St. Thomas Gun Club hosts 99th Ontario Provincial trapshooting championships
Gris, Beecroft, Tsementzi, take home doubles, singles, handicap titles
Sunday July 29, 2018
ST. THOMAS - Perhaps for Dan Gris, it felt like a hundred years for the achievement, but he finally hit the century mark.
Gris shot 100, a perfect score, to win his first doubles title at the 99th Ontario provincial trap shooting championships.
"It is a great feeling. I've been looking for that one hundred for a long time. It doesn't come easy," said Gris, on the final day of the four day competition, July 26-29, at the St. Thomas Gun Club. "I've been on the door step quite a few times with 99. Three of them this year. This time it came. It came on the right day."
His triple figure score arrived on the same day the Caledonia resident was recognized for his achievements during the 2017 season.
Gris had the High Singles Average in Ontario, along with the highest compensate average (combining the three disciplines, singles, doubles, handicap).
"Hard work," Gris said. "You got to get your mental game in order. Once you broke those targets five times, you can break them five million times, but you got to make yourself do it."
Gris continued his consistency over the three major events at this year's provincials, taking home the High Over All award (combined score of all targets over the four days), with a score of 962 out of 1000 targets.
Over 200 marksmen were aiming for the big awards in the three disciplines, along with secondary categories, at the provincial event, which alternates annually between St. Thomas and Hamilton, on every August long weekend.
"This is huge. We are a non-profit," said Todd Millard, St. Thomas Club board member and meet convenor. "This shoot brings in enough revenue for us to get enough targets to bring us to the next big shoot that comes up in May. It allows us to run our inter clubs."
The Southern Counties inter-club circuit includes St. Thomas, London, Straffordville, Verschoyle and Glencoe, with a schedule of 10 shoots, twice at each club, every Sunday, from November to May.
The local gun club also hosts three majors annually and in 2019, one of those meets is the Canadian trap-shooting championships, during the Canada Day long weekend.
St. Thomas is the second largest trap club in Ontario, behind Hamilton, in terms of real estate and amount of traps with 10. Hamilton boasts 20.
"St. Thomas is one of more prestigious and respected clubs. They run a great shoot and it very efficient," said Emily Brown, of the Ontario Provincial Trapshooting Association (OPTA). "They have a lot of volunteers and they have community support."
Peter Tsementzi took the High All Around award (combined scores of the 400 championship targets, 200 singles, 100 doubles and 100 handicap) hitting 389 of 400 targets and was the Handicap champion, shooting a 98.
In the handicap discipline, shooters take aim 21 to 27 yards away from the trap, the device in the trap house that propels the targets.
"Every trap shooter wants to be a 27-yard shooter, AA (highest class)," said Millard. "That means you made it, among the best."
Lloyd Beecroft, out of the Galt Club, won the singles event, with a 198 score.
"I've had pretty good luck at this club," said the Breslau resident. "To win anything in Ontario with the number of really good shooters we have, it's hard. I find it easier to win stuff in the States than here."
Beecroft has competed throughout the United States, most recently winning events in Florida ad Michigan.
"I've had a good year all together. Actually I've just shot a lot this year," laughed Beecroft, "I've had more time to go shoot, so being out more has helped. I try to keep up with the depth of shooters we have in Ontario. You have to keep working to keep on top of your game, to compete against these guys. There are a lot of good shooters."
The St. Thomas Gun Club has been active for over a hundred years (1914) and been calling the current site at Cowan park home, since the 1940's.
"The St. Thomas Gun Club did a great job," said Gris. "They're a great bunch of guys. They work hard, they're friendly and I'm glad to be here."