Sparta, IL – Mortimer Castlesteel couldn’t remember this ever happening before. In fact, no one at the facility could. A champion trap shooter with an expensive shotgun lost a round to someone shooting a Mossberg 500.
The Great American Trap Tournament boasts over 1,500 old guys annually at their beautiful open field with sunken houses. Fast-paced action for brief moments at a time is interspersed with ample opportunity for relaxation. The tournament itself runs for two weeks during the school year, nearly guaranteeing that only the wealthy retired have the time to participate.
All scores are meticulously hand recorded by scribe, in triplicate. One full day of the tournament is dedicated to the ceremony of adding slashes (hits) and zeros (losses). During the excessive downtime, the organizers provide Bingo, daytime television reruns, and local guided bus tours.
Mortimer Castlesteel previously won the prestigious Slow & Steady award for consistent performance as a trap shooter. His beautifully scrolled Krieghoff with gold inlays has never seen a raindrop (or even a rain cloud). He’s never shot in winds exceeding 5mph, to protect his ranking. Nonetheless, young Tommy Furman walked confidently to the line to to Castlesteel. With his matte black Mossberg 500 Tactical, Tommy received overt judgements from the other competitors, most nearly four times his age. Tommy was able to participate because his homeschool teacher allowed him to take the two weeks off from school while he started a new acne treatment.
During a hard fought round, Castlesteel recorded a loss on bird #21, while Tommy remained flawless. The crowd of 12 AARP members let out a muffled gasp, followed by some coughing, when Castlesteel missed. Several in the crowd cited made-up rules about “the sun was in his eyes” or “there was an illegal gust of wind during the throw!” Most demanded a re-do.
One observer exclaimed “but he [Tommy] should be disqualified! This is SPARTA! It’s supposed to be prestigious!” Indeed, many in attendance denounced the upset as “unbecoming” of the event. “It’s supposed to be for the very best trap shooters” explained Merl Aurther. “You can’t be the best when you’re young and have disrespectful, mass-produced equipment!”
As a result of the upset, several new rules are being enacted. Firstly, younger shooters (under 55) are required to miss at least once per round whenever competing against older shooters. Second, all guns will be classified based on monetary value. No guns under $1500 are allowed to compete. Finally, no female shooters at all. Unless they’re in skirts. And they aren’t allowed to win.
Industry experts expect several of the new rules to be challenged, possibly in federal court under Title IX. It’s unclear if changes to the Bingo schedule will be made.