SPRINGFIELD, ILL - Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today the Cowboy action shooters will b bring their action-packed event to the World Shooting Complex in Sparta in July 2005. Earlier this month, the Governor announced that the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) had agreed to bring its Grand American event, the oldest and most prestigious shooting competition in the world, to the World Shooting Complex in 2006. The World Shooting Complex is a key project in the Governor’s Opportunity Returns economic development plan for Southwest Illinois that he unveiled in December.
“This is another important milestone for the World Shooting Complex, which will play a key role in spurring economic development and tourism in Sparta and throughout the region. We welcome the Single Action Shooting Society to what will be the world’s finest facility,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The first-ever Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) Illinois State Championship, to be known as the Randolph County Ruckus, is scheduled for July 28-31, 2005. SASS, headquartered in Yorba Linda, CA, has more than 54,000 members nationwide. More than 1,000 members participate in 17 clubs in Illinois. Another 5,000 SASS members live in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.
“Cowboy action shoots, with their Old West-style fun and adventure, are growing dramatically in popularity and are exciting events enjoyed by participants and spectators alike,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold said. “We are pleased the Single Action Shooting Society has selected the World Shooting Complex for this event and look forward to a strong partnership with the possibility of many more such events in the future.”
Cowboy action shooting is a multifaceted shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the Old West, such as single action revolvers, lever-action rifles and side-by-side double-barreled pre-1899 pump or lever-action shotguns. Dressed in cowboy garb, participants fire at moving steel targets to beat the competition for shooting accuracy and speed.
“Cowboy action shooters from all over the Midwest are excited to be able to participate in the first ever Illinois State Championship at such a world class facility,” said Match Director Taquila Tab Bumgardner, who is also the Territorial Governor for the Springfield based Long Nine. “This truly is a state championship with all Illinois clubs invited to be active participants in the organization and development of the match. Shooters from 11 states already have contacted us asking how they can participate.”
Clubs throughout the United States host monthly matches and some host two to three-day annual events that attract as many as 150 shooters. State championships and regional matches are held around the country and can attract as many as 400 contestants. Two National Matches – Winter Range held in Phoenix, AZ and Mule Camp held outside Atlanta– typically draw more than 600 participants. (Winter Range is in January and Mule Camp is in May). End of Trail, held each April, is recognized as the World Championship of the sport with more than 750 contestants from all over the U.S. and as far as Australia competing. Nearly 25,000 spectators turn out for this five-day event.
The World Shooting Complex will have about 120 trap shooting stations over a 3.5-mile course, skeet stations, sporting clays, rifle and pistol ranges and a 3-D archery range. In addition it will have about 1,000 camp sites, 600 of which will have full-service hook-ups and another 400 that will have electricity only - three times larger than any existing Department of Natural Resources campground. The site will offer traditional outdoor recreational activities such as fishing and picnicking. Development of a large meeting facility and a full-scale camping/parking complex will allow the site to attract major motor home and camping rallies, car shows, conventions and entertainment venues, attracting thousands of visitors to the area.
The World Shooting Complex is one of more than 50 projects announced by Governor Blagojevich for Southwestern Illinois as part of his Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan, the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.