Team members shoot for clay, skeet & trap success

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Brett Kemper

Aiming down the field, sophomore Brett Kemper shoots at his targets. Students started their season in November and continued into the spring semester. “We generally have 10 to 15 kids competing in each event,” Butts said. “We also have some specialty events coming that are international competitions, which just means in the Olympic shooting style.”

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Standing in the middle of an open field, sophomore Josh Turner shoots at the clays in the sky. The state meet was held during June 17-20. “The state shoot was fun,” Turner said. “I shot my first perfect game in trap.” (Photo by Brett Kemper)

Gathering on the dark green grass, under the blue sky, the skeet shooting team prepare for another day of competition.

This team, which includes both junior high and high school students, works with sponsor and social studies teacher Carrie Butts from mid-fall and into the spring semester.

“Our season started in November,” Butts said. “We compete in locations in Fort Worth, and we did two events that Prosper hosted on Feb. 21. We have one varsity athlete, Mason Sanlin. He competes a lot on his own. We have about 20 kids that compete on junior varsity and about four to five middle school kids.”

Prosper hosted a shooting meet during the ice storm that was originally scheduled on Feb. 20, and as a result, organizers moved the meet to Feb. 21.

“We had over 160 kids compete in one event and 140 in a second,” Butts said. “Most of these events have two different competitions. You shoot in the morning and kind of in the afternoon. We compete in Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays.”

Looking into the sky, sophomore Brett Kemper and sophomore Josh Turner watch as competitors shoots sporting clays.  “It went well,” Kemper said. “I shot well and I got invited to the junior olympic team.” (Photo by Brett Kemper)

Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays all require a variety of skills.

“Skeet is when there are two different houses, and each one throws a clay at the same time. You have to hit either the upper house first or the lower house first,” Butts said. “If you know the patterns you can do that anywhere you go for skeet because they’re going to throw the same way. In trap you have five stations. There’s a house out in front of you, and the clays are thrown randomly at different speeds. It’s more like hunting on that end. Sporting clays is like golf. You go around a course in a golf cart, and each station throws differently. They even have some that roll across the ground that they call rabbits.”

While trap, skeet, and sporting clays are the most common sections to compete in, those aren’t the only sections available.

“We generally have 10 to 15 kids competing in each event,” Butts said. “We also have some specialty events coming that are international competitions, which just means in the Olympic shooting style.”

At the Prosper-hosted meet, teams came from Jesuit, Allen, Waxahachie, Alto, Keller and two other smaller Christian private schools.

It was our fundraiser shoot, so we made some money off of that, so that’s good. We all did pretty well. We didn’t win anything, but we got our name out there, so a lot of people know that we’re here now.”

— Brett Kemper

Sophomore Brett Kemper started shooting competitively last year when he joined the group.

“I joined the shooting team because I’ve been shooting since I was a kid,” Kemper said. “I just wanted to have an excuse to shoot more, so this was the best opportunity I had to do it. I saw a flyer posted in one of my history classes and joined the google classroom and went from there.”

Kemper was given an opportunity at the Prosper meet to shoot on a Junior Olympic team.

“I usually shoot skeet and trap. I shot a new event that I had never shot before called Bunker trap, which is a variation of regular trap,” Kemper said. “I’ve never done it before, so I just went up there and shot.”

The shooters compete in four rounds. During each round, they are given 25 different targets.

“It was a side game,” Kemper said. “I went up there, and I shot 19 out of 25 for the first time that I’ve ever shot it, and I was at the top of the leader board that they had written down. The coach invited me to shoot for the Junior Olympic team and to start training for that.”

One of the last shoots of the shooting season was the State Shooting Championship.

“Me, Josh and Trinity all went to the state shoot and we competed,” Kemper said. “We did pretty well for having a couple practices and four months off.”

At the National Shooting Complex just outside of San Antonio, freshman Trinity Gaylean, freshman Lauren Stine, sophomore Brett Kemper and sophomore Josh Turner gather on the field for a group photo. These four are the only ones that signed up for the state meet. “The state shoot was a little intimidating when I first got there because there was so many people,” Stine said. “It was really fun to get to meet new people and get to compete.”(Photo by Brett Kemper)

Minette du Plooy, a senior, also competed at the Prosper meet.

“I got third,” Du Plooy said. “That was our double tournament where we had trap and sporting clays. I did trap at 9 a.m. and immediately went to sporting clays. I ended up shooting like 200 rounds that day.”

Though being a senior, Du Plooy is shooting on the junior varsity team.

“I placed second and third in JV Girls Trap, and then I placed third in JV Girls Sporting Clays,” Du Plooy said. “I just started shooting a year ago, so I did JV instead of senior.”

Both Du Plooy and Kemper said one important key to their success was to make time for the sport.

“One time, I was shooting with some of the varsity members,” Kemper said. “They were hitting every shot, but I was missing small things that I could have improved on. I got discouraged, but I learned that you just have to practice like anything else.”