ATA Shooter

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Rich Bullard

Richard Bullard started going to shoots with his dad at a young age. As he got older, “work and life got in the way,” and he took a break from the sport. He started shooting again, with a focus on sporting clays, when his parents opened Sage Hill CS in Reno, Nev., in 1991.

Rich “chased All-American points” in that sport, earning honorable mention in the mid 1990s. After another break from shooting, this time for eight years, Rich shot at the 2006 Golden West Grand. “I kinda got the fever,” he said.

Encouraged by shooters, including David Kelly, Dan Bonillas, Gary Bonetti and Ron Alcoriza, to start shooting seriously, Bullard set goals for the 2008 season to make the Nevada state team and the PITA all-star team, and he accomplished both. For 2009, he is trying to make the ATA All-American team.

With plans to attend 10 Points shoots this year, he tied for the singles title at both the Autumn and Spring Grands, earning runnerup honors in both, and he won high-gun honors in a preliminary handicap and was 27-yard victor in the main event at the Southwestern Grand. He has enjoyed the time he has spent shooting this year and met many nice people.

Rich says traveling and shooting at so many clubs can sometimes be difficult, noting that it takes time to get used to different backgrounds and target speeds in addition to finding his way around each club and city. He says it is a challenge to get relaxed quickly at a gun club.

At recent shoots he has had the opportunity to squad with some All-Americans, and he thinks that shooting with top shooters pushes him and betters his game.

To keep his mind focused while shooting, Rich banishes worries about work or home from his mind, and he doesn’t look around at who is watching him. A few minutes before he goes to the line, he gets himself quiet and remembers to keep his eyes forward and to watch every target.

Rich has been coached by PITA Hall of Fame shooter Jack Elkins, who has helped him with his hold points.

A major difference Rich sees between trap and sporting clays is that perfect scores are usually required to win at major trapshooting events, and that is not the case in sporting clays. He has also had to adjust to the angles in trap (not as extreme as in sporting clays), needing to shorten his gun movement and make a tighter move to the target.

Rich shoots a Perazzi MX2000/10 over single combo with modifications by Tom Wilkinson and a Precision double-release trigger. He uses Remington Nitro shells for handicap and STS light 8s for singles and doubles.

Rich will be attending his first Grand this year, and he plans to shoot the entire tournament. Noting the importance of the Grand to All-American points, he said, “What I hope to accomplish has to be done there.”

His advice to new shooters is to get an instructor to learn the basics. For those who want to move to the next level, he advised making sure that their family members are on board. Because of the time and expense involved, he talked to his wife and son to get their support before making the decision to shoot so much this year.

An insurance broker for 21 years, Rich’s hobbies include basketball (he played in college) plus snow skiing and hunting.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish in the future, Rich said everyone should take time each year to reevaluate their goals, and he will decide after this season if he wants to continue shooting as much as he has in 2009. But for now he is enjoying the time he is spending on ATA. “I like to compete,” he said. “That’s what makes trapshooting fun.”

 

 

 

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