Trap shooting competitions explode among Minnesota state high school students.
Minnesota's fastest growing sport isn't what you think it would be. Trap shooting has skyrocketed in Minnesota's school system going from 30 students statewide participating to over 8,000 since 2008.
The schools and parents were very skeptical at first when their kids wanted to compete in skeet shooting competitions, but that has all quickly changed.
Minnesota State High School's League Vice President John Nelson said, "We would stand up in front of a crowd, and say we want to talk to you about something today that involves kids, guns, and schools. The wide eyed audience would look as us and say, 'Where is this going to go?'"
Students must use their own firearms and are not allowed to bring them on school property. They must pick them up from their homes before going to the range to practice. Each child must cover their own ammo as well. This averages out to be about $230 per season and includes range fees.
Players do not need to try out either, anyone who wants to compete may as long as they complete a Minnesota DNR gun safety course. The student competitors are then divided up and compete against others with equal skill level.
"It fits the niche of a different kid," Guy LeBlanc the Hermantown High School coach told MPR News. "Most of our kids, there's 45 on out team this year, and I think there's about 28, 29 of them that don't play another sport, they're not in band, choir, drama, this is their thing. And you don't have to be 6 foot 2 and 220 pounds to be effective at it."
Nelson has received inquiries from school officials in more than 30 states interested in this very model for starting their own trap shooting teams. He has helped start similar leagues in Wisconsin and North Dakota.
As fast as this sport is growing, the local gun ranges cannot keep up with demand. Nelson said they had to turn away almost 2,000 kids this spring because of space and time issues at the ranges. Minnesota legislature set aside $2 million dollars last year to help the gun ranges in the area expand.
Local trap shooting competitions are already in full swing with an upcoming match on Thursday and will continue on to the state finals on June 20 at the Minneapolis Gun Club at Prior Lake.