Clay Target League Hit the Target at Nationals


Picture submitted by Sandy Peterson

Junior Abby Peterson, and Alumni Justin Kimmes and Ethan Peterson standing in front of the National Clay Target League Championship banner on July 9-16, 2022 at Cardinal Shooting Centre, Marengo, Ohio.

By Marcy L Price, Reporter

Last year’s spring Clay Target League team made it to nationals on Saturday July 9, 2022 at the Cardinal Shooting Centre in Marengo, OH.

Junior Abby Peterson, and Alumni Justin Kimmes and Ethan Peterson had “hit the target” at Nationals. On the way to their achievement, state was their first step.

Starting on Saturday, June 11, 2022, State was held in Rome, WI. With this, Abby Peterson, Justin Kimmes, and Ethan Peterson had started their mission to make it to Nationals.

Clay Target League coach Justin Aulie includes the steps that everyone takes to make it to state and nationals.

Aluie mentioned that anyone is eligible if they want to go to state and nationals. Aulie had explained that once you make it to State, you break up into varsity, junior varsity, and novice. These three teams are chosen upon your gun type and your shooting accuracy. That way 16 year olds aren’t competing with 25 year olds.

Abby, a club member for the Clay Target League, explained how she signed up, and practiced to get “good numbers” in order to make it to nationals. She also explains why it is important to her to have accomplished this.

She also stated that at nationals you’re competing against other groups of the best high school shooters in the country.

“I’m proud of every student who makes it, but in State you get to choose if you want to go or not,” Aulie said.

Reynolds also expects the best from his shooters, showing his praise for them even if they didn’t do their very best. He also explained how the competition applies its rules, how one mistake could mess up the whole run.

Basically, you have to have the longest consecutive shooting, where you don’t miss any clay targets.

Justin Kimmes, a senior last year in Clay Target League and Trap Club, went to nationals last year and shot 50 straight. He was disappointed about missing three shots, and he got a score of 97/100. He was one of their highest scorers. Aulie explains how practices and coaching is involved during them.

“There are six coaches, and if they needed help we would approach them to talk about position stance, the guns fit right, their follow through,” Aulie said.

He also explains that range safety deals with ammunition malfunction, and coaching involves more with technique.

Aulie includes when and where practices are conducted, saying he follows the standards and the practices are only held when the gun range is open. He also says that because it is a club, you don’t need to devote too much time to it.

“They usually practice once a week on Mondays,” Aulie said.

Clay Target may not seem well known throughout the United States, but by giving it more recognition as a school sport rather than a club, it may have the potential to sprout newfound hobbies amongst other students in the world. Even at the high school level.

“Shooting trap, you have five people in a group, switching stations to call birds. Similar but different from skeet, or boarding clays. Trap is more where birds are moving away from you at different angles,” Aulie said.

Aulie also stated that fall season started September 19 and ended October 24, He also included that fall is a six-week season. While spring season is an eight-week season. 

“I’m happy when there’s improvement. I get to go around and talk with my friends and meet other people in the club and hang out together. It’s just generally a fun atmosphere,” Abby said.

The Clay Target League is also known to have a great reputation for no mishaps. Reynolds explains how this reputation has held the gun range as one of the safest ones around the Northland.

He also explains that the only possibility of getting hurt at the gun range is if your technique is wrong, and you don’t hold the gun right. That could also bring on the possibility of a kick-back. 

When you fire a gun the force creates a kick-back, and if you don’t brace and hold the gun correctly, you could get a bruise, or possibly worse.

Reynolds also boasted about the fall league season being able to make a great accomplishment this early in the year.

“We also reached fifty rounds shot, and we’re already first in the conference, by one point,” Reynolds said.

Aulie explains what you would need to join the Clay Target League club, saying you would need to pass the Wisconsin hunter safety, get a field tag, or a basic hunter/shooter safety.

He also includes that practices are at the Superior Trap Club range, just before Pattison Park on highway thirty-five.