EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- An age old sport is getting a new life thanks to the interest of students at area school districts.
Throughout this weekend nearly 400 middle and high school students from around the state traveled to Eau Claire for the Northern Wisconsin Clay Target shoot.
It’s the first time the event was held in Eau Claire and the first time a team from Eau Claire got the chance to show off their skills.
“I saw all the kids from the Rice Lake team at a shoot and I thought it was kind of cool,” North High School student Brandon Helland said.
Starting a trap shoot team is idea that Brandon Helland thought would be a great sport to bring to his classmates in the Eau Claire School District.
Helland, who shot trap with his family in the past, brought the idea to start a trap team to the district and in just a few short weeks the club was on target to compete this spring.
“It’s just something that is just growing in popularity,” Eau Claire Trap Team Coach Lars Long said.
Coach Long says trap shooting at the high school level started as an idea in the southern part of Wisconsin and has quickly grown in popularity in our part of the state.
“In our region we started with four teams and currently there are about 18 teams and there are more waiting for next year so the growth is exponential,” Long said.
“It's a way to reboot the sport. It's a harmless sport these kids are learning stuff and they are learning to be teammates,” Rice Lake Warbirds Coach Dave Frank said.
Dave Frank has been coaching the Rice Lake team since it started two years ago. He says the growth of trap shooting at a high school level means rod and gun clubs like the one in Eau Claire get a new batch of lifetime shooters.
When it comes to learning how to shoot, coaches say safety is always a top priority.
“What better way to teach people how to handle a gun than on a range facing in a safe direction,” state trap shoot advisor Rick Persinger said.
“It’s safer than any other sport kids aren't going to get a concussion or break an arm or tear up a knee doing this,” Frank added.
More than 80 teams from around the state competed in this weekend’s tournament.
The Eau Claire Trap Shoot Team says they will have their next meet this Thursday against New Richmond