Agreement reached to keep Grand American shooting event in Southern Illinois

One of the largest shooting events in the world is staying in Southern Illinois.

A formal announcement was made Friday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m., according to Lynn Gipson, executive director of the Amateur Trapshooting Association.

All types of target shooting were suspended at the Complex back on Sep. 30 because the state had not appropriated funds to it. The restaurant, event center and year round vendors have remained open, but due to the Illinois budget issue, shooting was suspended.

Under the agreement, if there is still no Illinois budget by April 2016, the ATA and IDNR will work out an arrangement for the ATA to lease the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC) from the state for the months of June, July and August in 2016, which will allow shooting lanes to be open for the AIM youth program Grand Championship and the Grand American World Trapshooting Championship.

The 2016 Grand American will be Aug. 3-13 at the complex.

If the complex would have remained closed, local businesses would be at a financial loss due to over 10,000 people attending the event in an alternate location. A 2013 study estimated that the annual economic impact of the Grand American alone was $10-$12 million to the area.

Adding in other events throughout the year would likely double this impact, so in the nine years of the WSRC’s existence, the estimated impact has totaled over $180 million.

The Grand American draws more than 16,000 people to Sparta including more than 4,600 competitors each year.

The tournament has been held every year for the past 115 years. The competition moved from Vendalia, Ohio to Sparta in 2001.

The Grand American brings in an estimated $12 million per year.