WELLSBURG - For decades, Brooke County has been the home of one of the region's top amateur trapshooting events.
From July 9-12, the Brooke County Sportsman Club on McAdoo Ridge Road will again host the West Virginia State Amateur Trapshooting Association's annual State Shoot.
According to John Kokosinski, publicity chairman for the club, the BCSC has hosted the event intermittently for the last 45 years, and exclusively for the past 20 or more. During the shoot's early years, it rotated among BCSC and three other clubs.
Sportsman Club members Chuck Jackson, left, and
Jerry Narrigon take aim at a clay pigeon target at the club’s
Photos by Ian Hicks
"We're the only club in West Virginia large enough to handle the shoot now," said club member Chuck Jackson.
Kokosinski said he expects anywhere from 150-200 shooters from around the United States to compete in the West Virginia State Shoot.
For those unfamiliar with the term, trapshooting is a sport in which participants fire a weapon - usually a shotgun - at clay pigeon targets. The targets are released from a machine at ground level, covered by a "trap house." For each trap, five shooters stand about 16 yards away from the trap house. Shooters generally yell, "Pull!" as a signal to release the next target.
According to Kokosinski, BCSC possesses state-of-the-art equipment, including voice-activated traps. When shooters yell, "Pull!" nothing actually is pulled, but it is the sound itself which triggers the trap to release the next clay target. Kokosinski noted the only thing done by hand is loading the clay pigeons into the machine.
"It's going to be a good State Shoot this year, as always," said club president Cecil Hauck.
The club hired 26 people from the local area to perform tasks such as trap loading and scorekeeping. Those people are currently training on-site, Kokosinski said.
In addition to the trapshooting range, the BCSC offers many other attractions for lovers of the outdoors. Club members have access to the facilities all day, 365 days a year. Other activities available include an archery practice range, an archery course with three-dimensional targets, a rifle range, a fishing pond, a paintball field and 189 acres on which to hunt. There is a clubhouse next to the archery and trapshooting ranges which features a fully-stocked kitchen and a comfortable lounge. Kokosinski said members can purchase a key for 24-hour access to the clubhouse.
"This is about the only place around where you can legally shoot rifles," he added. The rifle range, located near the fishing pond, features targets 25, 50 and 100 yards away. Kokosinski noted that the rifle range is what draws many of the club's members to join.
Kokosinski's son, Jason, is the club's vice president and archery committee chairman. He said the club currently has 365 members, ranging from young children to the elderly.
"We encourage youth to join," Jason said, adding the club has a very family-friendly atmosphere. He noted there is a lot of father-son and father-daughter membership.
Adult memberships (age 15 and up) are $35 per year, and junior memberships are $10. Those memberships run from Jan.1 through Dec. 31, Jason said.
John Kokosinski said the fishing pond is stocked twice per year with bass, catfish, bluegill and trout once in early April and again in October or early November.
Each spring on the day the pond is first stocked, the club holds a special event for children. Kokosinski said before anyone else is permitted to fish the pond, children get first crack at the fish for two hours. BCSC provides lunch for the children, and prizes are awarded to both the boy and girl who hook the most fish.
Kokosinski noted the club is in the process of installing a ramp to make the fishing pond more handicapped-accessible.
The club stocks pheasants twice each fall, and Kokosinski added there are always plenty of rabbits, turkeys, squirrels and deer around for hunters.
BCSC's archery facilities include both a practice range and a course through the woods that offers about 30 three-dimensional targets. Those targets include three moving ones a strutting turkey, a walking deer and a groundhog that rises and drops from a hole in the ground.
Jason Kokosinski said the course is fun for archers of all skill levels.
"We have kids eight or ten years old that come and shoot," he noted, adding all children who shoot receive a medal.
For each target on the archery course there are four markers, one each at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards. Classes of shooters range from youth to registered members of the International Bowhunting Organization. Archers keep score, and each month, the shooter in each of the four classes earns the right to shoot for free during the next month.
The club also has been home to other special events, including Boy Scout troop functions, hunter education classes, and concealed weapons classes, Kokosinski said.
BCSC is an open club, which means no application or sponsor is necessary to join. Yearly memberships may be purchases from club members or at Peggy D's One Stop, located on W.Va. 27 in Wellsburg, just minutes from the club.