thanks, Grizzly Adams ATA