The tables are being turned on Richard Marascola this year.

For several years the West Covina, California resident worked on the Trapshooting Hall of Fame’s biographical committee. This year, Marascola is being enshrined.

He will enter the Hall on Aug. 8, along with Chris R. Vendel, James H. Foster and Betty and Dieter Krieghoff.

“I was totally unaware and I was totally shocked,” the 87-year-old Marascola said. “I didn’t do anything. Why are you picking me? This came from the board of trustees. They have the option to pick who they want, contributors. I guess I came into the category of contributors to the sport.”

Marascola began shooting trap at age 13 as a youngster in Pueblo, Colorado.

“Everyone was in the war in 1943, we went out to the range,” he said “Pueblo had a trap range at the city park. They asked us if we wanted to go to work, pulling and setting. They wouldn’t give us any pay, so I asked if we could shoot some targets. That’s how we got started.”

In his first attempt at trapshooting, Marascola broke 23 of 25 targets. The seeds for a lifelong attraction to the sport, a sport that came naturally to him, were planted.

“Since we didn’t have anything else to do on the dairy farm, and we all had shotguns, shooting was exciting to us,” he said. “We also liked to hunt.”

After a stint in the military, Marascola returned to shooting. Skeet drew his interest at the time, but eventually he migrated back to trap shooting. And, it was a different era.

“In the early years of trap shooting, they were all dressed in ties and hats,” he said. “Women wore the long dresses. It was very dignified. If you were a trap shooter in that era, that was quite the thing.

“The interest came with the competition. Secondly, the introduction to people. Not many people get the opportunity to meet a lot of people through their lifetime, maybe through your work. When you form friendships in trapshooting, those friendships tend to last forever. It is the people that really truly, in my opinion, makes the sport worth doing.”

Almost universally, trap shooters cite friendships they’ve made as part of the sport’s allure.

“I explain it this way,” Marascola said, "It’s people you meet from every walk of life, which in itself, is the gold mine of people. They come from every walk of life, doctors, lawyers, fisherman, you name someone in the sport, and you’ll find a good person behind that.

“I love meeting new people. I met so many over the years. It kept me interested. Every time someone put their card in front of me, it was a new person. I made a point to chat with them a little bit.”

Eventually, Marascola began taking administration positions within the Amateur Trapshooting Association. He did handicapping for the organization for 23 years — all while remaining a competitive shooter.

“Some of the trophies I won are real good memories,” he said. “I didn’t shoot and not win. I was a very good shooter. I could have been a better shooter if I hadn’t taken the job. I have a lot of fond memories of the people I shot with. I shot with the same bunch for 15 years.”

This year marks the 42nd Grand American that Marascola has attended.

“I’m looking forward to going back,” Marascola said prior to this year’s Grand. “I haven’t competed for the past two years. I think I’m just going to rest out and leave it to the young guys and just enjoy my time. Renewing old acquaintances and making new ones will be great.”

les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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