- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SPARTA, Ill. (AP) - The newly-opened National Trapshooting Hall of Fame has been nearly as popular as running 100 straight targets at the Amateur Trapshooting Association’s Grand American.

The Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex, opened earlier this year. The building was dedicated during last year’s Grand American, but this is the first time the facility has been open during the Grand.

“We’ve been packed,” said museum curator Terry Waldron. “We’ve had the AIM kids in starting last Thursday. There were just hundreds in here at a time. We had to get a new sign-in book. It’s been great. The kids really eat it up. None of them had ever seen the glass ball throwers or anything like that. Now, we’re starting to get the Grand crowd coming in. Everyone is loving the museum. That’s what I’m happy with.”

The museum features photographs of members of the Trapshooting Hall of Fame and past presidents of the ATA. It also contains memorabilia from past Grand American participants such as Annie Oakley and John Phillip Sousa.

But, some of the most popular features include old target throwing equipment, reloaders and various targets used throughout the years.

“Wow,” said Jason Clayton of Summertown, Tennessee. “Wow. They’ve got all the old skeet throwers, reloading equipment and different statues of the people, a bunch of amazing looking guns. It’s very impressive, that and the trophies.

“I like the trap machines, to see where we’ve come from to where we’re at now. The dependability we have now has to be greater than what they had then. The shooters that were shooting on those had to be a lot better shooters. It’s just neat.”

The Hall of Fame had previously been housed in Vandalia, Ohio. The decision to move the facility was made shortly after the Grand American relocated to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex. The consensus seems to be that the Hall of Fame should be located at the home of the Grand.

“There is no other gun club that we’ve ever been to that deserves the right to have this phenomenal building set up to do what they are doing,” Clayton said. “This our third trip here. It’s very amazing to me. When you come to the Grand it’s a different atmosphere. Last year when we left, we hadn’t even gotten out of the parking lot and my wife said, ‘I can’t wait to come back next year.’ We’re making a vacation out of this.”

While not a shooter, Bernadette Pankey of St. Louis found her visit to the Hall of Fame to be quite rewarding.

“I am the great-great granddaughter of Capt. (Adam Henry) Bogardus, that’s why I’m here,” she said. “So, I’m just excited to be here.”

Bogardus invented the first glass ball targets used in the sport. The targets, called “Bogardus balls” were filled with feathers. Bogardus’ targets had ridges, which insured that shot would shatter the glass rather than glance off.

In addition to his inventions, Bogardus toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

“I like that I got to see the actual trap he developed,” Pankey said. “He’s like the famous person in our family. He’s the one we all kind of gravitate to.”

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Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/2aMu1ip

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com

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