The fastest-growing high school sport in America got a bit bigger in 2016, as the USA High School Clay Target League (USAHSCTL) added nine new states from all parts of the country—New York, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Michigan, South Dakota, Illinois and New Mexico. Upon completion of the spring league, all student athletes were invited to participate in individual and team competitions at 2016 State Tournaments in each state. The events were held in June.
The addition of the nine states brings the total number of yearly participants to more than 16,000, making it the largest high-school based clay target shooting program in the world.
Once again, representatives from the USAHSCTL will attend the 2016 National Athletic Directors Conference this year. The event, along with the NIAAA Annual Meetings, will be held Dec. 9-14, 2016 at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Attention and interest in the USAHSCTL has increased rapidly over recent years as school athletic directors realize the importance of alternative sports. Activities like shooting sports have proven very popular with students that normally don’t participate in school extracurriculars. Schools that add activities like the USAHSCTL see increases in interest, classroom participation and higher grades.
A friendly competition between law enforcement and some Michigan clay target athletes was held in early July. The event was between the Dexter High School Trap Team and the Manchester post of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. Both students and deputies shot rounds of trap and then deputies paired up with students for a buddy shoot.
“The two sides had embroidered patches made to commemorate the event, and exchanged patches,” said event organizer Dana Farrell. “It was a big success.”
The Pequot Lakes team lined up behind Bob Heales’ 1957 fire truck on the 4th of July to lead the small Minnesota town’s annual Independence Day Parade. The team had a strong showing at both the league’s Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria and then at the Minnesota State High School League’s State Tournament on June 25.
The community applauded the team’s success in reaching the State Tournament, one of only 38 teams to advance out of 268.
“The reaction of the crowd was awesome,” said Pequot Lakes Assistant Coach Nikki Shoutz. “There was a lot of cheering and clapping.”
State grant programs are a great way to improve your club and support more student athletes. And now, many states have shooting range grant programs in place that may help new and existing ranges expand or develop.
Each state has different rules and requirements, so each club should pay close attention to the terms and budget accordingly. Matching Funds Grants require your club to raise enough money to pay for at least half of the work, while Reimbursement Grants repay a certain percentage back to the club after the work has been completed.
Check with your local Department of Natural Resources or Game and Fish Departments to learn about any grant opportunities in your state.
Belleville-Henderson got a chance to show off the League as a special guest exhibitor in August. The Clayton Rotary Club invited the Belleville-Henderson Central School Trap Shooting Team to be its special guest among the more than 60 exhibitors at the Rotary Club’s August show in Clayton, New York.
Belleville-Henderson was the first team to join the New York State High School Clay Target League and took second at the 2016 State Tournament at Sackets Harbor in June.
“The Belleville-Henderson Central School Trap Shooting Team will bring a fresh excitement to our 2016 show with a focus on encouraging youth and families to enjoy shooting and outdoor sports,” Clayton Rotary Club President Tony Pisarski said prior to the event.