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Olympic Skeet

 

During 1915 these three came up with a very simple , but ingenious idea of placing a clay trap on the edge of a circle. This circle was described as a clock face with the trap placed at twelve-o-clock throwing the target towards six-o-clock. The outer rim of the clock face was marked off in hours, each one becoming a shooting position.

Two targets were shot at each hour position; with one cartridge being saved for one target taken from the centre of the circle. ( It would be logical to assume that this centre of the circle fast challenging target was the basis for the station 8 shooting position in modern Olympic Skeet ). This ‘Round the Clock’ game became very popular with local Wing shooters very quickly; and there is no doubt that moving around a complete circle provided a very effective bird shooting practise facility. The popularity was short lived however when a neighbour to the shooting area complained about lead shot falling dangerously onto his land.

Now history becomes a little blurred; as to my knowledge, three versions about the complainant seem to exist:-

1. The neighbour was a pig farmer.

2. He was a chicken farmer. (and yes lead shot being ingested by fowl or swine would have caused harm to the chickens or pigs )

3. The neighbour wanted to build a development in the shot fallout area.
All three were valid reasons to make modifications to the Round the Clock shooting game; which the three inventors quickly did.

They simply cut the clock face in half and placed a second trap at six-o-clock so that the half circle provided the same variety of angles as one trap on a full circle. They also raised the height of the trap at the 12-0-clock position to add even more variation and challenge. This new half clock game spread around the USA rapidly; to the point that during 1926 a shooting magazine offered a prize of $100 to the person coming up with the best name for this new shooting game: The female winner had suggested ‘Skeet’ an old Scandinavian word for shooting.

A year after the new Skeet name had emerged, this American clay shooting discipline was brought into Britain where it received some popularity initially as a practise for game shooting and eventually a following amongst a small group of clay shooters.

In 1936 there was an international agreement to move the targets outwards from the 12 and 6-o-clock positions to remove the danger of falling clay targets striking the competitors. Layouts were standardized with the 12-o-clock trap being set 10 feet above ground level ( High House ) and the six-o-clock trap set at 3 feet ( Low House ) Both trap houses being set 40 yards apart.

As the popularity of Skeet shooting grew in Britain we came up with our own version called English Skeet . A standard Skeet layout with the central 8th shooting position ( station) removed. Our version also allowed an optional gun ready position. ( the gun could be pre-mounted before calling “pull”)

The growth of Skeet shooting in the US was massive; and in particular was used extensively for training pilots and air gunners during the second World war. Despite this popularity; Skeet did not become an Olympic event until the 1868 Mexico Games. During those games there was just one female competitor amongst the Olympic Skeet squads;who actually finished 14th. However there was a significant turn of events concerning female Olympic Skeet competitors during the 1992 Barcelona games.

During the games, all Olympic Skeet competitions are shot over 200 targets during two days of shooting. At these 1992 games a Chinese woman beat all other competitors winning a Gold medal , scoring 200 straight : Since then; Men and Women have been separated into Male and Female Olympic Skeet competitions !! Lets wait and see what happens in the 2012 Olympic skeet.

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