By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
ELYSBURG -- Long before the very first shot is taken during the Keystone Open in May right on through the Pennsylvania Zone Shoots in September, preparations are taken to ensure that every trapshooting participant from first-time shooter right down to World Class participants are provided with the best possible environment while displaying their vast array of skills.
This is no easy task and does not happen overnight but rather is entrusted to a small army of well-trained workers pointed in the same direction and with the same goal: make this year's event as good as or better than the previous one.
After the two-day Colonial Classic on Saturday and Sunday, the 122nd Pennsylvania State Shoot got underway Monday at the Valley Gun and Country Club. The event showcases some of the best trapshooters from throughout the United States and the world with the possibility of more than 2,000 shooters participating in this year's event. It brings together a "Who's Who of Trap Shooters" to the spacious grounds and it's no secret why.
"We have the reputation of having the best-run shoot in the country," tournament director Charles Fritzges, of Milton, said. "Shooters talk to each other and they know where the good shoots are and where to go and it's a pleasure and credit to everyone who works here for the accolades our events receive from the participants that go beyond the borders of Pennsylvania."
Playing an integral role in the success of the shoots and, in most cases, behind the scenes like a director of a movie, are Dan Grecsak and his assistant, Dick LaRoche. They are the trap mechanics, and are usually preparing for the initial event months before the action gets underway.
They maintain all 53 traps in Elysburg, which holds the second-largest state shoot in the country behind Vandalia, Ohio, Their professionalism and know-how are just a couple of reasons shooters flock to the Pennsylvania state shoot, which continues to grow in popularity and attract the top names in the world.