PULL-ing the Season Together

Students Meet for First Practice of the Year

Fire Away Freshman Matthew Almquist shoots for the first time in a long time ” I did pretty good,” Almquist said

On Jan. 22, GHS and GMS students and students from Ashland High School met at the Ashland Gun Club for the first Ashland 4H trap practice of the season. The team’s members consist of middle school and high school students from Gretna, Ashland, Greenwood, Yutan and surrounding areas. It is not a club that is sponsored by the school or NSAA but it is a popular club for our student body with at least 100 students representing Gretna. The inexperienced members learned what it’s like to shoot for the first time and what it takes to be a trap team member.
“The shooters need to aim and shoot at the target,” eighth grader Ellie Porter said. “It’s really hard to hit the target when you first try”
Trap shooting can be a difficult sport. The sport usually starts in late January and ends at the end of May. Team members start practice by lining up in a horizontal line. Each student takes turns to shoot at the target which is also known as a “clay pigeon”. The students shoot five times and then they rotate to the right. When the students are ready to shoot they will yell the word “Pull” then the clay pigeon comes flying out of the large cement box and into the air. The members have to wait their turn, when it is their turn they aim at the pigeon and try to hit it. Besides learning how to aim and shoot, the weather can also be miserable.
“I like to shoot whenever it’s warm outside”, Freshman Holden Dodson said. “It’s awful when it’s cold outside”.
The team members have to layer up in the winter because it gets really cold outside. Most kids at the practices wear large coats and jeans, the mothers of the shooters pack extra gloves and coats just for the kids in case it is frigid out. The members love when it’s warm and not windy, it’s easier to hit targets when there is less wind. The gun club President Mr. Chuck Schulte advises everyone to bring layers to practices and meets. Although the first trap practice will consist of many emotions, joy, fear, and excitement, many members and coaches are very excited to start the new season.
“ We have lots of gear we have to wear for safety reasons,” Porter said
The members sign up for available time slots to practice. At that certain time they go up and start shooting. The students have specific gear for this activity. It is required that everyone wear eye glasses and ear plugs for safety reasons. The shooters have a bag that straps onto the side of their waist to hold empty shells while practicing. They also have a gun rest which is a square foam with a small magnet at the top, the gun is put onto the gun rest when the students are done shooting.
“Feels good to see everybody again,” Coach Pat Becker said. “Even though it’s a lot of paper and registration, it’s exciting to be back”
The coaches are mostly volunteers and they help the members who are having trouble with their guns. The coaches help adjust the guns to make sure it is comfortable for the members. The students find their coaches to be very helpful. . They make sure that the beginners don’t feel nervous and they tell the beginners what to do and where to aim and shoot.
“I’m excited to learn more about the sport and guns,” sixth grader Christopher Redlightning said.
The first practice may be rough for some people, but the students get to learn about safety, what is acceptable and not acceptable during this dangerous sport, and they get to learn how to have fun.
“I’m so thrilled to be back and excited for the first practice,” Porter said.