Talking to Dan Bonillas

Discussion in 'Trapshooting Forum -' started by Family Guy, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. Family Guy

    Family Guy Ultra Elite Poster Founding Member

    This week I met Dan Bonillas in the Perazzi building. I used to watch Dan and his pals shoot at the Grand when the grand was Grand in Vandalia. Those guys could draw a crowd. There was big money in the game and big crowds. Dan smiled when I said I remembered him shooting. He said. "the shoot management assigned security" to their squad. "It was not unusual to have someone diving for the shells you were ejecting."

    I asked Dan if he thought there was more talent now. His eyebrows curled a bit at the statement. He said, "You only have higher scores. We were shooting for big money. Now they made the targets easier, the shells are faster and maybe the guns are better. Definitely the talent is not better!"

    I asked Dan what he thought one of the biggest problems are with registered shooting and without hesitation he replied, "making the targets easier. Now everyone can go out and get a good score."

    I waited and he continued, "The blue collar shooters are gone. In the big shoots like Vandalia each day the crowds and numbers of shooters grew and grew. As you approached the weekend the penalty A shooters showed up. We don't have the crowds and they need to get those shooters back. People keep saying you are living in the past. Well the past was darn good."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------End day 1-------------------------------

    Something was left out that I wanted to discuss with Dan. Today I returned with a different goal.

    Once I got Mr. Bonillas' attention I told him I thought something else is different. I wanted to provoke a response. I said, " Back when you were shooting we had something we don't have now. We had trapshooting heroes. Great shooters that were not afraid to speak their mind or be published. We had people like Frank Little pushing his sustained lead and power to the bird and Don Zutz publishing his opinions." I said there were others.

    I had Dan's attention. I pushed further. "The only person we have now not afraid of giving an honest opinion is Brad Dysinger. Brad isn't afraid to throw the punches and tell it like it is."

    Dan was quick to respond. "These guys don't want to give any information out. They would rather give shooting lessons. I never said something at one of my lessons that I would not give you or say in person. There aren't any secrets."

    He had more to say and the response I wanted to hear was coming. "My opinions were known. I wrote and was interviewed often." And he is right!

    I told Dan we lack that leadership now. Dan said he would take a look at our forum.

    Dan, if you read this I would like to thank you for your time and what you have done for the sport.

    Family Guy
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  2. smoking357

    smoking357 Elite Poster

    Good stuff.

    The sport does need heroes, and it does need tougher targets. In Baseball, a great hitter like Cabrera will bat .348, and everyone respects him as outstanding. Tom Brady completes 64% of his passes and is regarded as the greatest. Michael Jordan shot around 50% and is regarded as the greatest.

    Let's get more missing. Let's have a broken target be special. A great baseball player will have 550 at-bats and 40 home runs. You'll only see a power hitter hit a home run once in every 14 at-bats, but everyone is still on the edge of their seats with anticipation when the big hitter comes to the plate. Let the hit be the exciting part, not the miss. From a spectator's perspective, waiting for a hit is a lot more interesting than waiting for a miss.
  3. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    I totally agree with Dan Bonillas, as his perspective is correct.
    Thanks Dan

    Gary Bryant Dr.longshot
    wpt and Family Guy like this.
  4. 1100 Remington Man

    1100 Remington Man Member Founding Member

    Very interesting and I agree with Dan also. He is one of the Greatest to ever walk onto a Trap field.
    T Jordan, Par4, dr.longshot and 2 others like this.
  5. N1H1

    N1H1 Mega Poster Founding Member

    BD was afraid to throw 3-hole targets at the Cardinal Center when he was tournament director, wasn’t he?

    Dan's interviews in T&F were always worth reading. In fact, I think one lead off "Shoot'n Trap" in Volume 1, Issue 1, on brown paper and I still have it.

    TGV011 likes this.
  6. Seitz9010

    Seitz9010 Mega Poster

    BD was afraid? Well I guess that will probably take care of today's entertainment. I don't know the story behind the remark so now I'll have to stay tuned.
  7. N1H1

    N1H1 Mega Poster Founding Member

    Well, he didn't do it in any case, "tell it like it is" though he does. I was guessing, I admit. Perhaps he just didn't want to drive his customers away.
  8. smoking357

    smoking357 Elite Poster

    You've just admitted that all 2-hole targets are for chickens who are afraid of a tougher target.
  9. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Moderator

    N1H1, evidently there isn't many shooters that can tell the differences when shooting 44 degree angles and 34 degree targets. Whether set that way intentionally or by mistake, some traps at this years Grand were true straights from posts 1 and 5! Height wise, they were set on the high side and if winds interfered, they went climbing.

    Several experienced shooters scores were on the lower side even on some good shooting days and weren't aware of any slight difference! Several shooters I chatted with merely chalked it up to having an off day while others knew they were shooting 44 degree angles? I thought it was a very cleaver idea though!

    I'd like to say that was the reason for my poor showing but it certainly wasn't at all!! I loved the target setting!

  10. 320090T

    320090T Mega Poster Founding Member

    At this years Ohio State Shoot I saw straights from 1 and 5 on several traps so some were set at 3 holers
    dr.longshot likes this.
  11. smoking357

    smoking357 Elite Poster

    Did you notice whether the 3-holes were being used in Singles or Handicap?
  12. Jersey Giant

    Jersey Giant Active Member

    This guy is not from Minnesota?
    Roger Coveleskie and dr.longshot like this.
  13. N1H1

    N1H1 Mega Poster Founding Member

    But Hap, I'm sure the "2-hole bars" were in. How is it possible that the target-widths varied? Are you sayin, that you have to do a lot more than stick a bar in to get the targets right, particularly on ten-year-old traps with no documented maintenance? Wasn't that the whole point of the infamous "Interesting EC minutes" thread? Traps without bars are "therefore" "out of ATA guidelines?"

  14. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Moderator

    Neil, I didn't say the traps were out of specks at all or throwing an illegal angle! No, I didn't inspect either the condition or settings on any spacer bars in any house I shot on. I stated I shot straights from posts one and five on two traps and 34 degree angles on the other two! How they managed to do that either accidently on such worn traps, I can't say but I think if intentionally set as such, it was a brilliant move!

    Speaking of maintenance, the voice calls are in dire need of attention for sure! As for the Tucson settings, I think bullish authority was more in play than any illegal target settings? I'd have to ask why the demand to replace those spacer bars wasn't requested the evening before rather than a half hour before the event start time the next morning?

    I thought it was angle degrees strived for and not some other material to prevent illegal targets from being thrown?

    wpt and jhunts like this.
  15. N1H1

    N1H1 Mega Poster Founding Member

    Hap, I think the way to set angles is via the "Pierce Anglemaster " electronic device. I think you can come close with other methods but you have to work at it a lot more and it takes more people who are careful. Of course, you can get that straight target on one side from a sidewind from any trap, but only in one direction.

    Our targets were variable in height at Sparta, but if they were what we thought of as too high or too low, I'm sure we could have gotten them moved, and I faintly remember doing it once. I do not blame "target setting" for this. They first set them shortly after sun-up and we shot at ten or eleven, after three or six squads had already been then and maybe had asked for a change, maybe not. The wind was often different from that pertaining four or five hours earlier anyway. So maybe they were better. Or worse. In any case, the only ones I now wished we had changed were the first two in the GAH but by that time I find my competitive spirit mostly burned out and we just pulled the trigger at whatever the trap threw.

    We had caller problems too. Equipment maintenance was at least mentioned at the Annual Meeting; I hope the ATA was listening.

    Yours in Sport,

  16. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    ATTENTION: Not only did I like Dan Bonillas's responses, but he stated what most of us on this site have been saying to the ATA, and quite to the opposite of what Neil Winston professes, and had the Target Specifications changed, I agree the shooters are not better today, they are shooting a different EASY TARGET, where almost everybody can break good scores.

    Dan Bonillas was one of the great shooters, and Perazzi named a trapgun after him the DB-81, DB Stood for Dan Bonillas, what greater credit can a gun Mfgr. Like Perazzi give a great shooter. Dan designed that gun.

    Thanks for your input again Mr. Bonillas.

    Gary Bryant Dr.longshot
    wpt and smoking357 like this.
  17. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Moderator

    Neil, most average competitors will take a shot at any target setting, especially at our Grandest shoot of all without bothering to change them. They spend their hard earned money at their home clubs shooting the most legal targets possible for their Grand experience.

    As we've discussed before, we should concentrate on giving the B, C and D class shooters the most breakable target setting possible, even at our Grand American! Those shooters just happen to be our sports bread and butter members? This target yo-yoing has the average guys so danged confused they have no inkling of what a legal target is supposed to look like! They just shoot at them and hope. This is a direct result of rule changes thinking that slowing the targets and lessening the angles would be best? Not so at all! Stabilizing a clay is accomplished with more speed and higher target RPMs in the slight wind conditions! The top shooters? Doesn't matter much how we set targets for those guys/gals, they will get their fair share regardless!

    Targets set at almost max height with the current speed limits just begs for yo-yoing as breezes increase or change directions! Sir, that method certainly isn't what's best for our sport at all! Has all this change been the best for our sport? In my less than humble opinion, it certainly hasn't.

    I know a few club operators that KNOW how to set targets the average shooters can and do break quite well! Their Grand experiences are far different and very discouraging to say the least. None would volunteer to set targets at our Grand, I asked! :-(

  18. Flyersarebest

    Flyersarebest Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    I asked Dan what he thought one of the biggest problems are with registered shooting and without hesitation he replied, "making the targets easier. Now everyone can go out and get a good score."

    "People keep saying you are living in the past. Well the past was darn good."
    Roger Coveleskie, dr.longshot and wpt like this.
  19. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    I did see some 3 hole outhouses on trailers headed in the direction of Illinois

    GB DLS

    BRAD DYSINGER The Philosophist Member Trapshooting Hall of Fame Member State Hall of Fame Founding Member

    First I had to get shooters used to a 50 yard target set with a T-Bar, next would be three hole. You can't take a dope addict off of a drug all at once you have to ween him. Old bitter x ata officials are the ones that should return to their past. I never worried what an ata ec member had to say when I was shooting why in the hell would I worry about an xx one today.

    This would be a good time for a graph.

    Regarding Dan he was my ruler that I measured myself against when I started shooting in 1974. Dan has always said what was on his mind and was the shooter to beat. He was honest, played the game the way I wanted to and he was respected by his peers. If Dan had a 99 on the board you damn well knew he broke it. There were a lot of free targets given to shooters but I knew he wasn't one of them. I've never been able to look up to target claimers and there have been a lot of them over the years. Dan showed me the honor of being an All American was as important as being an All American.

    Leo and I used to dream of winning at the Grand and being on the AA team. After about 1997 I didn't have that same dream, today with how deluded the AA teams are I'm with Dan. What he said. Brad
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2015
  21. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Elite Poster Staff Member Founding Member

    "target claimers". We all remember that one big guy (all 6'7") who mastered the technique. Even had a "potato chip" named after him. Never speak ill of the dead said my Momma!
  22. rookieshooter

    rookieshooter Elite Poster Forum Leader

    Been out of the loop for so long. What is a "target claimer"?
  23. wpt

    wpt Forum Leader Forum Leader Founding Member

    I was always told "If you have nothing to hide, Hide nothing", which is where Dan Bonillas comes from ... He tells it like it is at least from his perspective, and many people agree with him ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
    Trap 2, langer and dr.longshot like this.
  24. badactor

    badactor Member

    Dan is one of the good guys!
  25. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Moderator

    Years back, a very good friend was shooting with DB and he'd slightly chipped a target. Two squadmates said they saw the chip and DB said "I missed that target", mark it lost and continued on breaking a terrific caps score a target down!! DB said his integrity was much more important than a single clay! How many have you seen do that? A terrific shot and a true sportsman in our sport!

    Roger Coveleskie, Trap 2, wpt and 2 others like this.
  26. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    A number of years ago I remember an Article in a Shooting magazine on Dan Bonillas. If my memory serves me right it was controversial on and about the ATA. Target settings etc.

    Trap& Field will not write or print an article in it's magazine, that is controversial and could help the sport of ATA Trapshooting.

    Trap & Field try or attempted to sue a magazine that had the ATA Shoot schedule printed in it. The Trap & Field editor said they owned the schedule and had the rights to it.

    At the time the ATA was wanting people to promote ATA, this magazine that was read by 100s of thousand shooters was giving the ATA free advertising. Then bitched and attempted to sue the magazine over what they had asked for PROMOTING ATA SHOOTING.

    Does anyone recall the name of that Magazine?

    Gary Bryant.............Dr.longshot
    smoking357 likes this.
  27. Leonidas

    Leonidas Elite Poster Founding Member

    100's of thousand shooters?

    I bet you're exaggerating by at least 10 to 15 people.
  28. Flyersarebest

    Flyersarebest Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    OK, TENS of thousands.
    Do you know the name of it or not?

  29. Flyersarebest

    Flyersarebest Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    If you and your buds from that old site are going to try and belittle Gary on every post he makes you


  30. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    Shotgun News or something like that comes to mind, it was a fairly new Shotgun Magazine, they had a lot of articles including Sporting Clays, Skeet Shooting, Trap shooting, and Others articles, Very Informative. Leo Harrison had an article also, besides Dan Bonillas.

    Gary Bryant>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Dr.longshot
  31. dr.longshot

    dr.longshot Grudge Match Champion Forum Leader Founding Member Grudge Match Champion

    I may have missed the count by 1 or 2, I never asked the magazine for an audit of readers, + there were readers at the Magazine racks that never purchased the magazine. Don Zutz had articles on reloading, I think I got his last name wrong.

    Gary Bryant...........................Dr.longshot
  32. N1H1

    N1H1 Mega Poster Founding Member

    "Shooting Trap." Published by Clay Target Champion Frank Kodl, shooting a Ljutic with a 0.710 choke tube and one ounce Remington shells, 8 1/2's as I remember. I already mentioned the magazine somewhere here, didn't I? It's now "Shotgun Sports." Frank was, of course, the one who published my "Letter to the Delegates." You all know what happened then . . .

  33. Leonidas

    Leonidas Elite Poster Founding Member

    I remember the magazine now.

    The biggest reason most of the readers bought it was to read N1H1s informative and wise articles.
  34. wpt

    wpt Forum Leader Forum Leader Founding Member

    If there was ever a GREAT reason for a chart, graph, or anything else to make a point it would be for the attendance at the WSRC, and amount of money they cost the tax payers of the State of Illinois each year for the past 11 years ... It would be a prime time special and save the State a bunch of money rather than have to make their own ... Talk about an informative and wise article somebody is missing the boat on that one, thats for sure ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
    Trap 2 and dr.longshot like this.
  35. Flyersarebest

    Flyersarebest Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    Thank You, gotta love that sense of humor. I know you had to post that to be funny. Damn near made me tear up.

    I am into the second day of my wife's mothers funeral. Tomorrow and Monday I am helping my sister with the funeral of her husband. They died one day apart. This has been a tough time.

    Your post was one of the funniest, not THE funniest, but right up there. I needed a laugh.
    Roger Coveleskie and dr.longshot like this.
  36. jhunts

    jhunts Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    Sorry for the families losses.

    You did see the next post before I.


    OMG, that has got to be the funniest thing you have ever posted.

    Thanks Leonidas.
    dr.longshot likes this.
  37. Ajax

    Ajax Active Member Founding Member

    Flyerarebest, condolences on your families losses.

    dr.longshot likes this.
  38. Leonidas

    Leonidas Elite Poster Founding Member

    flyers, sorry for the loss of your family members.
  39. wpt

    wpt Forum Leader Forum Leader Founding Member

    Condolances to you and the family, hope they rest in peace and dance with the Angels ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
    dr.longshot likes this.
  40. Flyersarebest

    Flyersarebest Moderator Forum Leader Founding Member

    Thank you Gentlemen. Kind of puts all that Sparta/ CC/ ATA stuff in perspective doesn't it?

    I actually had plans to attend that big flyers shoot this weekend. Had all the money from those 60 hour weeks I was working and was ready to play all the options.

    Maybe my mother in law and brother in law knew something I didn't. I like to think they did.

    Hey dummy, you might not know it but we just saved you over $3000.00

    You always hear those stories about in laws but mine were just great. I'll miss them both. In fact, for one shoot, my mother in law wanted to know how much she would win if she backed me. She LOVED to gamble.

    Thanks again guys. Two more days of taking care of the family.

    Flyersarebest ( but not the most important)
    dr.longshot, Trap 2, wpt and 2 others like this.
  41. greeley

    greeley Active Member

    I was shooting behind Dan one time in Vegas, doubles, he dusted the heck out of bird, scorer called it dead a pair, he immediately turned and said "dead, lost". Have seen Ray do the same, first class guys here.
    BRAD DYSINGER likes this.
  42. chris henr

    chris henr Active Member

    All I Have To Say Is The Grands Of The Past.The 90's And Earlier Were Definitely The Golden Age Of Trapshooting And I For One Am Thankful To Have Been Able To Participate And Witness The Truly Great Shooters Do There Thing Because There Will Never Be Any Shooters Of That Quality To Replace Them. I'm Convinced There Molds Were Broken And This New Generation Doesn't Have The Heart For It.
    Trap3 likes this.

    BRAD DYSINGER The Philosophist Member Trapshooting Hall of Fame Member State Hall of Fame Founding Member

    I think that their are several shooters that will do just fine on harder birds. One named Joe from here in Ohio would do just great, that's how he shoots pigeons so well. Not you Familyguy the other Joe.
    Roger Coveleskie likes this.