It is not often that world records are set in any sport or in any event. A world record is just that, an unusual event that has never before happened or at least has not been witnessed or sanctioned. That's what makes the odds of having 2 world records set, 2 years in a row, at almost the exact same time of year, at the exact same place, so unusual!
Whittington, Illinois is the home of Rend Lake, a large man-made lake that serves as a water source for a large portion of several counties in southern Illinois. The area surrounding the lake has been developed into a recreational area that attracts tourists from many parts of the Midwest and other portions of the country. The area offers camping, boating, a resort, marina, fine dining, hunting and shooting. The sporting clays course is fully accessible to all persons and is one of the better ones in the area.
For the past several years, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has hosted a sporting clays tournament, The Independence Cup, and a sanctioned still target shoot each August at the shooting complex. Both events are put on and run by volunteers from the local NWTF chapter with assistance from professionals from both the shooting club and the NWTF headquarters. Both events have grown over the years and now attract shooters from both the local area and other near-by states.
The still target shoot, in which participants shoot at a paper target, 40 yards distant and try to put as many pellets in a 3" circle as possible, attracts shooters trying to win positions in the semi-final competition for the world championship shoot, later in the year.
There are several classes in this type of shooting. Three of these classes require that guns remain as they were when produced by the manufacturer and the other classes allow modifications. All participants many use optical sights if they choose. In this sport, a shotgun in used more like a rifle than the traditional "scattergun" in other types of shotgun shooting.
To set the stage and help explain the real "magic in the air" alluded to in the title of this piece, it is necessary to recount just a bit of history.
In August of 2000, in Forsyth, Georgia, a still target shooting world record was set by a shooter who scored 42 pellets in a 3" circle at 40 yards. That record stood for 6 years, almost exactly. In August of 2006, in Whittington, Illinois, that record was broken by a shooter scoring 45 pellets in that same circle. Then in August of 2007, that record was again broken by a shooter scoring 54 pellets in the circle! Is there magic in the air? Is there something special about the location? Is the air thinner, the altitude higher, the temperature perfect, the moon exerting exactly just the right effect on the earth?
Those of us who live in southern Illinois might claim that it's just the combination of the perfect location, the welcoming nature of the folks who live here and put everyone at ease and this hunting and shooting paradise that just brings out the best in everyone who comes here. While I believe all those things to be true, it's also probably just a bit of magic in the air!
Over the years, this writer has attended many still target shoots at various locations throughout the United States. There seems to be a phenomenon that occurs at each of these shoots. When scores begin to rise, they rise for everyone. In the same squad of shooters where the new record was set, there was also a score of 47 which bettered the record set the prior year by 2 pellets!
The sport of still target shooting was begun several years ago with the goal of improving the performance of shotguns, choke tubes and shotshells by bringing attention to the possibilities of what better products could do to enhance the sports of shooting and hunting.
The manufacturers listened and today we have much better products than just a few short years ago. Those products allow hunters to humanely and ethically harvest game and shooters to enjoy the family oriented sport of still target shooting.
You can find out more about both the NWTF and shooting events in your area by visiting http://www.nwtf.org Who knows, you could go to an event and maybe get to witness or even set a new world record.
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|This article was published on Wednesday 29 August, 2007.|
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