Four Trojan shooters heading to National Clay Target Championship in Michigan

By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

The USA Clay Target High School League, of which the Minnesota Clay Target League is a member, will host its first-ever National Championship Tournament this year. 

The new event takes place July 12-15 at the Michigan Trapshooting Association’s (MTA) Homegrounds in Mason, Mich. Four Rushford-Peterson trap shooters will make their way to Michigan to take part in the inaugural event, including Quentin Douglas, Breena Pehler, Brady Gile, and Ben Maynard. 

“The Homegrounds is one of the biggest trap-shooting ranges in the country,” said R-P trap coach Colby Lind. “It has 44 separate trap houses all in a line and has to be a really neat place to compete. I’ve never been there but I understand it’s quite the place to see.

“There are two rounds to the competition,” Lind said. “There’s a qualifying round and a championship round. All of the kids at the tournament had to meet a certain average score for the season in order to be able to register for the event. They did different drafts of registrations. The first group had to meet a certain season average score, such as 23 birds (out of 25). When those registrations were complete, they lowered the qualifying score a little so more kids could register, and then lowered the required score for the third draft of kids to complete the list entrants.”

All participants will start out in the qualifying round, then a certain percentage of the highest scores will move on to the championship round. The qualifying round for the Trojan shooters is on July 14, with the championship round to follow on Sunday for qualifiers. Lind said competition at the national tournament will be an endurance test for the R-P kids.

“They do four rounds of 25 shots each during the qualifying round, totaling 100 shots, and then do the same thing for the championship round, which is another 100 shots,” Lind said. “That will get to be a long day or two. The good thing is the four kids going have been practicing since we were in Alexandria (for the MN Clay Target League Tournament) a couple times a week, shooting at both the home range in Rushford as well as up in Winona. 

“What they’ve been trying to do is shoot those 100-shot rounds back-to-back, in order to try and build that stamina and get that feel of what it’s going to be like,” Lind said.  “It’ll be a challenge, but everyone’s in the same boat up there. No doubt that it’ll make them better shooters.”

Lind won’t be able to make the trip with the kids as summer is a really busy time with FFA and county fair activities, but he’s supporting the kids in every way possible. He said R-P has only been competing in trap shooting for a handful of seasons but it’s pretty impressive to be sending kids to a national tournament.

“What’s really neat to me is how much some of these kids have improved since they started shooting trap,” Lind recalled. “For example, Ben Maynard and Quentin Douglas are two graduated seniors who are heading off to nationals. Boy, do I remember their first years of competition. They had some struggles like everyone else and obviously got better. They worked hard and it’s fun to see that.”