Chicago/ Parks & Nature
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Published on February 01, 2024
Sparta Secures ATA Grand American Trapshooting Event Until 2036, A Bullseye for Southern Illinois EconomySource: Google Street View

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) are set to keep the trapshooting world centered in Sparta for a pretty long time. A new deal locked in the Grand American at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex through 2036, ensuring the event's place on the Southern Illinois map for another decade-plus, officials said Thursday.

The ATA Grand American is no small-time gig. We're talking about the biggest, oldest trapshooting bash around, with an annual draw of over 5,000 competitors and fans from around the globe, eager to see more than 4 million targets blasted to bits. "I'm thrilled we were able to extend this contract for another decade," IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie said in the statement obtained by the Illinois government's official news outlet. "The ATA Grand is a premier event and an important economic driver for Randolph County and southern Illinois."

Rifling through the details, the economic impact from the Grand American is no chump change, folks. This shindig pulls in $25 million to $30 million each year for the local economy. And since its arrival at the Sparta grounds in 2006, it's become a linchpin in the region's financial stability.

The newly-minted complex director Skip Klinger, a veteran in the sports shooting field, seems to already be taking aim to make the 2024 future event the most explosive one yet. "The ATA Grand is an incredibly important competition in the world of trapshooters," Klinger told the Illinois government's official news outlet. "My team and I are already making plans to ensure the 2024 Grand is the best one so far."

Aside from the annual Grand American, the World Shooting Complex is no slacker for the rest of the year. Open Wednesday through Sunday weekly, the 1,600-acre facility boasts trap and skeet shooting, sporting clays, and a heap more sporting activities. Plus, there's space to park your RV with over 1,000 campsites. And for those looking to reel in something that's not moving at the speed of sound, the complex also offers fishing opportunities. Check out the full schedule of events online - just saying, it's worth a shot.