Among the premier events of this year’s 122nd Grand American World Trapshooting Championship, and of every year, are the doubles shoots.
The Amateur Trapshooting Association’s World Doubles Championship, held at the Grand in August, 2021, at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL, was particularly memorable, and a point of pride for Winchester.
Coming out of Rapid City, SD, brothers Matt and Foster Bartholow have been making their mark in Sparta now for years. This was, in fact, Matt’s 18th summer appearance. Competing in a total of 24 events, both singles and doubles, the brothers shot 2,600 targets apiece at the championship.
Targets in trap may measure no more than 4 5/16 inches in diameter and 1⅛ inches in height. Singles targets are thrown at oscillating angles away from the shooter while doubles trap targets are thrown simultaneously to the left and right at a 35° angle.
The speed for the doubles targets is set at a maximum of 42 mph. To count as “dead,” a target must have a visible piece broken from it; dust is not enough. In the 2021 singles Clay Target Championship (CTC) at the Grand, Foster took 4th in the top AAA class, while Matt scored 3rd, as well as 3rd in High All Around average at the Grand. The most excitement came in the Doubles Championship. Foster would take another AAA 3rd there, while Matt was headed all the way.
After the initial 100-targets in the Doubles Trap event, 16 competitors advanced to a shoot off. Divided into four squads of four shooters, each, they shot two rounds of 20 birds apiece to further narrow the field. Seven competitors were left to shoot two more 20-bird rounds. When the smoke cleared–figuratively–two shooters were left, Hall of Fame Sean Hawley and Winchester’s Matt Bartholow, to face off in 20-bird rounds till a winner emerged.
It took seven rounds; but early in the seventh, Hawley missed. That’s when the pressure was really turned up on Matt.
“When Sean missed a bird in the seventh and final round of our shoot off,” Matt said, “I knew I had to concentrate even harder than I had been to this point. I kept telling myself focus, focus, focus…and was so ecstatic and actually relieved when I broke the final bird to win the doubles shoot off and championship.” It had taken only 220 targets more after 2,600 in the course of the Grand.
One thing Matt knew he could count on was his ammunition.
“I love Winchester AA ammunition and have shot it since the very beginning,” he said. “It delivers consistency round after round with great patterns–it just crushes clays like no other.” No dust there. When not at the Grand American or another championship, and away from the shooting range, both of the Bartholow brothers depend on Winchester ammo as well, for all the hunting they do in their great-hunting home state.