Vidakovich column: Glenwood’s Hall of Fame trap shooter |

Vidakovich column: Glenwood’s Hall of Fame trap shooter

Mike Vidakovich
Cliff Haycock in his "man cave" trophy room.
Mike Vidakovich photo

Having turned 85 years of age on Easter Sunday, long-time Glenwood Springs resident Cliff Haycock readily admits that his endurance is fading and his eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Nevertheless, Haycock continues to work out daily with barbells in the section of his home that he affectionately refers to as his “man cave” to help maintain upper body strength to continue in the sport that has been a passion for him since 1982.

Haycock is not a body builder, distance runner, triathlete, or a low-handicap golfer. In fact, his chosen recreational pursuit involves the handling of a 7 pound, 12 gauge shotgun, and Haycock has managed to stay in good enough shape, and maintain a keen enough eye throughout his 41-year competitive career to be selected to the National All-American Team 11 times, and to be inducted into the Colorado Trap Shooters Hall of Fame in 2004.

“Shooting has been a very enjoyable hobby for me,” Haycock said. “I have made a lot of friends through the years with trap shooting. Many of my best friends have passed away, but there are still several of us that continue to get together and practice.”

Haycock heads to the Gypsum Trap Club Shooting Range every spring season through the fall to practice his craft. One of the biggest joys he still gets out of trap shooting is seeing fathers at the range teaching their children about the sport and the safe use of guns.

“There are three dads in Gypsum right now teaching their daughters how to shoot and how to handle guns,” Haycock said. “There is so much opposition and negativity right now toward gun ownership, but the positive side is never brought forth. People use guns for hunting, recreation and protection. There are thousands of clay and skeet shooters I have met during my years in competition that use guns for recreational purposes only. But all we ever hear is the negative side. To this day, I have never seen a gun walk around by itself.”

Haycock is quick to point out that the Amateur Trap Shooting Association has been in existence for 123 years, and in that time, there has not been a single shooting fatality.

The highlight of Haycock’s shooting career came in the 2015 Spring Grand Singles Championships in Tucson, Arizona. Haycock outshot a field of 733 competitors, hitting 125 clay targets in a row after the tournament had been narrowed to six finalists, to defeat Harlan Campbell, who at the time was ranked among the top 10 shooters in the nation.

Outside of his competitive shooting career, Haycock is most proud of the contribution he and his wife of 67 years, Barbara, had in the creation of the old South Canyon Shooting Range.

“We put together a group that included Larry Green from the Division of wildlife and Don Jensen, who owned the Dotsero Block Plant. We built that shooting range, but unfortunately, it lasted only about 15 years,” Haycock said. We used to take a fairly large group of kids up there each week to teach them how to shoot, but mostly to make sure they knew how to handle a gun safely.”

Even though Haycock’s sparkling competitive shooting exploits have been published in the “Completed Careers” section of Trap and Field Magazine, he continues to participate in several tournaments each year. His latest competition was on May 7 in Gypsum.

“I have been able to go many places and meet some very interesting people during my shooting career,” Haycock said, adding he has also been an avid hunter since he was a young boy. “I still enjoy competing against other top trap shooters. I hope I can stay in good enough shape to continue for a while longer.”

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at

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