My last trap shoot was in 1975, at the Moccasin Bend Trap Club, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we decided to make a family weekend out of it. The family piled into our camper (we didn’t have a Suburban then) and we took the leisurely 2, hour drive from Sandy Springs, Georgia to Chattanooga and checked into the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a real neat hotel converted from an old bunch of sleeper cars, complete with a dining car. In 2014, the kids still talk about it!
We visited “See Ruby Falls”, we saw “Ruby Falls” and when they turned the lights out, we were appropriately scared! Not only did we see the advertisements on the barns along the freeway, but also we saw the Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain battlefield and Chickamauga, the site of the largest battle fought in the western theatre during our Civil War.
Sunday morning found us on the way to the gun club and I was going to surprise the good ‘ole boys in Tennessee. Being a real “hot” shooter out west, but not known east of the Mississippi, I “bought” myself in the Calcutta for a whopping $3.00, the minimum amount. The handicap event began, and I was placed with the long yardage shooters and I was breaking clays automatically. Walking to the last station and leading the shoot, the thought of my potential winnings, over $1,000.00 flashed through my mind and was quickly pushed out and my concentration returned.
“Pull,” I barked and the clay pigeon wobbled out of the trap machine, a hard right bird, which I led and pulled the trigger, no Bam, no ignition of the shell. The puller/ scorekeeper called out “lost bird” with just me looking funny at my trusty Remington 870, Trap Model Shotgun.
The trigger mechanism had broken. I had five minutes to fix the trigger, or get another gun, otherwise I would be disqualified and my only option was to get my ex-wife’s Remington 1100 Automatic, with a shortened stock.
I missed three out of the last five clays and finished second, which paid $200.00, plus another $150.00 from the Calcutta (not bad for 1975). So much for a big “hit” and after this shoot, I retired myself from competitive shooting. My kids were very active in sports and my day job required too much of my time.
I say again, “Sometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation.”