The big shotgunning event in the sports world, the 101st Grand American World Trapshooting Championships, gets under way Thursday in Vandalia, O., near Dayton.
The Grand American is the world's largest shooting tournament and annually attracts more than 7,000 competitors ranging in age from 8 to 80. During the 10 days of competition, shooters will fire at more than five million clay targets and vie for more than a million dollars in prize money and trophies.
The tournament, held on the home grounds of the Amateur Trapshooting Association, is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors. The ATA is located on U.S. 40 west of I-75.
During the celebration of the ATA's 100th anniversary in 1999, shooters set a record with more than 7,000 participants in a single ATA event, the Grand American handicap. The grounds feature 100 traps along a 1.5-mile stretch, and space for 120 exhibitors who display and sell everything from guns to shooting accessories.
The tournament begins with preliminary days, Thursday through Sunday, with eight warm-up shooting events. A special ladies' day at the range is set for 4 p.m. Friday, and the Tom Knapp trick shooting exhibition is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Grand Week, 11 events of official competition, begins Monday and runs through Aug. 19. The Singles Class Championship, 200 targets, is Monday and the Doubles Class Championship, 100 targets, is the following day.
The 200-target ATA Clay Target Championship is Aug. 16 and the Doubles Championship, 100 targets, and Vandalia 100 Handicap are Aug. 17. The 100-target Champion of Champions events is Aug 18, as is the Preliminary 100 Handicap.
The Grand American 100 Handicap is Aug. 19, along with the High Over-All Champion of America, 1,000 targets, and All-Around Champion of America, 400 targets.
For other details on the Grand American, call the ATA, 937-898-4638.
FISHING REPORT: Fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch on western Lake Erie continues to be good this month.
Close to Toledo, try 13 to 22 feet of water anywhere from the Toledo Harbor Outer Light to Crane Creek for walleye, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road.
He also said that the Turn-Around Buoy area at the end of the Toledo Ship Channel, both sides of the Ship Channel, and the area south of F-Can on the U.S.-Canadian line have been productive as well.
Vern Zunk at Zunk's Bait on State Rt. 2 near Curtice reported "ice stringers of walleye'' Friday night and Saturday. One walleye he checked weighed nine pounds.
Several large channel catfish also have been taken, Zunk added, including a 15-pound, 30-inch fish taken by Jack Benge, of Toledo. Zunk also said yellow perch have been hitting at Metzger Marsh Pier, as have largemouth bass, including one taken in the pier area that went 61/2 pounds.
Perch also are being taken around the Toledo Water Intake, according to Ferguson, who suggested that anglers keep moving around until they locate a school of good-sized fish.
Farther east, try waters 12 to 25 feet off any of the Lake Erie islands for walleye, using weight-forward spinners in chartreuse/green, fire tiger, or gold. On the Canadian side of the line, try Wagon Wheel Reef off Pelee Island or the reefs around Hen Island and The Chicks reef complex, said Jim Fofrich, Sr., a Toledo charter skipper.
For perch in the Port Clinton area, Green and Rattlesnake islands continue to produce. Smallmouth are being taken on softcraws, mostly in 16 to 24-foot depths, but sometimes also as shallow as 11 to 13 feet.
Tomorrow - Friends of Side Cut Metropark, 7 p.m., Lamb Center at Side Cut; visit to wildlife rehabilitation center in Swanton; also, Saturday, prairie restoration, 9:30 to 11 a.m., Wildwood Preserve Metropark, Metz Visitor Center, call the parks for reservations, 535-3058 extension 101; also, Saturday, scenic river cleanup, 1 to 4 p.m., Side Cut Riverview Area, litter pickup along Maumee River banks and stream water-quality survey; also, Saturday, night singing insects program, 9 p.m., Swan Creek Preserve Metropark, Yager Center.
Friday - Naturalists' Camera Club of Toledo, 7:30 p.m., Secor Metropark Discovery Center, Central Avenue entrance, program on northwest Ohio native plants by Pat and George Jenkins; also, Saturday, NCCT field trip to Lake Erie Metropark, Rockwood, Mich., 1 p.m., call Adele Shelton, 474-2911.
Saturday - Toledo Naturalists' Association, 9 a.m., field trip for shorebirds in the Lake Erie marshes; meet leader John Szanto at Tony Packo's restaurant, Front and Consaul streets, East Toledo.
Saturday - Hike the dikes for shorebirds, 9 a.m., meet at Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor; hiking at Magee and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge; call Magee, 419-898-0960 extension 31.
Saturday - Signup deadline for Women in the Outdoors program, to be held Aug. 26 at Adams Conservation Club by Maumee Valley Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation; call Cindy Walker, 885-5788 or 841-4883.
Saturday and Sunday - Mudjaw Bowmen campers weekend, 6240 Benore Rd., bowshoots and other activities, travel league Sunday, call Steve Oliver, 868-8414.
Sunday - Toledo Muzzle Loaders, No Bull Shoot, 11 a.m., Clinton Boothby Memorial Range, Schwamberger Road; call Jim Page, 474-5741.
Sunday - Bowshoots: Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg, register 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3-D targets, call Ken Deiter, 419-288-2561; also, Sunday, Willard Conservation Club, Willard, register 8 a.m. to noon, 3-D targets, call Herman Collins, 419-935-3044.
Monday - Public trapshoot, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd. north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; call Jeff Raczkowski, 836-2033.
Aug. 15 to 17 - Hunter safety education course, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wood County Park District headquarters, Mercer Road west of I-75, sponsored by Wood/Lucas Chapter, Pheasants Forever; call Lou Best, 419-353-3171.
Steve Pollick is the Blade's outdoor writer.