Booming sport for high school shooters

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 5, 2011 - 1:10 AM

Trap and skeet shooting is a fast-growing sport at Minnesota high schools.

hide

Eric Hagelee, an Edina 10th-grader, fired his shotgun at a clay target during a shoot last week at the Minneapolis Gun Club. Waiting his turn, behind, is Andrew Brandt, a ninth-grader.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Maggie Horan craddled her 20-gauge shotgun, took aim at the orange clay target that flew through the air, and squeezed the trigger.

Bam! The disk exploded. Maggie, 14, of Edina, smiled.

"It's a lot different than dance," the ninth-grade ballet dancer said after she broke 12 of 25 clay targets while shooting trap last week at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. Her 30-member Edina Trap and Skeet Team -- formed this year -- recently began its first season of competition, joining 28 other Minnesota schools.

Maggie is a newcomer to shotgunning, but a quick study.

"That's one of my best rounds," she said. "It's fun."

While many Minnesota high schools have been forced to slash programs and boost fees in the face of serious budget woes, the fledgling Minnesota State High School Clay Target League is, well, booming. Maggie's team is one of 16 new squads this year. Last year, 243 students at 13 schools competed.

"This year, we have 29 schools and more than 700 students," said Jim Sable, the league director. He expects participation to double next year.

"We're probably the fastest growing sport in the state," said Sable, 72, of Plymouth, a firearms safety instructor, shooter and tireless shooting sports advocate. Concerned about an aging population at gun ranges, he launched the league 10 years ago.

The recent growth is more remarkable considering the percentage of young hunters and anglers nationwide has been declining -- a trend blamed on urbanization and competition for leisure time with computers, televisions and other electronics.

Said Sable: "We have three priorities: No. 1 is safety. No. 2 is fun. And No. 3 is marksmanship."

Sport is exploding

The league is flourishing for several reasons, he said:

• Social media has boosted interest. "The kids who shoot communicate with one another on Facebook, and pretty soon more kids want to get in."

• Shooting is a "gender neutral" sport. Girls shoot alongside boys. Normally, if a school adds a boys' sport, it has to add a girls' sport for balance. "That's not an issue with trapshooting," Sable said. Last year, a girl, KayCee Nelson of White Bear Lake, was the top high school trapshooter in the state, breaking 100 out of 100 clays at the state championship.

• It doesn't cost schools money. "The kids pay for it," Sable said. Some conservation, civic and sports groups help pay the costs in some communities.

• Physical abilities aren't essential. "They don't have to be athletic to become good shooters," Sable said.

For now, shooting is considered a club sport and isn't part of the Minnesota State High School League. But students can earn letters, just as they do with other sports. The 10-week season began recently. Except at the state meet, students don't compete face-to-face -- they shoot weekly with their teams and their scores are recorded. Youths in grades six to 12 can compete; all must first complete firearms safety training.

Snowball effect

Scott Danielson, 48, an avid hunter and shooter, lives in Edina. When he heard about the clay target league, he volunteered to form a team and coach it. His two sons -- Ryan, a 10th-grader, and Eric, an eighth-grader -- signed up.

"My kids love to hunt and shoot, and I thought what a great idea. I wanted kids to have the opportunity to learn shooting sports. And it gets them outside -- away from the computer. I figured if we got a dozen kids, that would be great."

Instead, Danielson had to limit the roster to 30. "We have a waiting list," he said.

Kids each pay $240, which includes shotgun shells, clay targets, association fees and a T-shirt. "It's one of the cheapest sports they can participate in," Danielson said.

For Maggie Horan, it's a new and unique experience.

"My mom saw a flier [on the league] and pushed me to try it," she said. "I'm glad she did."

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Minnesota State High School Clay Target League information

    Tuesday May 3, 2011

    For more information on the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, see www.mnclaytarget.com or call Jim Sable at 763-559-4940.

  • One rural area helps young shooters

    Tuesday May 3, 2011

    Schools at McGregor, Aitkin and Cromwell formed one 36-member trap-shooting team this year and joined the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. But organizers soon encountered a problem.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Denver 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Portland 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Toronto 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Dallas
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Washington
Nashville 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Florida
Arizona 9:00 PM
Vancouver
San Jose 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Bradley
Brown 1:00 PM
Central Conn St
Stetson 1:00 PM
Florida State
Ill-Chicago 1:00 PM
Northwestern
Ohio 1:30 PM
George Washington
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Colorado
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
Portland
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Fordham
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Purdue
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Albany
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Butler
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
UCF
Oakland 6:00 PM
Clemson
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Navy
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Princeton
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Syracuse
Kansas 6:00 PM
Temple
Mercer 6:00 PM
Tennessee
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Indiana
Columbia 6:30 PM
Connecticut
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
Baylor
UAB 7:00 PM
Chattanooga
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Iowa
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Michigan
Furman 7:00 PM
Minnesota
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Grambling St 7:00 PM
TCU
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Penn 7:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Drake
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
UMKC
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
California
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
LSU
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Marquette
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Oregon
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Providence
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:30 PM
Houston
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Washington
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
UMass Lowell 14 1st Half 10:18
Holy Cross 20
Temple 3 1st Half 18:13
Villanova 5
Georgia Southern 11:00 AM
Southern U
Xavier 11:00 AM
Kennesaw St
Eastern Michigan 11:00 AM
Michigan
Brescia 12:00 PM
Marshall
(22) West Virginia 1:00 PM
Ohio State
UMBC 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Cornell 1:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Georgetown
New Hampshire 1:00 PM
Northeastern
Eastern Washington 1:30 PM
Florida
Rice 2:00 PM
Texas Southern
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(7) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
UMKC
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(15) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Longwood
Kansas 6:05 PM
Creighton
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Missouri
Hampton 7:00 PM
(25) DePaul
Florida State 7:00 PM
Tulane
Murray State 7:00 PM
Illinois
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close