A world skeet shooting name synonymous with the Charlottetown Trap & Skeet Club ABOUT ‘TARGETDUST’ Since the 1970s the name ‘TARGETDUST’ has been closely associated with the Charlottetown Trap & Skeet Club. From a very simple beginning on Prince Edward Island the name has become well known in skeet shooting clubs and associations across Canada, the United States, and reached a pinnacle of acclaim in 2011, when it earned World Skeet Hall of Fame status. Here is how it all began:
In the late 1970s the Charlottetown Trap & Skeet Club, like many Maritime clay target clubs, was moving into a upward cycle following a decade of limited activity. Club President Ron H. Atkinson suggested to the Executive the need to accent communication to the membership and requested permission to produce a monthly newsletter about the game of skeet shooting, highlighting local activity but laced with shotgun corporate news, tidbits gleaned from other Maritime clubs and lots of humor. He pondered a simple, catchy name and on March 15, 1979, the first two page issue of ‘TARGETDUST’ was mailed out to Charlottetown Trap and Skeet Club members. It soon expanded from two legal sized pages to four, and within months the
communication effort was paying of with an increase in shoot participation, attendance at club functions and most importantly, it was attracting new members.
Local membership costs were increased slightly to cover the cost of postage but by the early 1980s requests began to come from out-of-province shooters and clubs who wanted to be added to the mailing list and a small subscription fee had to be established. By 1983 a large number of Atlantic skeet shooters were receiving the PEI newsletter and the name ‘TARGETDUST’ and the Charlottetown Trap and Skeet Club had earned a permanent association. Ron Atkinson Jr. was shooting International skeet with the Canadian Junior Skeet Team in the US and Mexico, and his coach and mentor was Hall of Fame shooter Harry Willsie, a skeet shooting friend of his dad. Harry was familiar with ‘TARGETDUST’ and, coinciding with the disbanding of the Canadian Skeet Shooting Association, convinced Ron Sr. that the popular skeet
newsletter could provide the same Canadian communication link for skeet that the now defunct CSSA had done. A five man Canadian production committee was formed and the first Canadian edition of ‘TARGETDUST’ was mailed to Canadian skeet shooters in late 1984. The national edition was 8 pages, published seasonally, and prepared and edited by Ron Atkinson on Prince Edward Island with the originals sent to Bill Giblin in Montreal who had them printed and circulated. It was a labor of love for both and the effort was made in the interest of Canadian skeet shooting with no compensation. Within a year ‘TARGETDUST’ was being circulated to every serious Canadian skeet shooter and subscriptions started to come in from enthusiasts in
both the United States and the British Isles. By 1990 the popularity of‘ TARGETDUST’ continued to grow. Harry Willsie and Ron Atkinson having lunch in Florida, discussed the possibility of organizing an annual Canadian skeet
competition, rotating at Atlantic Canadian clubs, to take advantage of the popular newsletter name. Atkinson insisted that it be held at the home of‘TARGETDUST’, the Charlottetown Trap and Skeet Club, as long as the club was willing to host it. The first‘CANADIAN TARGETDUST CLASSIC’ was held on Prince Edward Island in 1990 and was an outstanding success. Since then, the three-day 500 target competition has attracted shooters from across Canada and the eastern United States. In 1992 the ‘Targetdust Classic’ hosted the entire Executive Committee of the National Skeet Shooting Association for their only second visit to Canada, and in 1994 the Directors of NSSA Zone 8, Canada, Great Britain and Germany, attended to hold their annual
meetings. The ‘Targetdust Classic’ is now in it’s third decade and continues each year to accommodate an almost always close-to-capacity registration.
The Canadian newsletter ‘TARGETDUST’ printed its final edition in the Fall of 2008 when both Ron Atkinson and Bill Giblin’s ages became a factor and no one could be found willing to spend the countless production hours with no compensation - it was unfortunate, but the bar had simply been set too high. ‘TARGETDUST’ had become the second highest circulated clay target bulletin in the world, next to NSSA’s ‘Skeet Shooting Review’. Its editorial column ‘Methinks’was especially popular and a number of opinions on Gun Registration had been read in the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa. Many skeet shooters have saved their copies for reference but, apart from the editor‘s, the only known complete sets of every issue are held by
Bill Sinnott in Austin, Texas, and the World Skeet Shooting Museum and Hall of Fame in San Antonio, Texas.
Throughout the life of ‘TARGETDUST’ it has always been, and always will be, associated with the Charlottetown Trap and Skeet Club on Prince Edward Island where it began it’s existence as the club newsletter. In 2011 Ron Atkinson was inducted into the World Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas, and it was primarily because of his international skeet publication ‘TARGETDUST’, now perpetuated annually through the
popular Eastern Canadian fun skeet competition, the ‘Targetdust Classic’.