SPARTA, IL (KPLR) - For Jim and Matt Baumann, the barrel of a gun is a bonding experience for this father and son team.
'It`s an all mental sport,' says Matt Baumann, Trap Shooter. 'Anybody can do it, they can come out here and hit all these targets but it`s a way to keep your mind straight, mental toughness and it`s not as easy as it looks to hit 100 targets in a row.'
Which Matt Baumann has done, shooting 100 clay targets in a row!
Welcome to the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships, a 17 day shoot that began July 28th and winds up Saturday, bringing with it a whole lot of history.
'From 1899,' says Lynn Gipson, Executive Director Amateur Trapshooting Association. 'This is the 117th Grand American this year.'
This is the 11th year for the Grand American at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois.
'John Phillip Sousa was one of the early managers, administrators, board members of the sport and he was an avid shotgunner,' says Gipson.
'Well, yeah, he`s the one that surprises most people,' says Terry Waldron, Curator Trap Shooting Hall of Fame. 'They`ll say, `John Phillip Sousa was a trap shooter? `'
You`ll find Sousa`s shooter as well as Annie Oakley and Roy Rogers in the trapshooting Hall of Fame, plus a few curious creations.
'Just pick it up,' says Waldron handing over a shotgun almost seven feet long.
'What is this?' asks Patrick Clark. 'Oh my gosh it`s heavy.'
For most of these competitors, it`s not the caliber of the gun but the caliber of the person behind it that matters most.
The event brings more than $12-million dollars into the Southwestern Illinois economy as well as thousands of competitors, vendors and amateurs.
'The best and even novices everyone,' says Gipson. 'It`s a unique sport is that anyone can compete elbow to elbow with the best in the world.'
And that`s true whether you`re a son of a gun, or gun toting dad.