CEDAR FALLS — Every year in late July, some of the best trapshooters from around the world come together on the State Association Grounds north of Cedar Falls for the annual Iowa State Trapshoot.
This year’s 141st edition is no different as the lineup for each category reads like a who’s who in the world of traps.
It is not uncommon to see perfect scores of 100 posted each night on the leader board. Thursday night, after the singles were shot off during a hot and humid day, there were 18 perfect scores on the board that were carried over into Friday’s shoot with elimination possible over each draw of 25 targets.
Jerry Pierce found his name among the top 18, and the Strawberry Point native seemed calm as could be over the upcoming shoot-off.
“I am just going to go out there tomorrow and concentrate on one target at a time,” Pierce said. “That’s all anyone can do. You shoot your best and hopefully it will be good enough when it ends.”
Pierce has been shooting competitively since 1982 when his brother Bryan got him hooked, and he has been shooting at the Iowa State shoot since 1983.
“I used to hunt a lot before I joined, so it just seemed like the thing to do,” said Pierce. “I enjoy coming here and I actually help out here quite a bit. I help with the voice system or the CVR system, and it is fun to do. My brother and I both worked on the equipment mainly to keep us busy and it gave us something else to do.”
Pierce keeps the sport in his family as his wife of 42 years, Marguerite, travels with him to each meet.
“Oh yeah, she goes with me all the time,” smiled Pierce. “She is my biggest supporter.”
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The family bond of trapshooting has been with Mike Piernicky since 2005, as he and daughter Megan have been making the Iowa shoot an annual event since she picked up a shotgun in 2012.
“My dad taught me all the basics of shooting and when I go to meets I learn just by watching other shooters,” said Megan. “I am basically a social shooter as I do it mainly for fun and to meet so many wonderful people. At one meet this guy that I did not even know came up to me and gave me pointers on shooting better, because I was having trouble with my eyesight when I shot. Another guy loaned me his gun when mine was not working. That is all indicative of the people that shoot traps. They all help each other all the time.”
Helping people shoot straight has been a lifetime of work for Mike, a retired police officer from Omaha, Nebraska.
He also helped a youth program for five years, and was a firearms instructor on the police force for 15 years before he finally hung it all up this past May.
“I wish I had started shooting shotguns sooner,” said Piernicky. “I think I could have been a lot better by now.”
Piernicky shot a 92 during the out-of-state doubles in Class D. He also recorded his first ever perfect score from 16 yards out.
“I have never done that before on a national level,” added Piernicky.
“If you set up a table with free tickets to the top five shoots and could only pick one to go to, I would not hesitate to pick Iowa,” Piernicky said. “They have a quality facility here, their targets are second to none and the personnel here is outstanding.”
Friday’s shoot will be highlighted by the shoot-off in singles and the Iowa Championship Doubles. The preliminary class singles and handicap will also take place.