Paralyzed Veterans of America'sTrapshoot Circuit has grown from an event sponsored by a few chapters to 16 events in a yearlong circuit. The circuit parallels the national Amateur Trapshooting Association rulebook, making exceptions only when necessary. Shooters with disabilities and able-bodied shooters compete as equals.
Paralyzed Veterans’ member Charlie Oman, a frequent participant in the circuit, has been shooting trap for nearly 20 years and shot skeet for many years before that. He sustained an injury in Vietnam left the left side of his body paralyzed.
Oman doesn’t see his disability as a hindrance to his life or shooting trap and emphasizes that, at the Paralyzed Veterans’ circuit events, everyone—both able bodied and disabled—shoot on equal footing. Rarely is their disability noticed.
“I walk with a limp and I shoot with one arm and that’s how it is. You’ve got to use what you got and take advantage of it,” he said.
Oman greatly enjoys shooting trap with his wife and his friends he met through Paralyzed Veterans’ events. “They’re all great people; they’re all real people,” Oman explained.
Trapshooting has played such an important role in his life that he even met his wife at a trapshoot competition and married her on a trap range. The couple almost always attends and competes in the trapshoots together. “My wife started out being afraid of shotguns and now she’s a crackerjack shooter.”
Andy MacDonald, associate director for Paralyzed Veterans’ Sports and Recreation, who oversees shooting sports, said Oman is a great example of a veteran who has continued participation in a lifelong activity even after a spinal cord injury. “Like so many of our members, Charlie really enjoys getting outside, being among peers and participating in trapshoots. This sport has a tremendous appeal to veterans, and we hope to continue to expand the events we can offer in the future.”
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Shooting Sports Program
Sam Gubitz is an undergraduate studying political science at The George Washington University.