Margaret Long of Glide had been approved to join the Pleasant Hill clay target club when the Winston-Dillard School District decided to start a club at Douglas High School.
“You get to join the club at the closest to you, so this is much closer and saves a lot on driving time,” said Margaret, who is homeschooled along with siblings Lewis Long and Shane Long. “I’ve been shooting trap for about eight months and I just fell in love with shot gun.”
There are 14 members on the Trojans Clay Target Club, which is made up of students from Douglas, Roseburg, Glide high schools along with homeschool students. Although it’s the only clay target club in Douglas County, it is considered one of the fastest growing sports among high schools.
“Our school board was really supportive in getting this started,” said Kevin Miller, an assistant coach for the team and the superintendent for the Winston-Dillard School District.
Trojan Clay Target Club competes every Thursday against four other schools: Bend, Mountain View, Ukiah and Oregon City. While the local team competes at the Roseburg Rod & Gun Club, each high school club shoots at their own location and the results are inputted online to determine top performers.
The Trojan Clay Target Club focuses solely on trap shooting, which is done with a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun.
“I’ve been shooting BB guns since I was 3 or 4 years old,” Douglas junior Kendra-Lea Maddox said. “When I heard about this, I just had to join.”
A trap field consists of five shooting stations, one trap house and a scorer’s chair. One shooter stands at each of the five stations and shoots five targets from the station before rotating to the other stations.
All stations are 16 yards away from the trap house, and each athlete shoots two rounds.
On June 22, the club will participate in a state tournament in Hillsboro that is open to all Oregon shooters.
The national championship is by invitation only and will be held from July 10-14 in Mason, Michigan.
Lewis Long is the Trojans’ leading shooter, hitting about 23 or 24 of the 25 clay targets on each round.
The club’s mission is to provide education and training to qualifying athletes in the safe handling of firearms while competing in shooting sports.
John Backen is the head coach for the club, with Curt Stookey, John Poore, Kevin Miller and Lesa Miller as assistants.
“Having the right coaching helps a lot,” Margaret said.
Although the club is offered through the high school, eligibility extends to students at least 12 years of old and in sixth grade. There is currently one middle school athlete on the team.
To be eligible to compete, students must have a firearm safety certificate or Oregon Hunter Safety card. The club also makes it clear that students are not allowed to bring firearms on to school property.