World-class shotgunning finds its way to Kerrville this week as athletes gather for a World Cup match.
Events begin with the United States Olympic Committee officially designating the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center this week as an Olympic training site. The Kerrville range’s new status came only days ahead of the World Cup Skeet, Trap and Double Trap competitions. The event’s opening ceremony is set for 4 p.m. Friday.
Approximately 325 athletes from 50 countries around the globe will compete through May 11.
The draw also will impact hotel and motel operations in Kerrville during competition weeks, said Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sudie Burditt.
The CVB is working in conjunction with the shooting center and USA Shooting to house the 400-plus athletes, coaches and other members of their entourages.
More than 3,400 room nights have been confirmed in Kerrville hotels, Burditt said, speaking by phone from San Antonio airport, where she was coordinating team transportation to Kerrville.
“It’s going as smooth as can be expected,” she said. We have 527 plane tickets The World Cup event comes at a good time for local hotels, who normally experience a lull in bookings between the spring wildflower season and the May conventions and Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair bookings.
U.S. skeet shooter Army Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Dulohery, a 2004 Olympian, was among the athletes in Kerrville on Tuesday participating in unofficial practice. Athletes from Great Britain, Cyprus, Italy and India milled around, talking with one another and taking shooting practice together.
It’s an indication of the friendly rivalry that exists among the international shooting community, Dulohery said.
As a U.S. and Army shooter, Dulohery has had opportunities to shoot at the Kerrville facility on two occasions this year. That could give American shooters a slight advantage over some of their international rivals, he said.
“I think Kerrville, Texas, is going to be tremendously excited (by this event.),” Dulohery said. This is the first time in 10 years a World Cup event has been in the U.S.
USA Shooting’s Director of Operations Wanda Jewel said this week’s event is the second of four this year. Many of the athletes participated two weeks ago in China, she said. They also will travel to Dubai and Germany later this year.
Hosting an international shooting event means meeting the explicit international federation standards.
“The shooters will want the best conditions,” Jewel said.
Hill Country Shooting Sports Center will provide challenges for some athletes who haven’t shot there before, Jewel said. Among challenges will be the rugged terrain behind the skeet and trap fields and the wind conditions gusting from the draws below the bunkers.
Two days of skeet competition are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, followed by the double trap competitions on Monday. Next Wednesday and Thursday, the World Cup will conclude with the single trap events.
Olympic training site
The U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to use Hill Country Shooting Sports Center for training will see athletes in all shooting disciplines come to Kerrville for practice and competition.
The concentration has been to prepare the facility for the World Cup, according to HCSSC President Jack Burch. New trap throwers have been installed for this event.
When it is concluded, work will restart on the rifle and pistol ranges, which are needed for competitions this fall and another World Cup match in 2007.
“The U.S. Olympic Committee looks forward to expanding opportunities for athletes to participate in Olympic and Paraolympic programs through this partnership with the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center and USA Shooting,” said USOC Chief of Staff Charlie Huebner in a written statement announcing the training facility designation.
This great facility will provide an additional elite training environment that will positively impact athlete performance.
Burch said the formal announcement of the center’s designation as an Olympic training site is a significant development for Kerrville and for this range.
” Any time any facility has an association with the U.S. Olympic Committee, it’s a significant thing,” he said. “People around the world know what those rings mean.
And having (the facility) centrally located in the United States makes it much easier for the athletes to train.”