Minnesota’s second most popular HS sport? Trap shooting, believe it or not

Traditionally, it’s widely held that football is the most popular sport in any state’s high school league, with basketball a relatively close second and everything else following behind at a relative distance.

Not in Minnesota. Yes, football is still the state’s most popular prep pastime, but trapshooting comes in at a close second.

That’s right. The land of 10,000 lakes is apparently quite taken with kids firing rifles at ceramic targets. As reported by the Lake County News Chronicle, roughly 8,600 Minnesota high school students will compete in shooting events this spring, a total which is second only to football.

While trapshooting was officially inaugurated as a high school sport in 2001, its popularity has soared in recent years in Minnesota. Teens who previously might have focused on track and field or baseball are now working toward more accurate shots at distant targets.

That growth corresponds with more concerted efforts by Minnesota shooting club officials, who viewed the Minnesota State High School League recognition of the sport’s state tournament as a golden opportunity to raise a new breed of target shooter.

“I’ve (been trapshooting) for many years and a lot of people in clubs that I’ve shot at have talked to me about starting one,” Silver Bay head coach Al Klotzbach told the News Chronicle. “We need some younger people to get involved in the sport and it correlates with gun safety.”

Many of the young trapshooters are native hunters, but some are not. Both groups are combining to drive up the popularity of a surprising fast rising high school game.

By Cam Smith