Shoot to thrill: FC Trap Team opens 13th season

Ten of the 25 Falls City Trap Team members paused for a photograph last Thursday during practice at the farm of team sponsor and shooting coach Dennis Chandler. The team, now in its 13 season, officially began practice and opened their season March 15 with meets in Crete and Wilber. Pictured from left to right are Trey Gilkerson, Jake Joy, Justin Ernst, Brandon Schawang, Cody Frederick, Dylan Frederick, Libby Schawang, Nick Aitken, Garrett Clark and Jared Frederick. Photo by Jason Schock.

Quiet only in fanfare, the Falls City Trap Team opened their thirteenth season recently with March 15 competitions at Crete and Wilber.

Practice began in January for the 25-member team comprised of junior high students – juniors – and high school students – seniors –  from both Falls City Public and Sacred Heart schools and will conclude with the national competition at Doniphan, Nebraska the first weekend of May.

Rural Falls City residents Dennis and Theresa Chandler, who started the team in 2002, host the practices at their farm home nine miles east of Falls City and are just two of several volunteer sponsors and shooting coaches.

The Chandlers cleared and leveled a practice site that sits south of their house on the north edge of a cornfield. A “house,” which holds the clay targets until they are released and fired upon, was built soon after and slowly but surely, interest and participation increased.

Falls City, which recently allowed Rock Port, Missouri, kids to co-op, competes at six meets each spring as part of the Eastern Cornhusker Trap-Shooting Conference.

Junior division competitors take 50 shots from 16-yards, while the senior division events consist of 50 16-yardage targes and 50 handicap yardage targets, with the handicap yardage determined by dividing the 16-yardage scores by two.

A team event, in which team members shoot together at the same time and on the same trap,  also occurs at the senior division level.

Participants provide their own gun and cannot compete until they have reached the sixth grade, after completing a gun safety course.  Protective eye and ear wear are also required.  

Chandler said the growth of the team and interest in the sport of clay-shooting has pleasantly surprised him.

“I never thought it would last 10 years,” Chandler said. “The numbers have leveled off to around 30 to 35 kids and we all really enjoy it.”

“We’ve had pretty good luck with them out there,” Chandler said, referring to the national meet in Doniphan, “and we expect this group to keep it going.”

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