Minnesota High School Clay Target League explodes in popularity

May 17, 2012
Leah Beno

Just ask any of the members, and they’ll tell you the Minnesota High School Clay Target League is a blast — and it’s exploding in terms of popularity.

Two years ago, they had just 13 teams. Last year, that number more than doubled to 29 teams. This year, there are 57 teams.

“The league itself doubles every year. So, who knows what it will be like next year,” said Matt Clark, a sophomore at Farmington High School.

This is the first year Farmington formed a trap shooting team, and they have 20 kids on the team. Blaine High School is also in their first year with 63 students participating.

Apple Valley High School is where Katelyn St. Ana is captain of the trap team, again she said students had to be turned away.

“In Apple Valley, you don’t typically expect hunters. When I saw how many people showed up to the meeting, I was really impressed,” said St. Ana.” First year, and actually had to cap it 30. We have 80 people ready go next year. It’s insane how much the sport is growing.”

But unlike St. Ana, not all the students come from families who hunt.

“I hunt next to nothing.” said Clark. “I just shoot. There are a couple other people on our team who don’t come from a hunting background and they just enjoy shooting.”

That is exactly why Jim Sable formed the league. He noticed too many gun clubs were going out of business and he wanted to attract more Minnesotans back to his love of hunting.

“It isn’t just shrinking. A floodgate opened up where people are pouring out of the sport,” said Sable.

The league is not part of the State High School League mainly because some of the gun clubs up north only have time available on Sunday. Sable’s only request from High Schools associated is to offer kids the chance to earn varsity letters and put their team photo in the yearbooks.

“Not everyone is a baseball player or football player,” said Will, coach of the Jordan trap shooting team. “Its kids that normally would not participate in other athletic events…are participating in this one.”