Illinois Trapshooting History

The first Illinois State Shoot was held in 1874 and has continued every year since then, with the exception of 2 years. In 1884, at Delevon, there were no birds available and in 1902 flooding caused a cancellation.

From 1874 through 1885 live birds were shot in state shoot competition. The 1874 state shoot was held at Dexter Park in Chicago. In 1876 the Illinois Trapshooting organization adopted their first constitution and by-laws. The first “saucer shaped” targets appeared on the scene in 1880. These targets were known as the “Legowsky” clay pigeon and were first thrown at a tournament in Springfield.

The 1886 state shoot was the first time clay targets were used in state shoot competition. A combination of live birds and “blue rock pigeons” were used through 1903. In 1902 discussions were began on using clay targets for the entire shoot. As a result, 1903 was the last year live birds were part of the state shoot. The era of modern trapshooting as we know it today began in 1904.

The state shoot moved around the state and was held at various clubs for almost a century. The last club in this rotation was the Maywood Sportsman Club. Mather Land of Sport, in Springfield, hosted its first state shoot in 1965. The Illinois State Shoot remained at Mather’s for the next 33 years until, in 1999, it moved to its present home. Brittany Shooting Park near Bunker Hill is now the Illinois home grounds.

By Jim Matteson

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