Popularity of clay target shooting sees spike in Minnesota as number of teams increases

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Participation in clay target shooting is booming at Minnesota schools.

The St. Cloud Times (http://on.sctimes.com/1JpGhCV ) reports 185 teams competed last year in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. That’s up from 13 teams in 2010.

League vice president John Nelson said more than 40 additional teams have signed up for 2015. School districts new to clay shooting this year include Rocori, Sauk Rapids-Rice and Sartell-St. Stephen. Luke Lutterman, activities director at Sauk Rapids-Rice, said he expects 30 to 40 kids to sign up for the new team.

Many of those kids don’t play other sports, Lutterman said.

“It’s important to us that we have extracurricular options that engage a wide variety of students,” Lutterman said.

Rocori Superintendent Scott Staska says students won’t be allowed to bring firearms to campus, following state law. Practices and competitions take place away from schools. And Staska said participation only on weekends will help keep students from accidentally bringing guns to school.

The Rocori school board voted unanimously to form the clay target shooting team, according to Staska. Two students were shot and killed at Rocori High School in 2003, but Staska said no opposition to the team rose because of it.

Students must also get firearm safety certification before participating in the state league, Staska said. Nelson said the league has not seen an injury since it began in 2001.

“Parents don’t have to worry about concussions,” Nelson said. “It’s an injury-free sport.”