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Legislatively Speaking
December, 2009



Opportunities and threats

As things stand with current anti-gun Congressional and Executive Branch leadership, gun-ownership rights are in peril. Despite the lack of legislative activity, the stage has been set for anti-gun activity. Once matters are cleared up with respect to the health-care debate and the Afghanistan situation, gun-control issues may percolate to a higher level of the legislative agenda for the current Congress.

In the meantime, the main threat to gun-ownership rights will undoubtedly come from bureaucratic regulations promulgated by the Executive Branch. Given the partisan rancor of almost all debates in Washington for the past year and the scope of dissatisfaction that has been expressed by numerous citizens participating in Tea Parties across the U.S., most Congress-Critters realize that they have an abundance of “trouble” they have to deal with. They don’t want the additional political liability that would accrue to them if they have to defend an unpopular vote on a gun-control bill. U.S. senators, in particular, are already mindful that they will have to defend their votes to confirm Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general and Sonia Sotomayor as justice of the Supreme Court.

Bureaucratic regulation of gun owners bypasses this situation and can be implemented very easily, with little opportunity (or warning) to try and stop it. The Obama administration knows this and has prepped itself to accomplish it through the appointment of hardcore anti-gunners to cabinet-level and senior administrative positions. In addition to Holder, other known anti’s appointed by Obama are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Presidential Assistants Cass Sunstein and Phil Schilero, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowski, and Director of the EPA Lisa Jackson.

An example of a bureaucratic gambit was the recent attempt of United States Customs, beginning in May 2009, to have all “assisted opening” folding-type pocketknives classified as “switchblades” and outlaw ownership of any knife that could be opened with only one hand. Initially, it looked like this regulation was going to fly through intact. However, through the efforts of Knife Rights, Inc. (www.kniferights.org), and with help from NRA, the American Knife and Tool Institute, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation and other groups, this gambit was defeated after five months of very hard work. An amendment was inserted in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for 2010 that precludes Customs from implementing their regulation. This legislation was approved by Congress on Oct. 28.

If U.S. Customs (aided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) is directed by the White House to pursue a similar line of attack against gun rights, it is likely to manifest itself through a modification of the “sporting purposes” test that firearms must meet to be lawfully imported into the U.S. It would take very little adjustment to the points system by which imports are scored to make most modern handguns and numerous long guns ineligible to be imported. Equally possible are Customs regulations that could hamstring importation of all types of ammunition.

Finally, the U.S. Department of State, using a spearhead provided by an anti-gun U.S. United Nations delegation (and supported by anti-gun U.S. secretary of state), could act to implement, via regulations and dicta, the anti-gun recommendations for international commerce in arms that are contained in the UN’s “Programme of Action” for global gun control. A first step in such an effort has already occurred. According to a report form Reuters News Service on Oct. 14, Secretary of State Clinton announced that the U.S. would support talks pursuant to the creation of a legally binding treaty to tighten regulations concerning the import, export and transfer (read this as “private sales”) of conventional weapons (read this as “firearms”).

There are also several pieces of anti-gun legislation that are in play in the current Congress. All of these bills are presently assigned to committees, but none are presently calendared for any action. However, this could change in an instant if there is some event or crisis that develops which makes the legislative climate favorable for these measures to be moved forward. These anti-gun bills promote gun registration and gun owner licensing (HR 45, the Blair Holt Act); mandatory safe storage for all firearms, outlawing gun ownership for people on the Department of Homeland Security’s “no-fly” list, and closing the so-called gun show “loophole.”

The anti’s continue to threaten gun owners at the state and local level. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues his efforts to impose New York City gun controls on the rest of the nation though his coalition of anti-gun mayors and by his ongoing efforts to use litigation to hold gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers responsible for the criminal misuse of guns that have been lawfully manufactured and sold. In California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an ammunition buyer registry law. This law re-imposes, for California, a failed federal law from about 30 years ago. The federal law was repealed because over a period of years it proved to serve no useful purpose in prosecuting bad guys and putting them in jail.

With all of this said, there have been some gambits the gunnies have run to advance the pro-gun cause, and to the consternation of the anti’s, pro-gunners have been successful in at least one instance—that of reinstating concealed carry of firearms in national parks. This was accomplished by attaching an amendment to a “must-have” piece of legislation for congressional leadership and the Obama people. This same strategy almost enabled the gunnies to enact national concealed-carry reciprocity, which passed the House and failed in the Senate by only two votes. (Of course, this approach works for the anti’s as well, and gunnies must be vigilant that the anti’s do not sneak one of their pet projects past us.)

A review of legislative matters shows there are several pro-gun bills that have been referred to committees, many of which enjoy significant support as evidenced by the numbers of co-sponsors. National concealed carry reciprocity is still in play, as is an effort to modernize operations at BATFE allowing handguns to be purchased across state lines from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers, same as long guns; elimination of regulations from the Gun Control Act of 1968 that modern technology has rendered obsolete; safeguarding the right to shoot on public lands; and allowing firearms to be transported on Amtrak in checked baggage (same as is presently allowed for airline travel).

At the state level (with the exception of California), pro-gunners continue to enjoy steady improvements for firearms ownership rights. Concealed carry laws continue to be refined and improved in many states with the elimination of no-concealed-carry zones and redundant fingerprinting for license renewals, enactment of “stand-your-ground” and castle doctrine laws, and making it lawful to have a firearm in your car at work so long as it is lawfully transported and properly secured.

While pro-gunners have done remarkably well during the first year of anti-gun domination of both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, pro-gun organizations are maintaining a vigilant posture. They continue to organize and are preparing to combat the anti’s in a no-holds-barred legislative fight. These groups firmly believe such a fight is coming, and that it is only a matter of time before we will be fighting one or more legislative proposals designed to strip us of our right to keep and bear the private arms of our choice.

Readers are welcome to contact the author at

1020 Brookside Dr. E

Adrian, MI 49221-3248


or through Trap & Field Magazine at

1000 Waterway Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN 46202

fax: 317-633-2084






October 31, 2008
source: www.50states.com

Mark Weber, New Mexico state association secretary, mentioned that his state ranks fifth in area when submitting the report for their state-wide National Trapshooting Day shoot, called the “NMSTA Satellite Grande.”

Taking a page from the ATA Zone Shoot playbook (four of those five regional tournaments have been multi-site competitions for years, with Southwestern Zone blazing the trail in 1980), the NMSTA hosted its NTD tournament Oct. 4-5 concurrently at clubs in the state’s four corners plus the central region.

Mark explained, “The idea was to keep everyone involved by shooting at ‘home’ clubs, without the fuel or lodging costs involved in traveling to a club a couple hundred miles away.”

Six of New Mexico’s 10 ATA-affiliated clubs were host sites, and all six—Belen, NRA Whittington Center, Raton, Roadrunner, San Juan and South West Shot Gunners—had at least one shooter land in the overall trophy winners’ circle. Total entries for the three main events were just shy of half of the corresponding total entries at their state shoot this year (New Mexico’s third-largest on record). The Grande’s awards were open to all shooters, regardless of state residence.

Back in the day, such tournaments were called “telephonic” because results from the multiple sites were called in to a central location, from which overall trophy assignment and/or shootoffs were figured. As time went on, faxes and email were added to the mix, and Weber reported that their shoot’s results were coordinated by text message. While it’s still not possible to phone in your shots at targets—yet!—methods of communicating the results continue to chase the pace set by the digital revolution occurring all around us.

Applause to everyone involved for their efforts in putting on this labor-intensive shoot and responding to current economic conditions with an innovative, can-do approach. Read all about it in the Shooting News section of the upcoming December issue.

—“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell




September 26, 2008


Make that: WHEW!

We’re relieved and excited to be done with the October issue—all 164 pages of it. Every year we scramble to get this edition out while contending with the small matter of the Grand American happening in the middle of our production schedule. It was a lot of work as well as a lot of fun processing everything that’s in there. We believe you’ll enjoy it; we did!

This year—due to a combination of the September issue’s deadline and a lost room reservation—I missed being at the Grand for the first time in many years. But thanks to the trophy winner updates on Bob Stuart’s website and the daily blogs by T&F editor Terry Heeg and assistant editor Elissa Cronk, it felt almost as if I were there.

As I was (virtually) watching the Grand happen, and then later as I was working on the Grand highlights article for the October issue, I noticed the large number of shooting families with two or more members in the Grand winners’ circle. Nothing new there, I guess; trapshooting has been a family sport for longer than I’ve been at T&F. Take a look at our new Grand Family Honor Roll, and drop me a line at sandyt@trapandfield.com if we missed you, or just to tell us about a career milestone (first 25, 50, 75, 100 or 200 straight; first punch; etc.) or shooting anecdote. We’ll do our best to work the info in to our Grand coverage, which will continue into the next issue or two.

                                                                                     *    *    *

In the magazine from time to time, you may have seen offers for “T&F special-edition” covers (made to look like a real T&F cover page, with your supplied photo and text). Now we’re also making available special page prints (download may take a minute) of individual, actual pages from the magazine, printed on photo-quality paper and suitable for framing or including in a scrapbook. Copies will be either color or black-and-white, depending on how the page was printed in the magazine originally. Call for pricing if you’d like a souvenir page for yourself, friend or family member: 317-633-8800.




July 1, 2008
What is news?

Thanks to John B. Bogart, renowned city editor for the New York Sun in the late 1800s,  it is common wisdom in the journalism field that “Dog bites man” isn’t news, but “Man bites dog,” well, that’s a horse of a different color! While we at Trap & Field are dedicated to providing recognition to all trophy winners in our reports—the perennial champions, the “Occasional Bob’s,” the newbies—it’s deeply ingrained in us to look for and proclaim loudly on our pages the out-of-the ordinary. What’s “news” is often the young, the older, the female who distinguish themselves over the entire field.

I got to pondering the definition of “out of the ordinary” in the sport of trapshooting and how it compares to mainstream news. Counting only state shoots—and just the four major titles in the ATA trophy package (singles, handicap, doubles and all-around, all over the field)—I discovered that, at seven of the nine stories printed in the June and July issues, a special-category shooter won at least one of those four. Seems to me that’s a significant minority percentage and, I think, illustrates one of the main attractions of this sport: On any given day, anyone may win.

Right now we are in the middle of processing stories for the August issue, and when I looked at and compiled results from “just” (a relative term) the state shoots that are in the works as of this writing, I came up with the following stats for the 2008 target year so far:

At 15 of 25 state/provincial ATA championship tournaments, 23 special-category shooters have won titles over the entire field. That’s nearly a 1-in-4 rate of success. This group is comprised of three sub-juniors, five juniors, nine veterans, three senior vets and three women, and all together they have accumulated eight singles, nine handicap, two doubles and four all-around championships. Kudos to them:

Richard Belotti, vet, Delaware handicap; Shawn Cahoon, sub-junior, Idaho all-around; Cody Dormaier, junior, Washington singles; Joe Fordham, vet, Florida doubles; Jacob Gist, junior, Alabama handicap; Doug Hawkins, vet, Arizona handicap; Bryce Holwick, sub-junior, Arkansas handicap; Jerry Houston, vet, Tennessee doubles; Mike Jordan, vet, Illinois singles (in shootoff over eight others, including fellow vets Kenneth J. Jones and Keith Atkinson); Thomas Kushima, vet, Hawaii singles; Vaughn Lykins, senior vet, Ohio handicap; Ryan Parks, junior, Tennessee singles; Donald Petroff, senior vet, Ohio singles; Garrett Ray, sub-junior, Missouri handicap; Nicholas T. Ross, junior, Alabama all-around; Beverly Shick, lady, Pennsylvania handicap; Tina Shigemura, lady, Hawaii handicap; Christopher Shoulars, junior, North Carolina singles; Thomas J. Smith Jr., vet, Louisiana all-around; Jim L. Walker, vet, Florida all-around; Doyne Williams, senior vet, Arkansas singles; Jerilyn Wilson, lady, North Carolina handicap; and Charlie Woodruff, vet, Idaho singles.

Fifteen-year-old Cahoon, T&F age-group Rookie of the Year for 2006, broke 196 singles, 95 handicap and 96 doubles to take the Idaho state all-around crown by two over 11-time champ and current men’s team All-American Stu Welton. Shawn is the latest of less than two handfuls of sub-juniors ever to win an all-around championship over the field at any ATA tournament. See the July issue (mail-out began last week) for the list.

More news from Idaho state is regarding the Williams family, whose All-American team member count is four and holding. Their ATA Delegate, Danny McKenzie, arranged a special presentation during the tournament to recognize their achievement. According to “a quick check” (another relative term) of T&F’s All-American database, they are most likely the fifth family to boast four ATA All-Americans. Keep watching the pages of T&F for the list; I’m guessing we’ll be printing it sometime soon.

“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell

Idaho’s Williams family: this good-looking and talented group of shooters gathered for a special presentation during their state shoot in May—Derek, Beaver, Garrett, Floyd, Grant and Darin. Derek, Beaver, Grant and Darin have all been named to ATA All-American teams.




June 16, 2008
Trouble in threes

That third natural disaster I anticipated in my blog earlier this year (Feb. 29) has been happening with a vengeance so far this month of June in central and southern Indiana, now dealing with widespread flooding and the aftermath of more violent windstorms. In Bloomfield, the town where I grew up, high winds/unverified tornadoes have caused extensive damage twice this month, and the town and its environs have endured its share of high water, although that has not been as destructive as it has in neighboring towns and counties. The last I read, 22 counties in central and southern Indiana have been designated for disaster relief due to flooding.
When downed trees blocked both routes from my parents’ house about a mile from the town limits, my 74-year-old father got out his chainsaw and began clearing the way. (Officials always stress extreme caution when attempting this, as still-electrified power lines may be entangled in the debris. As a retired REMC lineman, Dad is more capable than most to accurately assess the situation.) Others who live along the road were soon helping him, and they got the road cleared themselves without waiting who knows how long for the overtaxed work crews servicing the entire area.
During this Father’s Day month, I salute my dad, these men and millions more like them: “that army” (in the words of Sue Grafton, one of my favorite authors) “who make the civilized world run a little more smoothly.” You have my deep respect and gratitude.

* * *

Speaking of “parents’ day” stuff, James and Wendy Guernsey of ON TARGET reported to us that for opening ceremonies on Mother’s Day, the final day of the Ron Hoppie Memorial Trapshoot this year, the University of Montana Silvertip Skydivers made a drop, complete with U.S. flag flying.
A healthy skepticism of the moderate-to-intense variety (a useful skill and sometimes curse of any dedicated copyeditor) often sends me on an online search-and-discover mission—for correct spelling, if nothing else. Sometimes I get a bonus, some new bit of knowledge or a moment of uplifted spirit. Both were the case this time as I traveled to the Silvertips’ website, where I learned not only that “Silvertip” is one word (and an informal term for “Grizzly,” which is the modern nickname for U of M) but also some history about skydiving.
According to the accounts of senior club members on the site, the long tradition of skydiving in the Missoula area stems from “smokejumping,” the act of jumpers parachuting in order to fight fires. During World War II the Army sent its parachuting trainees to the center in Missoula, which had experienced instructors and facilities. Smokejumping was usually a summer job only, and winters were spent as U of M students. Some of the early smokejumpers/students began jumping for fun in the off-season. At that time, the university football team was referred to as the Silvertip Grizzlies, and so the parachuting club (the word “skydiving” had yet to be coined) adopted the Silvertip name.
“Believed to be the oldest collegiate skydiving club in the U.S. (and quite probably the world)” at 50+ years and counting, the Silvertips group does jumps for various occasions, including U of M football games. As someone who has never had the opportunity to see this in person, I found it thrilling to watch a video (on the Silvertips’ website; more are available on youtube, search for “Silvertip Skydivers”) of one of their drops into Washington-Grizzly Stadium, performed to the strains of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ” (sounds like the crowd is singing along lustily), with the last jumper bringing the game ball to the field.
“Game ball” honors at the Hoppie Trapshoot belonged to Brian Sipe, who posted top scores in two events on his way to leading the high-over-all; Duane Webley, who entered the lone 200 in the Singles Championship; Travis Iksic, who led the main handicap with 97; and George Miletich, doubles winner after 99 and shootoff. During Saturday’s 200-bird twins, Dr. Laura Winkel got her career-first 100 straight in doubles. For the full report, see the July issue of Trap & Field, which went to press last week.

“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell

Silvertip Skydivers displayed the colors during a Mother’s Day flag ceremony May 11 at Missoula (Mont.) T&SC's Ron Hoppie Memorial.




April 16, 2008
Three Piles’ . . .

   is the name of one of the layouts—one of the harder ones to clear—in my home computer’s Mahjong solitaire game. It’s also a puzzle I confront every morning on my desk, whose available surface area seems to be shrinking and collapsing in on itself like a black hole. The three piles are “Priority,” “Soon,” and “Put It Back Where It Belongs.” I guess in the interest of honesty, I should say that there are many more stacks in my office, but these are the ones on my desk that I am trying to shrink down to a manageable size (or dare I hope, to eliminate?) before I am forced to rename them “Later,” “Even Later” and “Much Later.”

   One piece of paper I’m happy to be moving to the “done pile” is a note from a recent phone call informing us of a handicap shootoff which should have been included in Record Round-ups in the July and December ’07 issues of Trap & Field. Should have, except for the fact that the info, while it appeared in T&F when it was reported in 1973, never got transferred to our record files. One of the shootoff participants, Milton Palasota, called to fill us in on the omission. At this point he couldn’t remember the exact date but could narrow it down to a three-year window. I found it in the first year I checked, and now, more than 30 years later, it’s been added in its rightful place in T&F’s records. Thanks, Milt! Readers like you help keep the record straight.

   You can read about the two 200-target handicap shootoffs—the ATA record, according to T&F’s files—in the upcoming May issue, which went to the printer this week.

“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell



March 14, 2008

Harold Pack proudly displays the handcrafted, queen-sized quilt he had made from T-shirts collected during his trapshooting travels.Detail photos (shown below) of the all hand-stitched quilt made by Sharon Franklin of Portsmouth, Ohio, from Harold Pack’s trapshooting T-shirts collection.

Harold and 13-year-old granddaughter Alysia Jo Pack, his photographer and “secretary” (she arranged to e-mail the items to T&F).

   A couple of days after Elissa came back from the Spring Grand with photos of a quilt made from trapshooting T-shirts, I fielded a call from Harold Pack of Portsmouth, Ohio, who was thrilled with the handiwork of a local quilt-maker.

   “My wife Candy and I have amassed a sizeable quantity of T-shirts in our trapshooting travels,” said Harold. “What better way to display them than in a ‘trapshooting theme quilt’? Mrs. Jesse (Sharon) Franklin Jr. transformed some of our shirts into a beautifully handcrafted quilt. The hand-stitching is not only ornate and decorative, but also functional. The resulting quilt is a masterful piece of art, suitable for hanging.”

    We agree—it’s so nice to be able to have a commemorative item like this to display rather than storing the original pieces away in a drawer or closet, all but forgotten. Thanks for sharing!

*           *           *

   Another of my favorite writers in the detective/mystery genre is Sue Grafton, author of the “alphabet” series (A is for Alibi, etc.) I just finished re-reading “Fugitive,” in which some shotshells loaded with rock salt played a significant part in the plot. (The book was written in 1989, so today’s lead prices didn’t have anything to do with the choice. These loads didn’t work well in the book, and I would guess that rock salt wouldn’t have much breaking power at clay-target distances either.) The revelatory scene has Grafton’s detective, Kinsey Millhone, discovering the whodunit’s reloading bench, complete with Ponsness/Warren reloader.


   Orphaned at age 5, the Kinsey character was raised by her aunt, who taught her to shoot and bequeathed her her handgun. In the latest book in the series (T is for Trespass), Millhone’s pursuit of the bad guy—or gal, in this case—is complicated when the manipulative sociopath manages to get a restraining order against the detective, thereby rendering her gun-less.

   One of Grafton’s many assistants in research, a retired detective sergeant with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department (Millhone’s fictional hometown of Santa Teresa is based on Santa Barbara), has a good anecdote about the author’s real-life shooting skills.

   On firearm issues and portrayal, I’d put Grafton nearly even with fellow detective novelist Robert B. Parker (see June 1, 2007 post): let’s say a 9.85, with points off only because of Sue’s occasional use of an absent gun as a plot device. I don’t mean “Trespass”—that was handled neatly—but rather a couple of other novels (for example, “Corpse”) where Kinsey’s gun is in her briefcase or in her car or stored in her office when she really needs it—and it’s always at the point she should know she might need it, because she’s pursuing a killer of unknown identity who may present him/herself any time now. (I mean, come on—it’s Page 300, already!) This apparent foolishness is akin to that of those characters in scary movies who always do go into the creepy house instead of sensibly running as quickly as possible in the other direction.

   True fans are really picky, aren’t they (we)?




February 29, 2008

“As the Tornado Spins,” continued

   After some freak warm weather here and accompanying tornadoes which hit 1) an apartment complex in west Indianapolis where I lived until recently, and 2) Bloomfield, the town where I grew up, about a week later, I started thinking about a) the old saying about trouble always coming in threes; b) the significance of my recurring tornado nightmares; and c) when we were going to get back to normal Indiana winter weather.

   I was relieved that the tornadoes which touched down near me and my loved ones were “weak” (i.e., no serious injuries and only siding/windows/doors blown off and parked cars “rearranged”). This wasn’t the case for those in the path of destruction in Arkansas in early February, however. Thirteen fatalities were reported, and T&F Advertising Manager Val Kinsey checked in with our friends Nancy and Doyne Williams to see if they were okay. Nancy responded with the following e-mail (longtime T&F readers will no doubt recognize the distinctive writing style of the “Queen of Dimes”):

Nancy’s photo of shooters going hard at it in the foreground, with a twister on the ground in the background (she darkened the photo slightly to get the tornado to show up better). This was at the 1990 Texas State Shoot in Amarillo.


   “It was a little bit windy(!) a couple of days ago, but we are fine down here. Little Rock did not get hit as hard as just north of here—it pretty well clobbered several small towns. . . .

   “I remember one year at the Louisiana state shoot, a tornado came through. Our bus was heavy enough that we did not get completely blown away—just lifted and moved a bit(!)—but the wind snapped off our awning and drove it through the side/top roof of our bus, just like a spear. I could not complain about the damage because just across the highway, at the big airport in Shreveport, it had destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of jets.

   “One year on the way home from the Oklahoma state shoot, we were trying to outdrive several tornadoes. Finally we just gave up fighting the wind and pulled into a KOA at Sallisaw. Seven tornadoes touched down all around us, missing us completely. We had been trying to get to the KOA in Alma, Ark., and had we made it, we would have been killed. The tornado that went on to Arkansas was over five miles wide and did unbelievable damage.”

   Wow! While those of us who live outside “Tornado Alley” might not immediately think of Arkansas as being in it, I found one website www.tornadochaser.net/tornalley.html which presents a good case for it. This site contains some discussion about exactly what does make up Tornado Alley. (I guess it just goes to show that anything can be controversial as long as there’s at least one soul—and with the Internet, one is all it takes—who cares enough to hold forth on the issue.)

   Nancy continued with a “fond” memory from one of her neighbor states:
   “In Texas I once took a photo of a squad shooting with a big tornado on the ground in the background. Trapshooters are crazy!
   With “the highest number of F5s [strongest tornadoes] since 1880” (a tornadochaser Fast Fact), Kansas is without question firmly within the confines of Tornado Alley. (Does the line “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Connecticut anymore!” ring a bell? I didn’t think so.) The Jayhawk State also gets a nod from Nancy:
   “Earlier I didn’t mention traveling through Kansas because it is a ‘given’ that one will encounter horrific weather there. My favorite Kansas tale is when we left a shoot in Oklahoma and started driving straight north to Nebraska for another shoot. The wind was a constant 30 to 35 mph and gusting from 45 to 50—in other words, normal for that part of the woods . . . er, fields. (When the wind blows that hard, one can often make gasoline instead of having to burn it. Really!)
   “As we were midway into Kansas, I needed to make a right turn and head east to a KOA overnight stop. The south wind, which had been at my back and pushing me along, was now hitting the right side of our bus. Soon it had blown the awning loose, and I now had a gigantic ‘flag’ swinging from the right side, over the top, and down the left side of the bus. I asked Doyne what I should do, and he said to keep driving as long as I could see. The KOA was only two more miles. I put on my flashers and drove 35 mph (slower than the wind) on the freeway till the exit appeared. We went to Wal-Mart that evening in the truck, bought every ring clamp they had, and fastened that awning shut. . . .
   “Nearly everyone with a motorhome who shoots trap will tell you that they could write a book on their experiences. (Hey, I wrote almost six years’ worth of crazy columns about some of mine!) Once I remember seeing Clem Myers (Louisiana) pulled over on the freeway in a blinding dust storm just outside of Phoenix, Ariz.—pocketknife in hand, cutting his partially blown-off awning from his travel trailer. Probably spitting sand and cussing, too! And Clarence Roberson (Oklahoma) set and broke the record many times for the amount of sheer weight in water that a motorhome’s awning can hold before completely ripping off.”
   Now back to tornadoes and the trapline:
   “Traphouses make great ‘fraidy holes’ to get into when tornadoes hit, and gun clubs encourage that when necessary,” wrote Nancy. “Burlie Wilson [former Missouri TA club manager] would never cancel an event, and it took a tornado on the ground two miles from the trapline to get him to ‘pause’ one. His announcement would go something like this: ‘Now folks, there’s a little tornado out there, and if you see it, you probably ought to get in them traphouses pretty quick. But it’ll pass by pretty fast, so be ready to get back out there on the firing line!’ ”
   Spring (and real tornado weather) will be here before we know it, even if we do have an extra day of February this year. It’s already in the 40s here in Indy, with rain instead of snow in the forecast. We’ll see you soon—on the line and in the shoot reports—as we head into another busy season.

“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell




   February 18, 2008

   My thanks to designated hitter (and fellow book enthusiast) Sally Telfer for posting her news from Michigan. Sally and Larry are great ambassadors for our sport and always a joy to talk to when I’m on the sidelines at a shoot.
   T&F’s Ask the All-Americans feature is returning soon to the magazine. The questionnaire packets went out—by e-mail, snail mail, or both—a little over a week ago. So if you are a 2008 ATA All-American and didn’t receive one, please contact us and we will get one to you ASAP. The readers want to hear from YOU! Dial 317-633-8800 or e-mail me at sandyt@trapandfield.com.
   Anyone may also contact us to suggest a question for next year’s survey. Remember, questions should be of general interest and address how to improve shooting performance; in other words, don’t worry, we won’t be asking, “What is your favorite color?” (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mphg/mphg.htm, click on Scene 35 link)
   Congratulations to everyone who made the 2008 team—including recent additions Norm Bissell and Robert Crouse —and thanks to all who respond and provide the rest of us with good tips, food for thought, and/or a few chuckles.
   We’ve already received several early responses. One I was especially pleased to hear from is James L. Mitchell of Decatur, Ga., who’s back on the senior vet team after aorta surgery kept him from making a run for the ’07 squad. And the year before that (he was on the 2000 vet team and then senior vet teams from 2004 through ’06), Jim explained, “I didn’t answer the questions because I was taking a class from Harlan Campbell and felt as long as I was seeking advice, I shouldn’t be giving advice. . . . I’m glad to be back!”
   Jim turns 76 in mid April and is among the “most seasoned” individuals of this year’s group—behind Joe Canterino (82), team captain Cal Stinson (who turned 80 earlier this month, on my niece Lizz’s birthday), Gene Bauer (78), Wallace Morrill (78) and Willie Anderson (76).
   The first time I remember meeting Jim was during the Western Grand at Larry and Sheena Mitchell’s old club in North Salt Lake. My rental car that time was a bright cherry hue, and as I parked and got out, Jim (in the next space) gave this sweet ride the once-over and declared, “That car is almost red.” I’ve always enjoyed his wit and (sometimes) unusual phrasing. We must be on a similar wavelength; he once worked in printing (sales).




   Another bonus which came in with the survey responses is from Doug Jerabek, last year’s senior vet captain. The photos shown here were stamped 2/11/08 and are a vivid illustration of why Doug had plenty of time to fill out his questionnaire—although taking the envelope to the mailbox couldn’t have been much fun. His captions, penned on the back, are as follows: “Wind 35 mph, temp 31 below zero” (photo 1); “Warm inside, ‘wish you were here’ ” (photo 2). Note slippered feet in the foreground. Doug is a real character and has struggled with back problems this year. Hope your chair is just what the doctor ordered, Doug!
   When I search-engined (trademark-neutral verb) Doug’s hometown of Oakfield to see just where in Wisconsin it is (about an hour’s drive north of Milwaukee), I read that this small town was all but destroyed by a powerful tornado in July 1996. It was an F5 on the Fujita scale, classed as violent and, for practical purposes, the strongest tornado which can be measured with any accuracy.
   This all reminds me of another tornado story I just heard recently. . . but that will have to wait for another day.

“Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell




   February 7, 2008
From Sally Telfer


Hello, Trap & Field readers,

   I know Sandy has been busy working with the ATA on All-American standings, and I know she’s too busy to update her fun blog page, so I thought I’d help out. Sandy has definitely been working on the “Sidelines” with much T&F stuff. I know when we’re out trapshooting on weekends, Sandy and many of the T&F gang are working at the office getting our Trap & Field magazine ready for us.

   Winter is here. This is not my favorite time of year. My shooting friends will tell you they rarely, if ever, see me with my gun out unless the thermometer is well above freezing. Hope all you snow birds in Florida and Arizona are enjoying your warm weather.

   We’re busy planning the Scholastic Clay Target Program 2008 season here in Michigan. (Yes, Larry and I have moved back to Michigan.) Dowagiac SCTP team has scheduled a SCTP competition at Howard Township Conservation Club in Niles, for Saturday, May 10. Huron Pointe Sportsman’s Association will host a SCTP shoot on Saturday, May 17.

   The Michigan Trapshooting Association will host a shoot to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House on June 15, 2008 at the home grounds in Mason. This shoot will include a SCTP competition. This happens to be Father’s Day—a great opportunity for Dad to take the kids shooting and support a worthwhile organization.

   I was notified of two NRA Women on Target programs in southern Michigan scheduled for this summer—Munith Gun Club on May 17 and Howell Gun Club on June 14.

   As I fill my calendar with these shoot dates, I’m reminded of all the opportunities we have to give back to the sport we love and to our local community.  




   June 27, 2007

   The Cardinal Center facility near Marengo was looking good for its second hosting of the Ohio State Shoot last weekend. Owner Jack Fishburn and crew once again outdid themselves—camping, parking and other amenities just get better and better, and the entire line was looking lush and green. There were lots of fun drawings, options and other goodies incorporated into the program courtesy of OSTA and the shoot’s many sponsors.
   Temperatures were moderate and rain sparse this year. A total of 1,681 shooters shot all or part of the program, and 1,093,900 targets were thrown. From Wednesday on, entries were up or even with last year’s, with Thursday’s two events and Friday’s doubles showing the largest increases (34%, 55% and 36%, respectively). Fifty-one youth teams vied for SCTP awards on Monday.
   Friday’s hog roast dinner with all the trimmings, courtesy of the NRA and OSTA, was a big hit. A $2 ticket got you a delicious meal and a chance for some great prizes, including shooting instruction and tickets to the Las Vegas Fall Handicap.

Cardinal Center’s poolhouse and lounge was up and running and served as the site of Friday’s hog roast dinner.



For the main course, the traditional apple garnish was  abandoned in favor of one “targeted” for the occasion.


   Seventeen-year-old Ryan W. Miller had the only in-state 100 and won the doubles championship, while 16-year-old Nick Sattler broke 99 and prevailed in a two-round, four-way shootoff for the handicap title. Then the second-year shooter turned around and won an 80-target overtime for Class D all-around honors.
Longtime shooters Mike Dehabey and Ron Charniga secured their first Ohio titles. Mike hit 200 plus 125 in overtime for the singles crown, and Ron led residents on the championship 400 with 393 plus in the HOA with 1,165.
Special shout-outs to
• Fourteen-year-old Billy T. Crawford, who posted the lone resident 100 in the class doubles
• Sunday’s “iron man” Aden Kaufman, who broke 100 straight in shootoff from the 27 for fifth-place honors after a nine-way tie at 98, then downed 39x40 singles, handicap and doubles extras to secure the all-around runnerup trophy by one over Ryan Miller, who landed in the junior spot; they each trailed champ Charniga by just one
• Illinois’ Steve Johnson, who extended a doubles run to 300+ with perfect scores in the class and championship events; he also ended with top non-resident singles and runnerup all-around trophies after 200 in the program and 225 straight in shootoff and 395 plus 78x80 extras, respectively
• Missouri’s Leo Harrison III, whose 399x400 all-around tally included a 100 from the back fence; he also led the HOA field by seven with 1,184
• Fourteen-year-old Lauren Mueller of Illinois, who got her first 200 straight Saturday; by one week, she is the second-youngest girl to accomplish this feat (at Indiana state last year, she became the youngest girl to break 100 in doubles)
Congratulations to all winners and to everyone involved in putting on this successful shoot, and thanks to the OSTA and Cardinal crew for their hospitality. See the upcoming August issue for full results and more photos from the 121st Ohio State Shoot.
                      “Sidelines” Sandy Tidwell



June 1, 2007

     A few years back, I got interested in detective novels and have since become a fan of several authors in particular. My usual M.O. is to read everything I can find by an author I like before moving on to another. My job being what it is, I’m always interested in how firearms and firearms owners are presented in the novels—the expertise and attitudes of the characters and, by extension, the author(s).

  Near or at the top of my list is Robert B. Parker, creator of the Spenser, Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall characters. All three are comfortable and competent with their firearms and matter-of-fact about the need for them in their professions of detective, police chief and detective, respectively. Which is not to say that they are cavalier about the use of force when it becomes necessary; complex, human reactions—if not exactly ambivalence—are skillfully rendered by the author.

     And there was even an accomplished trap/skeet shooter in the first Sunny Randall book, Family Honor. Sorry to say he turned out to be one of the second-tier bad guys, but I don’t think his hobbies had anything to do with that. At the beginning of the book, he "tests" Sunny by throwing a clay target for her to try to hit with her short-barreled handgun. She managed to sidestep that obvious trap (no pun intended), and he hired her anyway.

     On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Mr. Parker a 9.999, deducting .001 for a repeated misspelling of Beretta (two r’s) in one edition of another of his novels. (Yes, editors are strict spelling Nazis—sometimes forgiving but rarely forgetful!)

                                                                                                                                                          "Sidelines" Sandy Tidwell


  It’s starting! Winter’s freeze inevitably leads to thaw—and a late-spring avalanche of shoot reports to Trap & Field.

     While talk of the price of gasoline (on the west side of Indianapolis this morning, it was "down" to $3.299 a gallon) and other items essential to the pursuit of the ATA experience occupies us all, so far some early-season major shoots have shown encouraging trends. In the just-out June issue (mailed May 25), the Arizona and Georgia state shoots showed increases on some days and/or overall. Singles seems to be gaining popularity. At Arizona, the class and championship events grew by 84; at Georgia, 19 SCTP squads helped boost the title 16s to a record for the third straight year.

     Other examples of still-growing shoots are two that are coming up in the July issue. The Hoppie Memorial started as the spring shoot for the Missoula (Mont.) Trap & Skeet Club more than 40 years ago, and this year was the 25th anniversary of the renaming of the tournament. For four years now, it has been large enough to be an All-American Points shoot. (This year the Competition Factor—based on total entries in the main singles, handicap and doubles—jumped to 3.) The 1,000-bird program was shot over 18 automatic traps, and there were lots of extra events, shooting and otherwise, to keep everyone occupied.

     Over eight events and three days, the 17th Keystone Open in Elysburg, Pa., was up almost 100 entries to a total of just over 1,900, an increase of 5.1% from 2006.

 *     *     *

Another statistic that’s holding its own this year so far is lots of shootoff targets. During production time for the June issue, the Southwestern Grand Doubles Championship shootoff caught our attention—was it, perhaps, the longest twin-bird shootoff at a Satellite Grand? Some random checking proved that is not the case. Another marathon tie-breaker, for the top non-resident doubles championship trophy, took place at the 2007 ATA season’s largest state shoot so far. See the upcoming July issue for that story as well as a list of some of the longest shootoffs in ATA history.

                                                                                                                                                          "Sidelines" Sandy Tidwell




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