THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, there are hundreds of high schools with clay target teams. When I started, there were maybe a hundred people or so at the state trap shoot. Now there are thousands. Where teams used to be at local gun clubs, they are now in high schools. Where this was a male-dominated sport, now there are lots of females finding success, too. The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Trap Shooting Championship is held annually in Alexandria, Minnesota, where I work as a career counselor for the Minnesota Army National Guard.

In years past, I have been on teams that competed in four national competitions and two championships. This is not a typical sport. These young people have to go above and beyond to have respect for what they’re doing. In dealing with firearms, there is a lot of responsibility involved. Trap shooting can become a lifelong sport, inspiring a passion for outdoor activities while teaching valuable lessons along the way. From simple concepts like how to communicate, to respect, courage, and responsibility—lessons parallel to what one would learn in the Army. The Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship is absolutely one of, if not the best, events we attend.