By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
ELYSBURG -- When all the activities are concluded in this year's 122nd Pennsylvania State Trap Shoot at the Valley Gun and Country Club, some of the world's top shooters will have fired at about 1.3 million clay targets.
The figure changes slightly, depending upon the number of competitors.
What may be even more surprising to those unfamiliar with the sport is that the supplier of these targets, for what is the second-largest trap shoot in the country, can be found in our own backyard along Trevorton Road in Coal Township.
Reagent Chemical and Research Inc. entered the clay target market in 1979 with the purchase of White Flyer Targets from Olin Industries, the manufacturer of Winchester ammunition.
Currently White Flyer operates four state-of-the-art target manufacturing facilities in the United States and the plant in Coal Township services the Eastern portion of the country.
But why White Flyer?
"Quality is what makes our product the best in the market," said Eastern Sales Manager Josh Taylor, who is participating in this year's shoot. "And in the case with the five shoots located here in Elysburg we are able to not only supply the targets for each event, but if additional targets are needed, our plant in Coal Township is close enough that one quick phone call is all that's needed to have a shipment sent immediately down to VGCC.
"We have five other competitors in the United States but they work out of one facility while we have four total plants allowing us to be able to supply targets wherever needed."
The other White Flyer plants are located in San Bernadino, Calif.; Webb City, Mo.; and Knox, Ind.
Taking advantage of a customer base that stretches coast-to-coast, White Flyer currently serves more gun clubs and shooters than any other target manufacturer in the world.
"We try to promote clay target shooting wherever possible from the big shoots like the one here in Elysburg right down to the small club organizations," Taylor said. "All of our upper management people were or are shooters and know the sport and how to promote it.
"In addition, we are very active sponsors at all the shoots throughout the country as well as big promoters of our two big youth organizations, SCTP and AIM, who play a big role in grooming the future trap shooters in the country."
White Flyer supplies all the targets for all the major shoots in the country and Canada and also produces the International Target for the Olympics.
Its product is made primarily from petroleum pitch and limestone and goes through a quick process once the mixed ingredients are poured into the mold.
The company began operations in 1892.
"We will continually strive to improve the quality of our targets and service through our quality assurance program. Our company believes in fostering great community relationships," added Taylor, who compete in the handicap event. "We consider the Valley Gun and Country Club to be our home club."