Local youth shooters impress

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WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Gun Club’s Youth Trap and Skeet Team held its first ever Youth Trap Shoot at Walla Walla Gun Club this past April 19, and by any measure, the shoot was a great success.

Teams and individuals from Spokane, Othello, Hermiston, Colfax and Moscow, Idaho were in attendance, with some pretty good examples of the trap shooting art on display.

The athletes shot a 125-target program consisting of 50 16-yard singles targets, 25 22-yard handicap targets, and 25 pair doubles targets, so it was a well-rounded program that tested the shooting prowess of all participants. In the end, Walla Walla’s fledgling Youth Trap and Skeet Team did very well for their first time out, and showed a good deal of polish for a team in its first year.

Tenth grader Colton Call from Spokane was the winner of the high school 16-yard singles event, carding a very nice 48x50, while Walla Walla’s own Adam Skaarup was runner-up with a mark of 46x50. In the middle school division, seventh grader Rion Post of Hermiston got himself into a shoot-off with eighth grader Bryon Baca of Spokane, as both finished with a score of 47x50. Post won the shoot-off, claiming the winner’s prize, while Baca was more than pleased with runner-up honors.

In the high school doubles competition, Colton Call and Adam Skaarup faced off in their own shoot-off, each initially shooting 42x50. This time, it was Skaarup who finished first, while Call settled for the runner-up trophy.

Middle school doubles honors went to Rion Post with a 44x50, and runner-up again went to Bryon Baca with a very fine 39x50.

The team honors went to Spokane’s Varsity Team 2, shooting a very nice 468x625. Spokane’s Team 1 came in right behind with 453x625.

Of course, youth shooting is about a lot more than just getting your name in the paper, and shoot results seldom tell the whole tale, either. Walla Walla Gun Club is very proud of its youth shooters, and our youth shooting program, not because we look forward to winning tournaments, but because we try very hard to help our young people be winners at the game of life, arguably a more arduous but worthwhile process.

This philosophy is explained very well in the Scholastic Clay Target Program’s Handbook, which can be found in .pdf form on Walla Walla Gun Club’s website (see wallawallagunclub.com/SCTP.html).

SCTP is profoundly dedicated to the notion that competition is not about winning at all, but rather about continual improvement of one’s mastery of the fundamentals of shooting, and about honoring the game, the team, your opponents and yourself. In this sense, shooting is used as a blueprint, even perhaps a metaphor, for how young people (and everyone) should grow, and learn to live their lives in a well-planned and honorable way.

It is that philosophy that convinced our club to affiliate with SCTP, and which has guided the coaching and tournament preparation of the 14 young people who today comprise our Youth Shooting Team.

We saw it as a refreshing change from the win-at-any-cost attitude some sports and teams have. It also celebrates effort as the supreme accomplishment — not so much how well you shoot, but how well you keep trying to improve. We have some great shooters, we have some not-so-great ones, and we have a lot of shooters in the middle. But what we don’t have is anybody who doesn’t come out to the range and give 100% every time, and who won’t give you a big smile when they shoot better today than they did yesterday.

The Youth Team has its final test of the year May 3-4 in Ravensdale, WA, for the SCTP Washington State Shoot. The team will be decked out in their brand new polo shirts courtesy of Cabela’s in Sydney, Nebraska, replete with the team logo on their backs so spectators will know immediately who’s at the shooting line.

Meanwhile, if you have a middle school or high school student who is interested in participating in WW Gun Club’s Youth Shooting Team for next year, please send an email to sctp@wallawallagunclub.com and let us know of your interest. We will put your child’s name on our list to contact over the summer.

Generally speaking, the team shoots from mid-September to mid-May, with practices on Sundays from 1-3 pm September through November, and February through the end of the year.

The cost to become a member of the team is $50, which also buys your child a membership in the Walla Walla Gun Club. Shells and clay targets are provided by the Club, so the cost is minimal.

By the end of the year, each athlete will have consumed over $350 worth of ammunition provided absolutely free though the effort of Pheasants Forever and WW Gun Club’s fundraising activities, and another $150 worth of clay targets, again provided absolutely free.

There are travel expenses necessary to pay when tournament season rolls around in April, but there is also opportunity provided for each athlete to work off his or her tournament expenses at the Gun Club.

As a parent, you will also want to know that SCTP provides full coverage liability insurance for all club related activities, and your child will be coached by four very dedicated and experienced shooting coaches, who work for nothing more than a kind word once in a while, which further keeps the cost down.

Let us know if this program would benefit your son or daughter.

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