Friends of the NRA banquet will help local trap teams

By : 
Jordan Gerard

The Spring Grove Trap Team’s season is well underway and they expect to receive financial help from Friends of the NRA (National Rifle Association) banquet on Saturday, Oct. 13, at MaCal Grove Golf Course in Caledonia, starting at 5 p.m.

This is the second fundraiser held on behalf of the FNRA. Last year, the Minnesota chapter of FNRA gave almost $15,000 in shells and shotguns to area shooting teams including Spring Grove, Caledonia, Houston County 4-H and Winona High School.

Individual tickets are $40, while table packages range from $800 to $5,000 with gifts, raffle tickets and gun prizes.

For tickets, go online to friendsofnra.org/events or stop into Wiebke Fur Company in Eitzen to purchase.

Fall is the official trap season; however, it does not have a post season, coach Kaare Sanness said. This year is the team’s largest turnout with 18 kids signed up. 

Spring Grove leads the 1A Conference 7 with 1,012 points during week one. Mayo High School trails at 911, and Kingsland in third at 754 points. Fans can keep track of standings at www.mnclaytarget.com.

Those who would like to watch the trap team in action can do so at their practices every week on Thursdays and Sundays at Sportsmans Park in Mabel.

From Spring Grove, travel west on Highway 44; turn right on County Road 33 and follow it until it turns into County Road 8 and then turns into County Road 29. The park is on the left side of the road before crossing the bridge.

Shooting matches are not like typical sporting events. Teams stay on their home turf to compete and record and submit the scores. The team will travel about two or three times in the spring to special meets or play-off meets.

Coach Corey Anderson said people should bring their own lawn chair if they want to watch the team. The best place to sit is a fair distance behind the shooters and to stay off the field

Head Coach Kaare Sanness said spectators should be respectful and quiet at the meets, as watching the event is more similar to watching a golf meet than a football game. 

It takes about an hour for the team to shoot five rounds in five different places on the field.

“It’s mainly mental. About 99 percent of the sport is mental focus,” Sanness said. “It’s the key to success. The more you do it, the better you get.”

Safety is the team’s number one rule, Anderson said. The actions on the guns are open and unloaded until the team member is in place and ready to shoot.

“They cannot close the action and load ammunition into the chamber until it’s their turn to shoot,” he said. “Barrels are always pointed down and the guns are in the rack until the kids shoot.”

Sanness said the team has never had any mishap that jeopardized the team’s safety. The first practice of the year is always a safety talk.

“The way we do things almost guarantees safety,” he said. “There’s never a live round in the gun until they’re ready to shoot.”

All coaches are on the lookout for safety issues at practices and competitions, Sanness added.

The largest gauge shotgun team members can use is a 12 gauge. Some members start out with a 20 gauge and then move to a 12 gauge, which has more BBs in the ammunition and can mean a greater chance of hitting the clay pigeon.

Anderson said many of the members already have knowledge about guns before they join the league. Many of them hunt or have grown up with parents who own guns or hunt.

“Even kids who don’t know guns well end up shooting well,” he said. “We teach them not to get discouraged.”

Sanness added the kids all go through slumps during the season when their scores are down.

“We tell them to fight through it and hunker down. That’s the key,” he said. “It’s just like anything else in life. If you want to be good, you focus and dedicate yourself.”

Questions about the trap team or banquet can be directed to Sanness at sansix@springgrove.coop or Don Hagen at Donald.hagen@sbdinc.com.