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08-22-03: Shooting to first place
Maria Stein man wins at Grand American Trap

    Shooting a clay target out of the air is an acquired skill, but Byron "Bub" Bomholt has been hooked since the day he hit his first shot more than 40 years ago.
    More than 9,500 targets and a lifetime of practice later, Bomholt has claimed the biggest prize of his life when he won first place at the recent Grand American Trap in Vandalia. More than 6,000 shooters fired more than 4 million rounds during the 10-day event, considered the sport's premier annual event.
    In the finals, Bomholt, 55, of Maria Stein, outgunned 275 other competitors to win. For his efforts, he took home an MX2000 Perazzi shotgun. The Italian-made shotguns are considered among the finest in the world and are all handmaDrive Bomholt's prize was valued at more than $15,000.
    "It's the highest prize I've ever won," Bomholt said this week. "It felt pretty good to win there. It's the biggest in the world."
    An average 12-gauge shotgun might cost several hundred dollars. Perazzi's top model costs more than $400,000.
    Bomholt has been hooked on trap shooting since he was a boy and his father ran the St. Marys Gun Club. Bomholt obliterated the first clay target he ever saw and hasn't looked back. He competes regularly in area trap tournaments and also is an avid hunter.
    Bomholt credited his U.S. Marine Corps training for being able to stay cool under pressure. Bomholt served in Vietnam during his military service, spending 1968-1970 in the jungle working as a combat engineer.
    Bomholt had not competed at the Vandalia event for several years. He said he was not feeling anything special leading up to his victory.
    "I didn't have a clue. I just went out and shot," he said.
    Trapshooting gets its name from the device that throws the clay targets into the air. Trap simulates the flight of a game bird flushed ahead of the shooter. In the original version of the sport, live birds were released from holes in the ground covered with silk top-hats. The first mention of trapshooting as a sport is traced to England in the late 1700s.
    The practice of shooting live birds from traps was first introduced in the United States in 1831 by the Sportsmen's Club of Cincinnati. Targets first replaced live birds about the time of the Civil War. In the 1880s, clay targets such as the ones used today were first developed, with George Ligowskey of Cincinnati credited with creating the first clay target and trap.
    The first Grand American Handicap was held in 1900 in Queens, Long Island and was the beginning of what has become the nation's most renowned shooting tournament. Between 1900 and 1924, the tournament site shifted annually among different cities. In 1924, Vandalia, a suburb of Dayton, became the permanent home of The Grand.


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