The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that the 121st Grand American World Trapshooting Championships, traditionally held at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, will not take place at the venue due to public health concerns related to COVID-19.
“The health and safety of participants who would attend, as well as spectators and staff, must remain top-of-mind,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “Of course, we’ll miss seeing participants and enjoying the camaraderie and sport from those who compete, but after considering recommendations and concerns from the Illinois Department of Public Health, know that safeguarding the health of attendees is the right decision in light of the ongoing global pandemic.”
The Grand American, the largest shooting event of its kind, spans several days and is home to more than 20 events, drawing shooters from across the globe. With more than 5,000 competitors and spectators expected to attend this year, overall attendance and international travel factored into the decision not to host this year’s event.
“Without a vaccine and proven treatment, we must continue to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Large gatherings of people originating from different states and countries could undo the amazing work of Illinoisans to contain and control the spread of the virus. We support this difficult decision to protect the people of our state.”
Other concerns taken into consideration included the ability to screen individuals entering and leaving the complex, controlling the size of groups gathering in the campground and the limited health care capacity in the immediate area.
State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) expressed disappointment with Monday’s news.
“The governor’s arrogant refusal to listen to Southern Illinois elected officials – Republican and Democrat alike – who urged him to allow the event deprives the region of tens of millions of dollars in desperately-needed income and undermines the viability of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex,” Schimpf said.