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Parting Shots

In the chair

 

Pull! speaks to CPSA Chair Terry Bobbett to find out more about him and his role, what goes on behind the scenes

 

Grew up in Wells, Somerset – England’s smallest city. Now retired, I enjoyed a commercial management career encompassing wholesale, retail and service sectors. Amongst others employers were two American companies and these engendered a no nonsense, results driven, appropriate return on investment, approach in all that I do business-wise.

Started target rifle shooting in my early teens and won the Army Cadet Force/Air Training Corps/Sea Cadet Corps Full-bore Individual Championship at 500 yards at Bisley in early 1960s. Took up clay shooting in mid 1970s and have been a CPSA member for last 40 years. Throughout that time I have shot on a regular basis at local and national shoots.

First became involved in activity beyond being a member when I joined the Avon County Committee and South West Regional Committee in the 1980s and served for several years. I joined the Wiltshire County Committee and South West Regional Committee in 1994 and was elected Regional Chairman the following year; a role I held until standing down in 2010 to concentrate on national matters having joined the CPSA Board in 2007 and elected Chairman of that in 2008. In 2008 I was Chairman of Wiltshire County, South West Region and CPSA Board and clay shooting seemed to have taken over my life!

The main aim of the CPSA externally is to promote the sport of clay target shooting to a wider audience as an enjoyable, safe and healthy outdoor sport. Within the sport, as the NGB (National Governing Body), our aim is to support the individual member with a range of benefits such as insurance, a variety of tuition, advice, and a structured competition system.

When at shoots I often have members ask me questions about all sorts of topics and I willingly sit down with them and do my best to answer them as accurately as possible; apart from one or two issues that are deemed to be of a confidential nature I am happy to explain anything about the Association. I do not get my ear bent very often I am pleased to say although it does happen occasionally. Conversely it is a boost when a member expresses appreciation for what the Board does given we are all unpaid volunteers attempting to put something back into the sport we love. We have circa 24,000 members so I guess it is inevitable that we have a few, happily only a very few, disaffected souls who seem to have forgotten the sport is taking shots at clay targets and not at Board members or Head Office employees. These members seem to delight in raising, mainly via correspondence, a range of queries which would never occur to the vast majority of the membership and it can only be concluded they do it to take up valuable time and deflect those of us who would otherwise be spending time on various projects and initiatives of benefit to the membership as a whole. What their aim is in doing this I have no idea.

I am pleased to have discussions with members, be it at shoots, telephone, or often nowadays e-mail, as I am a great believer that many of the best ideas come from a bottom up direction and not a top down direction. On a number of occasions a member has suggested something and I sit there thinking “what a good idea why did we not think of that!”.

Before the recession we had circa 25,000 members and that dropped when the recession bit to the high 23,000s a reduction of about 5%. When compared with some of our sister NGBs that is a very credible performance. We are currently at about 24,000 members and the challenge is to build that number up to, and beyond, the 25,000 we had previously. Factors, from a negative perspective, are the anti-shooting lobby who believe guns should only be in the possession of the military and police, the environmental issues – particularly noise which has led to the closure of several shooting grounds and the ever increasing costs involved from obtaining a shotgun certificate through to the costs of cartridges and fuel – the latter on an upward cycle again as I write this. We are fortunate in that we are self-sufficient financially and, unlike most sports NGBs, are not reliant at all on governmental funding thus allowing us to make strategic decisions in the best interests of the Association and members without external considerations. We are truly blessed in having over 360 independently operated member clubs and grounds providing facilities for members to enjoy their sport. We have seen some encouraging upward trends recently in terms of members entering our major competitions such as the English Open Sporting and the World English Sporting and that can only be good for the sport as a whole.

Like any organisation if you stand still and rest on your laurels you actually go backwards. We are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the benefits enjoyed by the members be it increased insurance cover or more information communicated from Head Office through to discounts on cars and wine. The CPSA is constantly evolving and, talking with my opposite numbers from around the world, I believe our member offering stands favourable comparison with any of them but that is not to say we cannot improve it further.

The public face of being Chairman is seen as standing up at the AGM each year and running the meeting and to make a speech and present the trophies at various competitions throughout the season. Oh that it was that simple! The Board is the strategy making body within the organisation and we are truly lucky to have such a diverse group of enthusiastic people looking to the future direction of the Association rather than just to its present needs. I see it as a primary element of my role as Chairman to ensure the knowledge and skills of these individuals is utilised at Board meetings and in other areas such as sub-committees by guaranteeing full and frank discussions to enable us to reach the optimum decisions re strategy etc. This often involves me in various preparatory work for the meetings and usually some work

 

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