Jim started trapshooting by throwing targets in the back yard and continued practice at the local Lainsburg Gun Club. Bernie McCluskey took him to his first ATA shoot at Linden. His first trap gun was a BT-99. In 1983, Jim attended his first Michigan State Shoot. As is his nature, Jim soon started volunteering to help with shoots. He would do anything that needed to be done, from target setting, to scoring and pulling.
Throughout his shooting career, Jim always gave back to the sport. As fellow shooters report, Jim loved taking new shooters under his wing, making sure they felt welcomed. In 1993, Jim was elected to the MTA BOD where he served for the next 6 years, as President for 3 years. He was instrumental in getting the MTA debt under control. He bought the first Pat-Trap and had it installed in a practice field. Jim also served the MTA on the trap setting committee and Hall of Fame Board. Jim ran the computer scoring for the Michigan 500 shoots. He has also helped many local clubs with youth trapshooting events including the SCTP State Championships and AIM shoots.
Jim loves the social aspect of trapshooting, the people he’s met and called friends. As he puts it, “You won’t meet better people in any other sport.” Jim recalls he took his old field gun to his first registered shoot. When fellow shooter, Gaylord Austin, saw the gun Jim planned to use, Gaylord opened the trunk of his car containing his trap guns and said, “Shoot one of these.” Jim is quick to give credit for the years he spent shooting and working trapshooting events to his wife, Julie. “I was able to devote so much of my time and energy to trapshooting because of her support.”
Jim has shot in 9 states, earning trophies from each. He recalls memories that stand out. At one shoot, he won a TV in a 200 bird event. At that same shoot, he entered the first day in Class D and left the last day in Class AA. He loved shooting doubles and once broke 350 straight doubles targets.
Jim was drawn to trapshooting because he loved the competition. He loved that the average shooter could compete with the best in the world. He also loves the integrity of the shooters. “In few other sports will you see competitors call a penalty on themselves.” Jim has a message for future shooters. “As participants, we are stewards of our sport and its future is dependent on how we play the game.”