Athlete of the Week: Clearwater Explosion Eau Claire trap shooting team

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Trap shooting has grown exponentially in the area over the last few years. One of the teams behind the sport’s local growth is the Clearwater Explosion Eau Claire team. The squad is our Osseo Automotive Athlete of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert has the story.

Pick your gun, put on your safety gear, and shoot: orange clay disks launch into the air to be shot down by teenagers at the Eau Claire Rod and Gun Club.

The birth of a 32-member high school trap team 4 years ago has transcended the sport locally. Now, the team is comprised of over 100 students ranging from seniors all the way down to early in middle school.

“It’s fun, and anyone can do it,” Ron Bowers, a coach for the Clearwater Explosion, said about trap shooting. “You take the size of the Eau Claire schools; take football and basketball, you have a few kids on the team. Anyone who wants to do this sport can do this sport.”

It’s not your run of the mill high school sport. Trap shooting takes a different skill set than making a bucket on the hardwood.

“Your stature doesn’t mean anything,” Bowers said. “It’s all hand-eye coordination.”

“You have to be able to focus a lot,” Alee Kabus, a sophomore at Eau Claire North and a member of the trap team, said. “You have to make sure you can swing. You have to keep your eyes focused at all times. You have to be able to get into that mindset for sure.”

Michaela Helland, whose brother was one of the founding members of the Clearwater Explosion, has been a member since the beginning.

“It’s very thrilling. If you get into the zone, it’s really fun. It’s fun to try and beat yourself. You can get really competitive with it,” Helland said.

And if you’re worried about safety, there’s no need to fret.

“If you know what you’re doing with the gun, it’s one of the safest sports there is,” Nick Bowers, a member of the trap team. “You can’t get injured like you can in football. You ain’t gonna blow out your shoulder, you ain’t gonna pull a muscle, you ain’t gonna pull a muscle, you ain’t gonna get a concussion. It’s fun and simple.”

The team competes virtually against other area trap teams to keep their skills sharp.

“It’s nice because I go to North High School and it’s a pretty big school, so you don’t really know everybody,” Helland said. “Memorial is a pretty big school, and Chippewa, too. I get to meet people from Memorial and Fall Creek.”

“Go and give it a try.” Ron Bowers said. “It’s just a great team atmosphere.”

And the team is part of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. If you want to learn more about the program, you can find the link on this page.

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