McPherson High School is aiming to offer another sport option this spring that won’t involve running, jumping or throwing, but depends on accuracy.
The school’s clay target shooting team will be created in time to join the Kansas State High School Clay Target League’s nine-week season this April.
“We’re always looking for activities that will get kids involved in a school activity and we thought this would draw a different crowd of kids that maybe what typically participates. It’ll give those kids a chance to get tied in with the school and their activity and give them something to be proud of,” said Shane Backhus, McPherson High School activities director.
The team was created through a cooperative effort between the high school, the McPherson Area Pheasants Forever and McPherson Uplands.
“Those guys have been talking with us over the last 12 months about starting something like this. As we did more research about it, it all kind of fell into place,” Backhus explained. “They’re both conservatory organizations, so they’ll benefit from newer members. It’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”
The high school will provide organization of the team, transportation, a school coach and some equipment, while Pheasants Forever will provide volunteer coaches and materials and the McPherson Uplands will provide the facility.
“We’re required to have range safety officers and the Pheasants Forever organization has guys who are certified to do that. Pheasants Forever is also providing funding for the ammunition and clay targets, and the uplands is providing the facility at not cost to us. They’re actually building an actual trap shooting facility at the uplands with about $50,000 in donations. They’re in progress of building that now,” Backhus said.
Practice would start April 1 and the season concludes with a state tournament on June 16 in Sedgwick.
“All the regular season competition days would happen at our local range where you go out and shoot 50 targets and record your score electronically. They have a website that tracks how well everyone is doing and at the end of the year, we all go to the state tournament and see how they do there,” Backhus said.
The activities department sent out a survey to all the middle school and high school students in McPherson, and of those 231 who responded, 93 said they were interested.
“We’re not quite sure what the turn out will be, we’ll find out after Christmas break. We’ll have an informational meeting once we have our coaches established and we’ll get started registering kids. It’s a good opportunity to get some more of our kids involved and partner with some of these area organizations. I think it’ll be pretty cool when we get it all figured out,” Backhus said.
Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.