By Pat Garry, Staff Writer
The MSHSCTL (Minnesota State High School Clay Target League) is hugely successful, thanks to all of the hard work and dedication from trap clubs, coaches, volunteers, and parents. Primarily the coaches are all volunteers, and there is no wage paid for what they do. The Kimball Rod and Gun Club remains one of the top-rated trap-shooting clubs in the area. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of this sport is that anyone, of any age, gender, ability, or disability, can participate. The coaches concentrate heavily on teaching the young athletes how to load the trap machines, keep score, clean up, etc.
Last year, about 175 youth shooters participated in the Kimball High School Trap Tournament. Participating schools were ROCORI, Annandale, Eden Valley-Watkins, Dassel Cokato, Hutchinson, Kimball, and Litchfield. This year’s Trap Tournament is scheduled for June 9 (stay tuned for more information). One of the largest shooting events in the world, the Alexandria Tournament, commences on June 10 and culminates on June 18. “The following week is State competition. We hope Jack Knaus will be a repeat State entrant. In his seventh grade year, Jack won the high school State Championship for individuals. Good luck to all the participants this year!” exclaimed Coach Rob Kuechle. The first week of practice is slated for Sunday, March 31; and continues every Sunday thereafter, at 4:30 p.m. “Firearm safety is the number one priority, and I am proud to say that our people are the safest people on the range. We tell them that there is no place for negative criticism among peers,” said Coach Kuechle. The public is highly encouraged to visit the club on a Sunday evening and watch the athletes shoot.
This year marks the fifth season as an organized high school trap league at Eden Valley-Watkins and Litchfield. “We graduated four shooters last year, but there were several kids who wanted to join the team. Everyone involved is looking forward to another exciting year,” Coach Chad Kuechle said. EV-W/L will compete on Sunday afternoon’s at the Eden Valley Sportsmen’s Trap Range. The first practice is March 31, and the rough winter is providing a few tests. The fun of moving snow in order to shoot is one of those challenges. “We again are limiting the squad to 25 shooters, since that is the capacity of our current range,” said Coach Kuechle. However, the Eden Valley Sportsman’s Club recently announced that they have purchased property to expand the shooting facility. “We have all the permits to start dirt-work in early spring,” added Kuechle.