I've spent a lot of time this past year at several different types of shooting events and have spent several hours in conversations with professionals in most if not all types of shooting sports. I've also spent a lot of time with manufactures of firearms and/or their representatives.
Most types of shooting events have seen lowered attendance and participation this year. The figure that has been most used is "down by 20%" overall.
Much of that was attributed to high fuel prices that had driven up not only the cost of travel but the cost of everything else. Another item blamed for the reduced participation was the increased cost of ammunition and components, for those who reload.
I spent a lot of time talking with vendors and all, without exception, reported reduced sales. The feeling was that even folks attending events were not spending like they did in years past. Again, the prolonged high fuel costs and increased cost of everything, took money out of the pockets of folks who in years past, might have used that money for purchases.
The decline in still target shooting has been pretty dramatic. About the only shoots that have had more than a handful of shooters in attendance have been those that combined sporting clays or some other event, like the one that Mike described. Even the world championship shoot had just a few shooters this year, the lowest number that I or anyone could remember.
Doris and I also shot stock guns, even though the class is now open. We both finished in the final four, even shooting against custom guns, so it's certainly possible to compete without using expensive or exotic guns. We also came to the shoot with only 1 seat each, so it's not necessary to travel or spend a lot of money to make the finals.
The real question is one of interest. While other shooting sports may have had declines this year, there is still an obviously high level of interest. A very small niche sport, like still target shooting, can not long have 40% or 50% declines and endure.
I appreciate the responses and would sure welcome any additional suggestions or comments.
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."