Keystone Shooting Park brings world-class competitors to central PA
One quick glance is all it takes to realize that Allen Chubb knows what he is doing.
His Keystone Shooting Park, located on the campus of Martz Gap Vew Shooting Preserve near Mandata, is literally a sight to behold. The Olympic style trap shooting venue sits upon 162.5 cubic feet of concrete and the multi-phase construction of the facility and surrounding projects will run nearly $1.2 million.
However, at the heart of it all, elevating the shooting park into world-class status is a small blue kioski. Within its metal walls are the electronic brains of the world’s only fully automated Olympic trap shooting range.
“After 30 years of shooting Olympic-style trap all over the world, I’ve seen some of the best and some of the worst ranges,” said Chubb, who first was introduced to the sport while stationed in Germany during a stint with the U.S. Army. “The Keystone Shooting Park is a collage of all the best features I’ve seen.”
The new trap field, named in honor of Donald S. Haldeman, who won a a gold medal for the United States in the 1976 Olympics, allows shooters to access the range when their schedule allows and makes it much simpler to get in the lengthy practice times it takes to be successful at Olympic-style trap shooting.
“Shooters use a prepaid Smartcard at the kiosk and the computer system creates a random draw and sequence for each shooter,” Chubb said. “It will then make sure that each shooter gets two targets to the right, two to the left and one straightaway at each of the five shooting pads while keeping track of each shooter’s score on a flatscreen monitor.”
The technology allows shooters of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels to shoot at their own convenience between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week. Lights will be installed in the near future, which will extend shooting hours even longer.
Within the bowels of the facility is an underground tunnel that allows for both safety and storage. Approximately 200,000 clay targets can be stored there at a time, and Keystone Shooting Park personnel have easy access to the 15 Italian-made Matarelli trap machines at any point during an event — each machine holding 350 clay targets at a time.
“During a tournament, we’ll only need to fill the machines about once a day,” Chubb said. “During training activities or regular usage, it will be more like once per week.”
The venue is expected to draw shooters from all over and has already booked its first Olympic hopeful — a wildlife science major named Annie Jardin from Paul Smith College in New York.
The park has already hosted a number of major events and will next have the USA Shooting Zone II Championship on Aug. 27-28 and the Oktoberfest Classic and Donald S. Haldeman Memorial Championship on Sept. 24-25.
A sport where an Olympic-level athlete can participate next to a first-time shooter, Olympic trap shooting has seen a steady increase in interest across the United States. Olympic trap differs from American trap in numerous ways, including being more fast-paced with the targets being released at a clip of 64 miles per hour. Targets are also released at steeper angles.
It is a different style of shooting, but one that Chubb expects to take off locally.
“It would be great to get high school teams involved. Places like Line Mountain, Upper Dauphin, Millersburg, whoever, to get involved in a self-funded program. There is money out there for junior programs. Not a matter of whether or not it happens, the money is out there,” he said. “It would also be neat to see local gun clubs get involved and create their own Olympic trap leagues.”
For more information on the Keystone Shooting Park, including rates, an updated list of events and a place to donate, visit http://www.keystoneshootingpark.com