If you’re a shotgunner, you’ll have heard the acronyms ATA and AIM – which stand for the American Trapshooting Association its affiliate youth program, AIM (representing academics, integrity and marksmanship). Many people know ATA and AIM, but they don’t know the history and facts about these fine organizations.
ATA was founded in 1900, in Sparta, Illinois, where it still is to this day. ATA has grown to be one of the largest clay shooting associations in the world. AIM shooting sports is conjoined with ATA; ATA is the governing body. AIM began in 1923 as the official youth amateur trapshooting association of ATA. The purpose of AIM is to provide a safe and positive experience with firearms for youth wanting to shoot trap; ages are from elementary school to college age competitors. There are more than 900 gun clubs throughout the United States that are registered to hold tournaments for ATA.
The national tournament that is held every year is on the home grounds of ATA. The national tournament is a very big tournament with more than 1,600 acres of fun for shooters and their families. The property has 60+ shooting fields and 3 miles of shopping and museums. Their national shoots last more than a few days. They have the AIM Grand for youth shooters and it lasts around 3 days; after the Grand, they have the ATA Grand for shotgun competitors who are older than 18.
I’ve shot with ATA and AIM associations for about 2-½ years. So far, I have had an amazing experiences shooting with these association. ATA is a great organization for shooters starting out in trap. I have noticed that ATA shoots are very organized. I have shot on a team and as an individual shooter. Shooting with a team is very fun and gives you an opportunity to accomplish goals with other people. When you accomplish those goals with friend/teammates, it’s a great feeling. You can also compete as an individual. I shoot with a team during the summer, and in the winter, I shoot as an individual. I have noticed that if you shoot with a team, they will only pick out certain shoots to go to, so if you want to register for more shoots, you can register as an individual.
ATA is very organized on how they place people in categories and in classes. ATA’s shooting categories give competitors opportunities to shoot with people in their age ranges and skill levels. I am a junior shooter, so I shoot with other juniors – whose ages are from 15 to 17 years old. When I am scored and placed, it is according to my age category and class. An example of this would be: name – junior/sub junior – class D, C, B, A, AA, or AAA. Your class depends on your score for the last 400 targets you shot. When there is a competition you would like to join, you can pre-register online, or you can register at the shoot.
It is important that when you are going to join a shooting association that you always get a copy of the rule book to know the guidelines and rules. Having a rulebook will help keep track of the categories and classes on how they place. Knowing the rules and guidelines of the association you are joining will help you out a lot; many shooters make it a point to know the rules. That way, if something happens they know how they can handle it or how the association is going to handle a problem. Make sure to get an updated version of the rulebook every time it is updated.
This pairing is perfect for youth competitors that just want to do trap, because they can learn firearms safety from ATA/AIM certified coachs. AIM and ATA both offer scholarships for shooters that are registered with them. Graduating seniors who are active ATA members can apply. Also, any ATA competition shooter, including AIM shooters, can compete to get a spot on the All-American Team. For a shooter to make the team, a shooter must perform well and earn points at certain ATA shoots.
There are many shooting associations you can join; this post is based on facts and my experiences with this association. I know there are many shooters and families that love shooting with this association because it is very organized and is enjoyable. There are many shooting ranges that host shoots for ATA throughout the year. You can just go on the ATA website and go to (shoots and clubs) and it will bring up shoots around your area.
Shelby Odom is an active teen who loves adventure indoors and outdoors. Her favorite things to do are shooting, scuba diving and rock climbing. View all posts by Shelby Odom
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