Humboldt sets its sights on trapshooting club


Local News

August 14, 2018 - 11:16 AM

The Humboldt school district is considering forming a local trapshooting club that would be open to students in grades six through 12.
In line with most other Kansas school districts that support a shooting team, USD 258 would not fund any aspect of the club and would not host club-related events but would instead extend its support by allowing the team to use the school’s name.
The Kansas State High School Clay Target League, which organizes and oversees the competition season, requires that each participating team garner the official backing of their local board of education.
According to the Target League’s website, only two southeast Kansas districts, Erie and St. Paul, currently support shooting clubs.
Consistent with the policies and procedures set down by the USA High School Clay Target League — the non-profit corporation that supervises the Kansas chapter — student athletes are responsible for supplying their own shotguns, ammunition, and eye and hearing protection. According to the Target League, the average seasonal cost per athlete hovers between $200 and $300 (ammo, targets, league fees). This does not include the cost of the shotgun.
Eligible team members will have completed a league-approved firearm safety certification program —  either a state-approved hunter education program or the League’s SAFE Certification program (an online course combined with on-the-ground range certification) — and will have met the basic eligibility requirements of the participating school district. Team coaches will also have to obtain a league-approved safety certificate.
To field a team a school must secure the commitment of at least five student athletes and must adhere to a one-coach-per-10-students ratio throughout the season. All league competitions take place at licensed shooting ranges, where events consist of two 25-target rounds in which five athletes occupy a ring of arranged stations on the trap field.
League rules mandate that athletes’ shotguns are to be carried unloaded at all points when the student is not engaged in direct competition. According to the Target League, trapshooting is “the safest sport in high school.” Since its inception in 2001, the organization has never received a report of a single injury.
Superintendent of Schools Kay Lewis, who briefed the board on the Target League’s policies and procedures, reminded those in attendance that the policy prohibiting guns on school property is still very much in effect. In the event that a target athlete forgets her shotgun in the back of her truck during the course of a school day, for instance, that student would be subject to the mandatory 180-day suspension triggered by the district’s weapons violation policy.
As for funding, board president Kevin Heisler reminded his colleagues that, although the district is prohibited from financing a trapshooting team, “there are all sorts of avenues for obtaining money from outside sources.” He’s been in touch with representatives from the National Wild Turkey Federation, for example, who appear inclined to provide financial support to a burgeoning Humboldt trapshooting squad, assuming the new club meets NWTF’s eligibility requirements. Heisler mentioned that certain gun companies would likely also provide donations.
“Plus, the [National Rifle Association] could provide [grant money] to our team,” said Josh Wrestler, who, as a lifelong target shooter himself, seems poised to be Humboldt’s first trapshooting coach should the board approve the proposal to adopt a team. Wrestler mentioned, too, that certain arms manufacturers might be willing to donate shotguns to a new team. “That’s going to be the most expensive part,” he continued. “It’s $700 or $800 for a decent trap gun.” He pointed to the example of Remington Arms, which recently donated 10 shotguns to a shooting club in the Kansas City area.
“Remember, too, that these kids will now be eligible for scholarships,” said Heisler, naming Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University as schools with relevant trapshooting teams. “You’re talking about the possibility of scholarships for students that may not be able to get a scholarship in other things. It’s another opportunity for these kids.”
The spring season begins in April and runs for nine weeks, culminating in the state tournament in June. To qualify for the coming season, USD 258 is required to be enrolled in the League by March 1. The sport is not currently sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
The USD 258 board of education will revisit the topic at its next meeting on September 10.


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