The Chatfield Community Education program has been offering a six-week trap shooting course for youth in grades seven through 12 this summer. The students, who must first complete a gun safety course, meet at the Chatfield Fish and Game Club on Thursday evenings.
“This summer’s course is intended to generate interest and knowledge about the sport in hopes of having enough participants for a team next spring,” said Chatfield Superintendent Ed Harris. “(This is) laying the groundwork for a team from Chatfield High School to join the spring Minnesota High School Clay Trap Shooting League (MHSCTSL) tournament in 2015.”
Harris noted the course is the first of its kind in Chatfield.
“This summer course was built to resemble the spring Minnesota league so coaches and kids know what to expect next year,” he added. “High school trap shooting is the fastest-growing high school sport in the state of Minnesota.”
In fact, there are 185 teams statewide and over 6,500 students shooting trap competitively – boys and girls alike.
“Gender and physical ability does not matter, which is a rarity in today’s world,” Harris said. “It is a great combination of a team and individual sport. Students learn to respect firearms, handle them safely, understand the positive aspects of our sporting culture, enjoy competition in a healthy way, and enjoy the satisfaction of learning a lifetime activity that crosses all traditional boundaries.”
Mike Lisowski coaches the 18 enrolled students, with assistance from other Fish and Game Club members, including Al Amundson, Dave Dudek, Trent Walter and Quint Lohse.
He cited, “This is the first year and it’s going real well. Because it’s the first year, a lot of the shooters have never done this before, so we’re starting at ground zero, but it will be a good starting point for next year, because we hope to have a team next year.”
Lisowski said the youngest participant this year is 12 years old. He explained that shooters have to have a hunter’s safety certificate, which they can’t get until they’re about 12 years old.
“The things they’re learning vary by their level of experience – it’s largely foot positioning, starting position of the gun, the fundamentals of shotgun shooting – and it will help them in hunting as well,” he said. “This is great practice.”
The community education class provides the opportunity for the students to develop a good team base.
“Being that they’re newcomers to the sport, our expectations are set accordingly,” Lisowski added. “We’ve got a good base – they’ve got a lot of potential, and it’s just a matter of practice. They’ve got to learn the fundamentals and work on ingraining them.”
The coach expressed his appreciation to the Chatfield school district for its assistance in making the summer trap shooting program a possibility. “Mr. Harris has been very helpful, along with LuAnn Klevan,” he concluded. “They’ve done a lot of the administrative work and promotion and been a great help in getting this started.”