By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Members of the EKU Trap and Skeet Club grabbed second place in their division at the Scholastic Clay Target Program competition Tuesday at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area in Berea.
More than 200 young shooters, mostly from Kentucky, participated in the event with divisions ranging from fifth grade through college.
By the end of the day, each competitor had fired 200 shots 16 feet away from the trap houses, which propel orange clay pigeons at 40 miles per hour.
The trap release is voice-activated, with a three-second delay after the shooter says “pull.”
Competitors shot five rounds each before rotating to a new position on the line so that they could perfect their shooting from every angle, said Liz Burton, the team’s coach. Burton also is a certified instructor for the local 4-H program.
After firing 100 rounds, competitors are required to take a two-hour break before resuming the competition. A 20-gauge or 12-gauge shotgun must be used to destroy a clay pigeon. Still, by day’s end, some of the youngest shooters can be “pretty sore,” Burton said.
But this is a sport for almost every age and ability, she said.
One member of the EKU team, Taylor Young, is considered legally blind. However, he compensates for this disability by staying focused as the pigeon comes out of the trap house, Burton said.
When the pigeon reaches the blue sky, Young cannot see it at all, so he has learned to be a quick shot while the pigeon is still in the treeline in the moments after it is propelled from the trap house, she said.
The SCTP program started in 2001 and has grown ever since, said Dennis Menning, the program’s state youth director. SCTP was joined two years ago by the Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship program, sponsored by the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
Both SCTP and AIM provide youth with scholarship opportunities.
By participating in the competition yesterday, teams had the potential to earn money through the MidwayUSA Foundation. Although the money may not be used to purchase firearms, teams can use it to help pay for ammunition, entry fees, travel, uniforms, scholarships and personnel costs.
The team will compete in the National SCTP competition July 14-20 in Sparta, Ill.