Site updated 05/21/13 09:25 AM Upper Dauphin Sentinel ©2006
Olympic gold medalist conducts shooting clinic locally
Vincent Hancock, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in international skeet shooting, visited our area in late April to conduct a two-day clinic at Keystone Shooting Park.
Hancock won gold at both the 2008 Summer Olympics In Beijing, China and at the 2012 games in London, U.K. At age 24, he is the first person in the games’ history to win the international skeet shooting championship in two consecutive Olympics.
The shooting clinic was well attended and drew widespread coverage from local news media. Hancock was accompanied by his father and trainer, Craig, who also is among the world’s top-ranked skeet shooters. (Father and son operate the Hancock Shooting Academy of Eatonton, Ga.)
Located at 610 Game Farm Road near Dalmatia, the Keystone Shooting Park focuses on international competition skeet shooting. There is a big difference between the American and international versions, and if you already shoot American, it will not take you long to notice those differences.
In international competition, the targets (also known as “clay birds”) are a lower profile and the dome of the target is thicker. This means the shooter needs to fire a solid direct hit in order for the clays to break and count as a score. They also are launched out of the traps much faster and travel much farther than the American version.
Elizabethville-resident Allen Chubb Jr., director of operations for the Keystone Shooting Park and president of Chubb International Shooting Sports, Inc. was excited about hosting the clinic, as the Hancock father-son team are so well known in this sport.
Vincent did not disappoint. After all the media interviews and before the clinic started, young Vincent showed us a sampling of his championship style. A round of international skeet shooting consists of trying to hit 25 targets from seven different shooting positions within a 21-yard semi-circle. The targets are launched by machine from the two trap stations on either end of the semi-circle.
Everyone was anxious when the first target was launched. In the end, the spectators were treated to an amazing display of Hancock’s reaction time and marksmanship. He hit 25 of 25 targets, the first perfect round by an international skeet shooter since the course was opened in late 2012.
Since Hancock already succeeded in taking the gold in two successive Olympics, I had to ask him what he plans to do next. The young man gave his father a quick glance and it was returned with a knowing look. Without hesitation, Vincent said that he would like to win the gold medal for the United States a third time – in the 2016 Summer Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have no doubt that he once again will succeed in his quest to bring home a third gold medal.
When asked if there was any secret to being a champion in the sport, Hancock said that it is 90 percent mechanics and 10 percent skill. Years of practice and training has allowed him to react the very same way whenever the target is “pulled.’’ The combination of reaction and accuracy is developed in an almost robotic fashion, as consistency is essential. I know this same technique is used in other sports like golf and archery.
Consistency is in the ‘‘90 percent mechanics’’ equation. The additional ‘‘10 percent skill’’ is what makes a champion. Vincent is a young man with all of the ingredients and he adds a touch of confidence and a measure of humility. He has a bright future in this sport and whatever comes after.
When the clinic started, I turned my attention to the fantastic facilities of Keystone Shooting Park. I had no idea that such a top-notch facility was right here in our own backyard. Again, Chubb was the perfect host for this event. A nationally-ranked (Top 20) shooter, his enthusiasm for KSP and its goals allowed him to answer my questions patiently.
In 1980, Chubb was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, and was a member the U.S. Army Shooting Team. He developed a love of the shooting sports and it inspired him to encourage others to do likewise.
There had been a connection with Chubb’s family and the family that operates Martz Game Farm, so one day he proposed having a shooting facility located on the farm property. Both sides recognized the idea as a win-win situation, as the farm and the park naturally could benefit the needs of sportsmen who appreciate both.
From my own observation and research, the Keystone Shooting Park is unique and the best facility of its kind in the east – probably the best in the U.S., and, some would say, the best in the world. There simply is no other shooting park that offers the varied facilities for shooting International Skeet, American Skeet and Sporting Clays.
Chubb explained how the international skeet range is fully automated – the first of its kind in the world – and members can use the electronic system to have a great time shooting even if no attendants are on site. Members of shooting clubs come from far and wide to use the facility to practice and hone their skills. Clubs have been at the park from as far away as Germany and Italy to schedule shooting time. The Canadian International Olympic Skeet Team trains at KSP, as well as do members of our own U.S. Olympic Skeet Team.
You must be a KSP member to use the automated range unattended, but the public can schedule shooting times and enjoy any of the ranges and make a family day of it. Training is available here regularly and, as you can see, the training is provided by the best shooters in the world.
KSP just hosted the Junior Olympics event, and Memorial Day weekend will see the Junior Olympics Development Camp, teaching youth from novice to advanced skill levels.
Then in June, the park will host the Perazzi Event. Perazzi is an Italian sporting shotgun manufacturer renowned for making some of the finest sporting shotguns in the world. The competition for skeet shooting will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, and trap shooting will be held Friday through Sunday, June 7 through 9. This is a premiere summer event for the park.
Chubb is very dedicated to this sport and this facility. He has been focusing on teaching young men and women about the sport. Let’s face it, youth are naturals. Their quick reaction times already have been developed on the living room couch with hand-held video games. How about getting them off the couch and onto the shooting range, in wholesome competition, where reactions combined with skilled training can bring them to a championship level?
Chubb is looking to our own area to produce the next Olympic champions and I have no doubt that this is a possibility. Right now, he is working with some youth he believes could be ready for the U.S. Olympic Skeet Team by 2016, and he is certain we could even have a champion by 2020.
More information. To find out more about the Keystone Shooting Park, membership, or simply scheduling time to come to shoot, contact: Chubb International Shooting Sports, Inc., 302 Tennessee Ave., Elizabethville 17023. The mobile phone is 717-903-9009; fax is 362-1966; email is key email@example.com; website is KeystoneShootingPark.com
Please take some time to check out this great shooting facility, located right here in our own backyard.
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