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Youth trapshooting continues to grow in popularity

Tucker Vasichek squeezes off a round from his 12 gauge shotgun at a clay pigeon during youth trapshooting league at the Grand Forks Gun Club Monday. (Eric Hylden / Forum News Service)1 / 3
13-year-old Conrad Dipple gets his gun ready for his turn at trapshooting during youth league night at the Grand Forks Gun Club. (Eric Hylden / Forum News Service)2 / 3
Youth trapshooters take their turns on the range at the Grand Forks Gun Club Monday. (Eric Hylden / Forum News Service)3 / 3

GRAND FORKS — Jon Secord sits in the middle of the Grand Forks Gun Club on Monday night, activity buzzing all around him.

One high school student interrupts to ask if he can borrow a gun for the night.

"Sure," he says.

Secord instructs one of his co-workers to help the student.

This is the way Monday nights have become at the club just west of town—nonstop action.

It's youth trapshooting league night—and the sport's popularity has exploded in the last few years in correlation with beginning of the North Dakota State High School Trapshooting League three years ago.

While the summer league isn't part of the prep scene, it has seen big benefits from it.

Secord estimated that there were roughly 20 participants in the youth program in 2010. This summer, there are 72 signed up.

"High school trapshooting has had a big affect on it," said Secord, the president of the Grand Forks Gun Club. "It has been big with getting word out about it. Kids seem to be having a lot of fun with it. Before, we usually only had kids whose parents were shooting. Now, the majority of kids we have don't have parents shooting.

"We're getting a lot more female shooters as well. We've always had some, but not nearly as many as we have today."

The roughly 70 participants flooded the Grand Forks Gun Club on Monday night at 6 p.m., as they worked toward completing their summer program.

Participants have nine weeks to shoot 12 rounds. The program—which goes from June 5 to Aug. 28—concludes with a picnic on the final week.

If participants miss a week because they are out of town or on vacation, it can be easily made up.

The club keeps a safe fun of shotguns for participants who may not own one, but want to try it.

"We have 20-plus guns available for use," Secord said. "They can still come out and shoot, so that really makes it nice."

There are also a group of eight coaches who volunteer. All five shooting stations have an adult monitoring the participants.

The positive results have showed in competitions.

Central won its conference and finished second at state this spring. Red River finished third in the conference and sixth at state. Central won state in 2016.

Several Grand Forks Gun Club participants won in a youth competition in Walsh County earlier this month.

Some are participating in this weekend's Red River Special, which concludes today at the club.

Jim Schulind, the vice president of the Grand Forks Gun Club and the coach of Central's high school team, started the youth program nearly 40 years ago.

He said he's very pleased with the increasing number of participants—and it has even led to parents trying out the sport for the first time, too.

"Now, we have kids who come out and try it," Schulind said. "Then, dad has to try it. Then, mom has to try it."

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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