ATA Information

You may have heard some of the members around the Clubhouse discussing ”registered shooting”or ”ATA Trapshooting” and wondered what they were talking about and how that kind of trapshooting might be different from the usual open shooting and league shooting done at the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club.  The following discussion will introduce and explain what these terms mean and what is involved in participating both as an individual shooter and as a club.


ATA Registered Trapshooting is the form of trapshooting organized and regulated by the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) and conducted under the rules that organization has established, and evolved, over its 80+ year existence. Registered shoots are similar to the practice and open trapshooting done at SCSC and other gun clubs all over the U. S.  There are Singles (16 yard), Handicap and Doubles events.  A significant difference, however, is that each shooter in a registered shoot must be a member of the ATA, and their scores are submitted to and recorded by the ATA. This allows a standardize method whereby shooters can be "classified" based on their demonstrated ability, and in turn enables them to compete equally with shooters of similar ability. 


For 16 yard Singles and Doubles the ATA classes are AAA, AA, A, B, C, and D. These classes are based on the average of scores the shooter has demonstrated in registered shoots. For Handicap events all shooters compete in a single “class,” but each shooter is assigned a “Handicap Yardage” based on his or her performance.  Handicap yardage is 18 through 27 yards. Lady, Junior & Sub Junior shooters start at 19 yards, while Men start at 20 yards. The ATA’s handicap system moves shooters further back (a longer yardage) when they shoot well and win events, and also moves shooters forward to (shorter) handicap yardage if they are not doing well. The goal is to equalize the competition for all shooters.  ATA member/shooters can review their registered target counts, shoot scores and their event averages on the Shooter Information Center located on the ATA’s website,


ATA Registered Shoots are held at gun clubs across the U.S. and all year round.  Each year there are between 6,000 and 8,000 registered shoots across the country. In addition, there are registered “State Shoots” in every state each summer, as well as large Zone and “Satellite Grand” shoots in various parts of the country.  And of course, the registered shooting season culminates each year with the Grand American tournament held every August at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex at Sparta, IL near St. Louis.


“The Grand” runs for 12 days and attracts some 8,000 shooters and 10,000 spectators. It’s a sight to behold. The “trapline” at Sparta extends over 2 ½ miles with 120 trapfields. The shooting goes on for 8-10 hours in daylight and another 2-3 hours for the shootoffs under lights.  Every dealer and supplier who has anything at all to do with trapshooting is there with every imaginable kind of gun, product and service for sale.  If you have any interest at all in trapshooting, or shotgun shooting of any sort, you should most certainly “see” and try to shoot the Grand at least once.


ATA membership is open to everyone. Applications are available at every registered shoot and on the ATA website. The cost is $20 per year. Junior and Sub Junior shooters can join for $12.  In addition, shooters must join their home state’s trap association. In Illinois, this is the Illinois State Trapshooters

Association (ISTA).  


Most local, registered shoots are held on Sunday.  Typically, these registered shoots will have three events of 100 targets each; Singles, Handicap and Doubles. Entry for each event is $20 to $25 and the shooter can enter one, two or all three events, at his choice. Prizes be they trophies, merchandise or cash, are awarded to the top shooters in each event and are part of the entry cost.  Various Options and Purses are an extra cost but are not required to enter.  Shooters who do not “play the options” enter for “Targets and Trophies” only.


The specifics of a registered shoot events, costs, options and prizes are detailed in the “Shoot Program” along with any addition information on the shoot start time, lunch, shell availability, club directions, etc.  The Shoot Program is always available at the Shoot or published beforehand.


So what do you get for your money besides the chance to win a prize? For one, the targets are the best and most consistent that can be thrown. The ATA prescribes how far, how fast, how high and how wide the targets must be for a registered shoot.  This is a very good reason to compete in registered shoots as the consistently correct targets eliminate one variable and places all of the performance challenge on the shooter.  But, more important than the good targets at registered shoots are the high level of competition and the good times.  Registered shooters are a “fraternal group.” They meet regularly at registered shoots, they all know each other, they share the same interests, and they are all pursuing the same goal ………….. shooting good scores and winning.  But, win or lose, each shooter is always competing against his own registered average and he can measure his achievement shoot by registered shoot.


The St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club holds ATA registered shoots throughout the Spring and Summer months and into the Fall. The schedule for these shoots is displayed in the Clubhouse and on the website. In addition, other clubs in Northern Illinois also host registered shoots. McHenry Sportsmen’s Club (McHenry, IL) and Downers Grove Sportsmen’s Club (Morris, IL) and Northbrook Sports Club (Grayslake, IL) all have a regular schedule of registered shoots. Going a little further, clubs in Rockford, Janesville, Darien, Delavan, and 3-4 clubs around Milwaukee also hold registered shoots. If you want to go the other way, there are clubs in Niles, MI as well as in Merrillville and Rochester, IN that hold good registered shoots on a regular basis.  A schedule of registered shoots is published each month in Trap & Field, the ATA’s official magazine, or you can find scheduled shoots in Illinois on the Illinois

Trapshooters Association’s website.  Shoots in Illinois and other states are also listed on the ATA’s website.


If you enjoy the trapshooting at the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club, and you think you would like to move up to a competitive level beyond “practice” and league shooting, you should look into ATA registered shoots. The competition brings new challenges, new friendships, and it will make you a better shooter.


Check out these websites for more information and “give it a shot”.


·        Amateur Trapshooting Association:

·        Illinois State Trapshooters Association:

·        Trapshooting Hall of Fame:



If you would like further more details or have specific questions on the ATA and registered trapshooting, both in general or specifically regarding SCSC please feel free to contact:



Dan Schocke                                                         

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