The Ohio State Trapshoot – A New Beginning at Marengo

By Larry Moore:

Trapshooters once again flocked to the Ohio State Trapshoot but their trek this year was not to the fabled home grounds of the ATA in Vandalia. Those grounds are history. It was to the new shooting facility more centrally located in Marengo Ohio at Exit 140 on I-71 just north of Columbus. Many area shooters made the trip to the new grounds, stayed despite the rather damp weather and some storms, and left happy with the prospect of this world-class shooting facility located in Ohio.

The Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) youth teams opened the trap shoot and broke the first targets at the new facility. Ohio State Trapshooting Association (OSTA) coordinator Sue Kaufman explains, "There were sixty-one squads competing in the SCTP program. This is about the same number as previous years. The program worked very well at our new location. It was really a great year with some good help from a variety of sponsors. The ODNR Division of Wildlife was also a partner in the program this year. A young shooter had the first 200 straight targets this year. That is a first for the SCTP and the first 200 straight targets at our new home grounds. We are excited about the potential to grow the youth shooting program." Several teams from the Greene County Fish and Game Club competed and qualified to go to the Grand American Trapshoot in August. The Rookie Division Team captured third place in their division.

Upon entering the Cardinal Center grounds where the shooting facilities, trap line, buildings and campground are located, I was immediately impressed. Certainly there is a lot of work and many finishing touches to be completed. My first impression was what a great layout of the facility. The long line of trap fields faces north for the best shooting. The open sky background is excellent for seeing the fast clay targets. Unlike the cramped space in Vandalia, here there is space. There is a long parking lot to enable shooters to park much closer to the traps where they will be competing. The west end of the lot does not yet have the gravel down. South of the parking lot is the campground facility neatly nestled among the trees. The campground provides an outstanding location for shooters and families to relax. Talking to many shooters, they echoed my observations and excitement about the facility.

Click on 'Read More' to continue reading and another article explaining how this facility came to be.

Greene County shooter Bonnie Schuch, who was working rather than shooting this year, explains, "It has been a pretty good week except for the weather. The attitude of the shooters about this new home is great. We are all anxious to see the facility when it is completed. It will give Ohio a true world-class trapshooting facility. I am already looking forward to next year." Dave Brusman, an All-American Shooter from Vandalia, adds, "It has been really nice. A little rain is part of outdoors sports. It is truly amazing what has been accomplished in about one year. The future will only get better. Mr. Fishburn is doing a first-class job. He and his wife have both been here and working all week. They were putting down more gravel all the week. The shooters are thankful for his work."

OSTA Director Terry Mavis summed up the week, "Attendance has been down slightly from last year. We really did not know what to expect although we anticipated some drop in attendance this year. The vast majority of the shooters are staying with us in spite of some bad weather. There were over 180 squads (note: a squad is a group of 5 shooters) that competed Thursday. The facilities here are just awesome. There is even more potential. There were some holdups but it is incredible what has been done in just a year. There are forty traps up and running for the shooters. The foundation and location here is so great it can only get better!"

Jack Fishburn, the owner and contractor developing the site, concludes, "We concentrated on getting the trap line ready. We had poured the concrete trap houses all through the winter. Unfortunately we did not make as much progress on the campground. The potential here is huge. I've had some great 'thank yous' from the shooters on what has been accomplished. That gives us the energy to move forward. We are concentrating on doing the facility the right way. There is another shooting event planned in August. We are considering additional events for the future."

The damp weather may have kept some scores low but the shooters' spirits are high. The businesses around the Cardinal Center had the welcome mat out for the shooters. I know the Ohio economy should feel a slight boost. My day included some shotgun stock work, lunch, a ball cap saluting the inaugural event, and tee shirts for my grand daughters. Like the other shooters, I am looking forward to more events at Marengo. Depending on where you live in Greene County the drive to Exit 140 on I-71 north should be less than two hours. It was just over an hour and a half from Jamestown.

From the Newspaper network:
By Dick Martin
MOUNT GILEAD -- Picture a rundown campground and a big woodlot sitting alongside Interstate 71.

Click to the next picture of the same site. Now it's an ultra-modern trapshooting facility, perhaps the largest private shooting facility in the country, if not the world.

Is it possible for that metamorphosis to take place in a year?

It's reality. It's called Cardinal Center and it sits in north central Ohio.

Morrow County resident Jack Fishburn made it happen, partly because this 72-year-old businessman likes a challenge.
He owns three NAPA stores (one in Mansfield), a 6,000-acre farm in Morrow County and has interests in oil fields and a restaurant, the Farmstead Inn.
Fishburn bought the decaying campground and surrounding land at a sheriff's sale with thoughts of modernizing it. Then some friends who were members of the Ohio State Trapshooting Association heard about the purchase and had an idea.
The association had fallen on hard times since the Amateur Trapshooting Association closed its grounds at Vandalia and moved the prestigious Grand American Trapshooting Tournament to a new complex in southern Illinois.
They badly needed a place to hold registered shoots. Fishburn had the land and the funds. Would he be interested?
"I'm not really an outdoorsman," this hearty, silver-haired man said. "I did a little trapping in Lorain County when I was a kid, and went fishing a few times, but that's all.
"I've never shot at a clay bird in my life and knew nothing about trapshooting, but it was a new challenge, and I like those."
So, he rolled up his sleeves, hired contractors and invested $1.6 million in the facility.
Finish reading the rest of this story on the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio

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