In most sports there are people who play for the love of the sport and if they win ... that's all they need ... the recognition from their fellow competitors ( and friends ) that they have performed the best that year ... because they have probably worked the hardest at their game that year. No fancy Gonk or cash prize or even a 2000 quid air rifle should be able to compete with that as a prize.
I know loads of guys that perform at a lower level so they can be a big fish in a small pool and just collect meaningless Gonks on their mantle piece.
Hundreds of folk drive around the country to take part in comps in all sorts of airgun shooting. The greatest majority of those know they have no chance of winning. If they practised 24 hrs a day they still wouldn't stand a chance. It's an incentive ... and a small thankyou ... for these people that they have the same chance as the country's best shooter of winning a nice rifle etc.
We surely haven't got top shooters saying that if they win they should get the Sponsor's donated prize because they are the best ... and **** all the other hundreds of shooters who put the time, effort and miles in to make these things the big events they are, rather than just a handful of elite shooters competing over a Gonk?