SPARTA — Forget the Maytag guy, Troy Pilvean was the loneliest man at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex Monday.
Pilvean sat in front of the MedStar trailer, watching the singles competition at The Grand American.
Because of the moderate weather that swept over Southern Illinois the past two weeks, Pilvean and fellow MedStar employees have had few clients.
“Minor scrapes, bruises, routine run of the mill stuff,” he said.
The portable cooling center operated by MedStar has essentially been empty.
“They go in there and eat lunch,” he said, pointing at the nearby tent. “That’s about it. It’s 62 degrees in there. It’s probably too cold for them.”
This year has been atypical. Normally, the Grand American is held in the heat and humidity of early August.
“We’ve had several years, I think it was 2008, we treated over 180 patients for heat-related issues,” Pilvean said. “We’ll take this every day of the week.”
On Monday morning, some shooters were walking around the complex in sweatshirts. Others had blankets or afghans draped over their shoulders.
Madeleine Cravens of Du Quoin was experiencing her first Grand American. A member of SIU’s dance team, Cravens worked as a scorekeeper. She sported a sweatshirt while picking up spent shells.
“Actually, Wednesday was hot, but Sunday was nice,” she said. “It’s just nice to sit out here and enjoy it. I don’t dread coming back.”
Janice Feaga of Maryland shot Monday morning wearing long sleeves. Feaga, who has attended every Grand American since the event came to Sparta in 2006, said she isn’t bothered by the weather.
“Heat doesn’t seem to bother me much,” she said. “I know it does a lot of people, but it doesn’t bother me. I shoot every event, unless I’m really in pain for some reason, I shoot every event.”
Feaga takes advantage of her indifference to the weather.
“Sunday, even in the rain, my personality, I just go out happy, no matter what,” she said. “If everyone else is griping, you’ve already beat them when you go out there happy and enjoying it.”
The temperate weather also makes the event more enjoyable for spectators.
Scott Beine of St. Charles, Missouri, attended the Grand American, watching his 13-year-old son, Cameron.
“It (the heat) would affect my son, he’s a first-year shooter,” Beine said. “Overall as an athlete, the hydration is so important. As far as my son, we try to make sure he stays hydrated, moreso in the heat. As far as shooting multiple events, this is more comfortable for them.”