Shooting for a new sport: WSHS to propose new trap club

Winona Senior High School could be getting its own trap club.

Winona Area Public Schools activities director Casey Indra will present to the board at its regular meeting Thursday a proposal to bring a trap club to the high school as early as this spring.

The idea for the club rose up from about five or six WSHS students who for the past few years, have shot trap through FFA with Rushford-Peterson High School. Now, they’d like to shoot as Winhawks.

“They want to shoot for Winona,” Indra said.

Since the students pitched the idea last November, Indra has been working with students, WAPS staff, the Winona Sportsmen’s Club and the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League to help develop a plan to make that happen.

If approved, the Winona club would join a growing number of teams forming in schools around the state, which have experienced a boom in recent years. The sport has grown from three teams in three schools in 2001 to 185 teams in 275 schools in 2014, encompassing 6,100 athletes, according to the League.

The club – which would be co-ed – would practice Wednesday evenings for a nine-week season in the spring, leading up to a state tournament in late June.

The sport is considered to be remarkably safe — there have been zero reported injuries since the state’s youth trapshooting program started in 2001, according to the League.

Students would be only be eligible to participate if they have a state-issued firearms safety certificate. On top of that, Indra said, the Sportsmen’s Club would spend the first couple of days of the season going over League rules, firearms safety and range safety. The kids would not touch a gun before that happened, Indra said.

Assuming the student already had a gun, the cost to participate would be $320 per season. Most of that would go to the Sportsmen’s Club, which would provide targets and shells for the students.

If the club were implemented at the school, Indra said he would expect more students to join beyond the five or six already-committed participants. Several WAPS staff members have already expressed interest in possibly advising the group, were it to be formed, he said.

Indra said he sees the club as a good opportunity way to reach a different group of students and get them involved.

“I’m always looking for new ideas — things that will give kids an opportunity to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and, more important than anything, give them an opportunity to have some fun,” he said.

“This club represents a group of kids that aren’t necessarily interested in the arts or athletics – this is a way we can reach out and get them to be a little bit more active in the school.”

By: Abby Eisenberg