Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club

FOUNDED: 1954

TRAP FIELDS: 4

HOME TEAM: LAPEL HIGH SCHOOL

By Dave Pond

LOCATED ABOUT 45 MINUTES NORTHEAST OF INDIANAPOLIS, the community-minded town of Markleville, Indiana, is home to Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club.

Founded in 1954, the club today boasts a membership roster of more than 1,300 member families across multiple disciplines—and plays host to a wealth of events and educational programs that draw visitors from across The Hoosier State.

The club offers four new fields for trap, in addition to rifle and pistol ranges, along with 5,000 feet of trails for archery. But above all, it’s the opportunity to share their passion with the next generation that fuels today’s FCVCC leaders.

“The chance to introduce youth to the outdoor shooting sports is beyond value,” said club president Steve Bemish. “These disciplines are wholesome, confidence-building activities that offer great skills students will use for the rest of their lives. And, they will learn the value of returning the favor to future generations of youth who will also need instruction.”

HERE COMES THE LEAGUE

Over the past couple years, the Indiana State High School Clay

Target League has grown considerably, and now boasts 15 teams across the state. The Lapel High School Trap Team is proud to call Fall Creek Valley home.

“We started two years ago, and we now have 19 kids from several different high schools and surrounding counties,” said Damon Fulp, who coaches the Lapel program with John Beeman. “Our team has been very successful—in our two years of operation, we took our division every time, except for last spring due to COVID-19, when Lapel didn’t want kids participating in sports for safety reasons.”

The team boasts several young sharpshooters with strong bloodlines—after all, trap is a family sport. The Lapel roster includes Fulp’s 17-year-old daughter Ally—who has earned Indiana top female shooter honors twice—and Ethan Beeman, the state’s top male shooter.

The beauty of the League, however, is that it’s accessible to everyone.

“We have a few kids who have never been involved in any sport at the school or a club until the Clay Target League,” said Fulp, who serves as FCVCC’s youth shooting sports coordinator. “Almost anybody can participate in this sport, which makes it more accessible than most.

“The smile on our kids’ faces when they go up to get their trophy or medals makes it all worth it. Even when we don’t win, seeing the kids interact with other teams and cheer on their competitors when they get their trophies makes it all worthwhile.”

THE FUTURE IS NOW

The Clay Target League is a great way to introduce kids to youth shooting sports, which will prove beneficial long beyond high school graduation. And because it’s sanctioned as a sport at the high school level, students can earn credits and athletic letters. Many of Lapel’s seniors, like Ally Fulp, are planning to compete at the college level.

“Young people are very busy in high school, but it’s nothing like when they enter the work and family environment,” Bemish said. “If they learn not only to work hard but to play hard too, it will serve them all their lives.

“Outdoor sports provide relief from stress and pressures of later life, and if they continue to play, they will be more capable and healthier citizens who will patronize the sporting goods industry.”

As youth shooting sports continue to gain popularity both at FCVCC and across the state of Indiana, Fulp, Bemish, and the rest of the club’s veteran leaders stand ready to help the next generation learn and love the sport.

“Reach deep inside yourself and bring up the courage to try something you know nothing about,” Bemish said. “You will be thrilled at the self-confidence and complete joy of mastering a new skill and a discipline you never knew existed.”

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