The recognizable call of trapshooters everywhere is also the call that Logansport’s Devon Harris used in a remarkable performance at last weekend’s ATA Grand American World Trapshooting Championships in Sparta, Ill.
Harris broke 50 straight clay targets to win the $100,000 Challenge on the final day of the event. He edged out Denis Bringelson, a 32-year-old from New Raymer, Col., in a shootout. Both shot from the 27-yard line, the maximum distance for ATA handicap events.
Harris, 53, defeated nine others in a two-round tie-breaker to take home the $100,000 grand prize. It is the single largest payout in the history of the ATA, according to Trap and Field, the official magazine of the ATA and the sport’s record-keeper.
When Harris hit his 49th target in a row in the shootout, he knew the $100,000 was his.
“Somebody asked me if I was nervous up to that point. No I wasn’t, I had a job to do,” Harris said. “It was a unique opportunity and I had to keep my focus. But when I hit that 49th one for the winner my knee kind of buckled and I couldn’t control it. But I sat up for the 50th and was lucky to break it. I wanted to do it in perfect fashion.”
Harris has two kids in college, Taylor, who plays football at Butler and Darrien, who plays softball at Marian. So he has a pretty good idea of where his big cash prize is going.
“I’m paying for two kids going to college, so they’ll take about every penny of it,” he said.
Harris said the Grand American Challenge is the “Super Bowl” of trapshooting. The two-week event had over 29,000 entries from all over the world. The handicap event Harris competed in had 2,014 entries.
Harris, a 1974 Logan grad, is the shooting promotions manager for Federal Premium Ammunition. He competes in several shooting events each year for his company, where he has worked since 1985.
His father, Bruce Harris, started the Lake Cicott Gun Club in the late ’60s.
“He taught me how to shoot, and I never dreamed I’d make a living out of it,” Harris said. “It’s funny how you can follow your dreams and end up going there.”
Harris is responsible for sales in Indiana and Michigan and shooting promotions for all 50 states for Federal Premium Ammunition. One of his clients is Dunham’s Sports.
This year’s Grand American Challenge was the 111th time the event was held. The $100,000 Challenge was set up earlier this year through a cash donation from Bill and Lee Ann Martin of Vernal, Utah, both shooting sports enthusiasts and benefactors as well as life members of the ATA.
“This new prize is reminiscent of some of the glory days of trapshooting, when cars and large cash payouts were common at larger tournaments throughout the country,” said Gary Sherrod, ATA President, in a press release. “At the same time, trapshooting is moving into the future with sponsorships, adding to the excitement of our World Championship Tournament.”
The Martins have already pledged $300,000 in prize money for next year’s tournament.