One of Iowa’s fastest growing team sports concluded its fifth season June 2, when more than 900 athletes matched skills in the High School State Trap Championships in Cedar Falls.
The number of boys and girls participating in shooting sports increased 28 percent in 2012 versus 2011, with nearly 1,800 shooters and 300 volunteer coaches registered with the DNR.
The program has experienced exponential growth every year since its inception with no signs of slowing down, said Ben Berka, shooting sports coordinator for the DNR.
“School officials tell me that many of the student-athletes out for clay target shooting are not out for other, traditional sports. The same academic standards and good conduct policies are applied to the shooting program which strengthens the entire student body,” Berka said.
Of the 71 shooting teams registered with the DNR, most are affiliated with their school as a club program, many earning varsity letters for clay target shooting achievements.
“Volunteer coaches are the backbone of this program and the main reason the program has been so successful,” Berka said.
Teams competed in 241 sanctioned matches, fired upon 821,600 targets in competition and nearly 2 million targets in practice.
Skeet and sporting clays state SCTP championships were held May 19-20 at the New Pioneer Clay Target Center, with teams from Oskaloosa, Des Moines and Pella taking top honors.
The SCTP state trap championship was June 1 in Cedar Falls with teams from Pella, Fort Madison, Spirit Lake/Okoboji area, Cedar Rapids Prairie, and Des Moines area taking top honors.
The high school trap championships closed out the season with a new state team record being set by 1st Place team, Mason City firing a 479 out of 500 targets. Complete results can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/ShootingSports/ClayTargetProgramSCTP/SCTPEventsResults.aspx
Many of these teams will travel to the SCTP national tournament in Sparta, Ill., in July.
Iowa corporate program sponsors for 2012 include Midway USA, Scholastic Shooting Trust, Brownells, Manning’s Truck Brokerage, Pella Security Products, Inc., Pheasants Forever – Iowa State Council, Whitetails Unlimited, New Pioneer Clay Target Center, Chantland MHS, and Pheasants Forever – Scott County Chapter.
Top sponsoring Midway USA provided $2,000 to each team participating in a state championship event to the school’s Scholastic Shooting Trust (SST) endowment account. Additionally, teams placing first to fifth in the High School Trap and in the High All Around (combined trap, skeet and sporting clays), event earned additional funding for their school’s trust account. The Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program, Inc. also donates one cent per sanctioned competition target to school’s SST accounts through their Target Incentive Program (http://www.iowasctp.org/downloads/tipbrochure.pdf). For more information on the Midway USA Scholastic Shooting Trust program, or to donate to your local school, go to www.scholasticshootingtrust.org.
Most new programs get their start with coaches attending the DNR Basic Shotgun Coach Certification program – a one day, hands-on course that teaches fundamental shotgun coaching skills and educates new coaches about the program. Additional coach trainings will be conducted in the fall of this year and those interested can go to: www.iowadnr.gov/training for more information and to register. New school affiliated programs are also encouraged to apply for grant funding through the Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program, Inc. where up to $10,000 per school is available over a two year period (www.iowasctp.org).
For more information about the Iowa High School and Scholastic Clay Target Program contact Ben Berka, Iowa DNR Shooting Sports Coordinator at 515-281-0140 or Ben.Berka@dnr.iowa.gov