Pat Lamont has compiled an impressive resume in trap shooting.
The 28-year-old Brandonite earned his 10th straight Manitoba doubles championship— two clay pigeons shot at the same time — and 10th singles title — one pigeon shot at a time — in 13 years over the weekend at the Brandon Gun Club.
His domination has also extended to the international stage, with a pair of titles at the biggest trap shooting championship in the world to his credit, making him one of the best in the world at his sport.
While the championships are nice, he also takes great pride in his phenomenal shooting percentage. In 2012, Lamont hit 99.69 per cent of his targets in singles competition and upped it to 99.72 per cent last year, putting him atop the rankings for all Amateur Trap Shooting Association competitors across North America.
He was nearly as good in doubles — third highest in the ATA with 98.86 per cent — and handicap at 95.82 per cent. Handicap is when experienced shooters stand further back than inexperienced shooters, making it much more challenging. And it’s that consistently elite level of shooting over a full season that he is most proud of.
"That’s a cool achievement," he said. "It’s something I never expected when I started and now it’s something that I work towards. Just to be in the ranks of the other people that have those high averages, it’s the guys I’m watching at big competitions. To stack up with them is certainly a great feeling.
"… It’s a cool feeling to achieve that at the end of the year. Those ones are tough because it’s not just one competition, it’s the whole year, so you can’t have an off day or you’re out."
Lamont started trap shooting when he was only nine years old. He grew up watching his father, Rob, shoot and was taught the sport and is still coached by him.
The thrill of the competition and a chance to win keeps Lamont coming back, and he’s dedicated to his practice.
Lamont trains three days a week in preparation for tournaments, which has paid off with his long list of provincial titles as well as being the 2008 and 2009 all-around champion at the Grand American World Trap Shooting Championships, the biggest American Trap Shooting Association event in the world.
Despite his success, he admits that maintaining his focus during competitions remains his biggest challenge.
"I think the mental game is the biggest thing in trap shooting," he said. "Anyone can shoot one target, but to win in singles you have to achieve perfection in singles and in doubles near perfection. If you have a mentally weak day, it makes the difference between a bad score and a good score."
Despite his success, Lamont has no plans to try to get into the Olympics, which features international style trap shooting that is different than the more popular American style.
He does, however, plan to stay in the sport for a long time. He said as long as you’re physically fit enough to lift a shotgun and shoot off 100 rounds, then you can compete, which is why people older than 70 still take part in it.
While he plans to compete for a long time, he’s also doing his part in raising the next generation of trap shooters as well. In May and June, Lamont works an instructor for the Brandon Gun Club’s junior shotgun program, and it’s a role he’s enjoying as well.
"I used to be in the junior shotgun program and now to go from being a student to a coach feels good to give back to these kids," he said. "The primary thing we want to teach these kids is gun safety and control. We want to set them off on the right foot so that when they decide to shoot trap or hunt, any time they’re using a gun we want them to use the right technique and introduce them to the aspects they’ll need to be successful."