CEDAR FALLS — Trapshooting enthusiasts poured onto the Cedar Falls Gun Club grounds Wednesday for the opening events of the 140th annual Iowa State Trapshoot.
Former Iowa State Trapshooting Association president Phil Thyer of Independence may have been the most unexpected participant of the day.
During Tuesday’s warm-up and practice rounds, Thyer wasn’t feeling like himself.
“I was shooting well in practice and really felt good about breaking 100 targets,” Thyer said. “I was just walking around getting ready, then all of a sudden I became a little confused and my speech was beginning to slur and people were kind of staring at me funny.
“I thought I blacked out for a minute or two, but the next thing I knew there were paramedics over me and I was being put in an ambulance, and probably 20 minutes had gone by.”
Thyer was suffering a Transcient Ischemic Attack, a condition similar to a heart attack, and it was classified as a mini-stroke.
“I tell you what, those EMTs did a great job with me and getting me to Allen Hospital,” Thyer said. “I spent the night there and was released today, and knew I wanted to get back to shoot.”
Thyer, who spent 15 years as president of the ISTA and another 11 as a delegate, got back on the firing line Wednesday and knocked down a respectable 88 of 100 targets.
“I only shot 88, but you should have seen all the people that came up to me to see if I was OK and wanted to help carry my bag of shells or my gun,” Thyer said. “I had at least 500 people come up to me before I shot. It was just such a great feeling.
“I can tell you this, people in this sport are the greatest people in the world and I would like to say thank you to all of them for how nice they were to me.”
With the day wearing on and the humidity slowing things down a bit, 16-year-old Sam Zimmerman of Ottumwa broke 98 targets and went to a shoot-off with Craig Carter of Clear Lake.
Zimmerman outshot Carter 25-21 and claimed the in-state title.
“It feels pretty good being a champion,” said Zimmerman. “I have only been shooting for two years and I finished as a Class B runner-up twice, so this one really means a lot.”