CEDAR FALLS — For decades, people have traveled far and wide to be part of the Iowa State Trapshoot.
This year’s 140th anniversary of the big event has lured participants from 21 different states and across the globe — from Australia, to be exact.
It took two buses, a car ride, two lengthy flights and another car ride for Matthew Patmore to make his way to Cedar Falls for the shoot, which he uses to prime himself for the Grand American in Sparta, Ill., in two weeks.
“It truly is a very long haul to get here,” Patmore said. “From bed-to-bed, it takes 40 hours from when I leave home, until I get to here.”
Home for Patmore is Yass, New South Wales, Australia.
“The 14-hour flight from Sydney to L.A. takes the most out of you and I can feel a little of the jet lag kicking in right now,” said Patmore.
After his 3 1/2-hour flight from L.A. to St. Louis, Patmore relies on friends Jack McDonald and John Evans to escort him to the shoot in Cedar Falls.
“I met these two at one of these meets and we became friends right on,” Patmore continued. “They live in Springfield (Ill.) and come up here to shoot to get ready for the Grand American. They have always treated me like family, as everyone here has.
“This is actually my third year here because I skip a few years, but when I get here they sure treat me right.”
The weather has not been so friendly with temperatures nearing the century mark with high humidity throughout the week.
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“The heat is not too bad here, because it is winter down where I am from,” said Patmore. “It is like 90 degrees here and 60 back home, and the cold weather is not good for my leg.”
Patmore was involved in a serious accident back home that almost took his life when his motorcycle was t-boned by a car.
“I have had so many operations on my leg, knees, foot, arm and shoulder, 24 to be exact,” said Patmore. “I even spent a year in a wheelchair and I really didn’t think I was going to walk again.
“My doctor told me after I began to walk again to get out and shoot again as therapy. I love shooting and he was right, it gets me out of the house and I get to meet so many great people.
Patmore completed his first day of competition by knocking down 96 birds, but it took a perfect stand on the traps to qualify for any trophies.
Gary Dudley of Rockwell City was one of many to bring down a perfect 100 targets and was in a shoot-off for champion of the Hawkeye Singles.
Dudley came up one target short, but was able to drop down and claim the veteran championship for the event.
“I would have rather won the shoot-off, but taking top veteran is nice,” said Dudley, a 34-year veteran. “It was very hot out there today and it was a little tough to try and focus.”
Friday is championship day as the Iowa Championship Doubles will be shot along with Preliminary Class Singles and Preliminary Handicap.