Calendar | Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

World Shooting and Recreational Complex hosts Grand American Send a link to a friend

Country's largest shooting tournament at its new home in Sparta

[AUG. 9, 2006]  SPARTA -- This week the Illinois Department of Natural Resources welcomes the Amateur Trapshooting Association's Grand American World Trapshooting Championships to its new home, the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta.

One of America's oldest and most unique sporting events, the Grand American has evolved into the premier shooting event in the world, including nearly 7,000 competitors. With its rich history and storied events, the Grand American attracts shooters from around the globe who will all descend on southwest Illinois over the next 11 days to compete for over 400 trophies and $1 million in prizes.

"This is what the last several years of planning and hard work were all about," said Sam Flood, acting director of the Department of Natural Resources. "The world's premier shooting facility is now home to the world's premier shooting event. We're proud to have the ATA and the Grand American call Sparta home this year and well into the future."

Originally a four-day tournament in June, the Grand American dates back to 1893, when the first was held in Dexter Park in Long Island, N.Y., with just 74 entries. Through the years, the Grand American traveled to such cities as Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; and St. Louis, Mo.; before making a permanent home in Vandalia, Ohio, in 1924. The Amateur Trapshooting Association home ground remained there until 2005.

"We are grateful to Governor Blagojevich and the IDNR for this opportunity," said Ken Duncan, president of the Amateur Trapshooting Association. "Due to the city of Dayton [Ohio] airport expansion, we were literally forced to seek new home grounds. The state of Illinois and IDNR offered to construct this beautiful facility to host our tournament. IDNR not only provided us with the opportunity to continue the Grand American, but have provided us the use of the most impressive shooting facility in the world."

Construction of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex was approved by Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in 2003. The 1,600-acre facility features 250 acres of water; 120 trap fields extending 3.5 miles; two sporting clay courses; a Cowboy Action Shooting corral; permanent exhibition building; 746 recreational vehicle campsites with electric, water and sanitary services, and an additional 264 sites with electrical service, providing potential for camping jamborees; a multipurpose recreational facility; gift shop; and full-service restaurant and lounge.

[to top of second column]

Ground was broken for the complex in the fall of 2004, and it took approximately 16 months for the work to be completed. Costs for the project will total approximately $50 million. The state's Capital Development Board provided $31.5 million in capital funding to secure the project and also managed the construction of the facilities. The Illinois Department of Transportation reallocated $10 million for road improvements in the area. And $8 million in local bonds for water and sewer improvements will be repaid to the city of Sparta over the next 20 years.

As a way to welcome visitors of the Grand American to their new home, the city of Sparta, the Amateur Trapshooting Association, the Department of Natural Resources, and a number of local and corporate sponsors have teamed up to show visitors what southwestern Illinois is all about. The southwestern Illinois tourism bureau will host tours of area attractions for visitors during the Grand American shooting competition Aug. 8-18. Visitors can tour the area where Popeye cartoon creator Elzie Segar lived, experience horse racing at Fairmont Park, shop at locally owned specialty and antique shops, visit a local winery, and much more.

"The city of Sparta and Randolph County are excited about the future opportunities for our area due to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex opening," said Sparta Mayor Randy Bertetto. "This complex will not only create new jobs and increase tax revenue, but will also make Sparta the destination for thousands of people. This entire area looks forward to an exciting and prosperous future."

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]

< Tourism index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor