GROWING UP IN A MINNESOTA HUNTING FAMILY, Abbey Nelson was a natural fit for the Minnesota High School Clay Target League, joining the Crosslake Community High School team last year before moving to the Pequot Lakes High School team for the 2017–18 season. A special needs student, Nelson has thrived on the opportunity the League has provided. Her father, Chad Nelson, who helps coach at Crosslake, said every shooting day is a great day for Nelson, who lights up after a solid round.

The all-students-welcome aspect of the sport has opened doors for youth who might not have opportunities in other sports and activities, he said. Plus, he’s found that special needs students in particular are “dyed-in-the-wool rule followers” who excel in the structured environment of a trap team.

“It’s really cool seeing the ‘aha’ moments and the joy,” he said. “When they shoot well, that’s a huge deal for these kids.”

PullUSA: How did you get involved in shooting sports? Why?

Abbey Nelson: By watching family and friends enjoy the shooting sports. My little brother was joining the team as well and my dad and mom thought it would be good for me to try it. I’m glad I tried because I really like it! Hunting is a family tradition in our home.

PullUSA: Why did you join your state’s High School Clay Target League?

Nelson: Because I wanted to be involved in other sports I can compete in other than the Special Olympics.

PullUSA: What do you like most about being a team member and athlete in the Clay Target League?

Nelson: Hanging out with my team, going to different places to shoot and improving my score. Plus I have made some great friendships on the team!

PullUSA: What activities have you taken part in outside the League?

Nelson: I go to church, Special Olympics, basketball, track, Minnesota Wild Special Hockey and bowling. I also like to hunt and fish with my family.

PullUSA: Do you have any shooting tips or advice for other members?

Nelson: Be safe and have fun and don’t worry about your score.