r By Gary Brodeur
SPANISH FORK — Hundreds of shotgunners converged on Spanish Fork in late June for the Utah State Trapshooting Championship, bringing sporting camaraderie to town and contributing untold dollars to the local economy.
The 104th edition of the annual event was hosted June 20-24 at Spanish Fork Gun Club. The club maintains a renowned hillside trapshooting range in the Spanish Oaks area, adjacent to the Spanish Oaks Reservoir.
“It’s a competitive son-of-a-gun,” said Ronald Sellers, of Bountiful. “You need to break ’em all. And then there’s a shootoff.”
Sellers, the director of the Utah Trapshooting Hall of Fame, brought his museum-on-wheels to share with the trapshooting community.
Twelve events filled the five days, and recognition was won for High Overall Score and High All-Around Score. Class AA shooter Sean Hawley, of Vernal, posted High Overall with a score of 1285, and High All-Around with 398.
Scores of 200 were shot by four competitors in the Utah State Singles Championship on June 23: Hawley, Justin D. Sloan, Roger M. Stitt and Joe Sudbury Sr.
Title rounds on June 24 were shot for Utah State Doubles Championship, with a top score of 99 posted by Class AA competitors Hawley and Sharrod T. Oaks, and the Utah State Handicap Championship was claimed by Hawley, with a score of 99.
All scores from the competition are available at trapshooting.com, within the Shoot Scores drop-down header in the Forums ribbon menu.
Sloan, the Utah State Trapshooting Association president, said the annual event promotes gun safety and provides an introduction to the sport of trapshooting and the local gun clubs that host it.
“I try to support them all,” Sloan, of Riverton, said. “That’s my job.”
Mike Stuart, head coach at Riverton Shooting Club, said of the State Championship, “It’s a good event for all age groups to get together.”
Trapshooters and their families from beyond Utah included competitors and their families from more than 15 states and the province of Alberta, Canada.
The five-day event is recognized as a valuable source of revenue by organizers and city staff members, though an estimate of its economic benefit to the community was not immediately available. Travel to and attendance at the State Championship boosts lodging, meal and fuel sales, organizers said.
“This is a very unique asset the city of Spanish Fork has that no other city has,” said club Manager Kiersten Dumas, a city employee. People come from all over to enjoy the panoramic backdrop that contains no distractions for shooters, who then put up some of the best trapshooting scores in the nation, she said.
Proceeds from the event itself are slated to benefit youth shooters, according to the USTA State Championship program guide.
Competitors Charlie Wachtel, 18, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Grayson Stuart, 13, of Riverton, agree that seeing people they’ve met over the years at other shooting competitions is a major reason for them to attend events such as this one.
“I really like meeting people, shooting and trying to do your best,” said Grayson, an Amateur Trapshooting Association All American for 2018.
The son of Mike Stuart, Grayson serves as the Riverton Gun Club’s youth team captain. The team participates in Utah’s USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports, which wrapped up its competition season the previous week.