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Perham and New York Mills trapshooting teams to fire up season Monday

Fort Thunder Shooting Center will host both local teams in the upcoming trapshooting season. Photo by Robert Williams/FOCUS

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League (MSHSCTL) announced that 114 high school teams representing 195 schools and 3,400 student athletes are participating in the 2013 spring season. Led by the support of their schools and hundreds of volunteer coaches, thousands of student athletes will be trapshooting weekly in April and May at shooting ranges throughout Minnesota.

“This is the fifth consecutive year that the league has doubled in teams, schools and athlete numbers,” said Jim Sable, Executive Director of the MSHSCTL. “In 2012, there were 57 teams and 1,500 student athletes participating. With this kind of growth, trapshooting continues to be Minnesota’s fastest growing high school sport.”

Perham and New York Mills will both field teams and compete in Conference 5A with teams from Fergus Falls, Greenbush-Middle River High School, Medford High School, Rushford-Peterson High School, St. James High School, and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School.

The Perham and New York Mills teams will conduct their shooting at Fort Thunder Shooting Center in Perham. LeRoy Atkinson, owner of Fort Thunder, did a lot of leg work to get the league operating in both school districts and has also discussed shooting options with Wadena-Deer Creek and Frazee high schools.

“The kids are going to love it,” Atkinson said.

According to Atkinson, the latest number of students involved statewide has surpassed 3,400. Both Perham and New York Mills have 19 students participating.

Both teams get underway beginning Monday, April 1. New York Mills shoots at 1 p.m. and Perham at 4 p.m.

MSHSCTL’s program attracts student athletes to participate in shooting sports while creating a “virtual” competition among high schools throughout Minnesota. Shooting practices and competition are conducted at a shooting range near the school’s location. A true team scoring system is used in three shooting performance categories – top score, top 50% performer’s average score and overall team average score. The numbers of athletes on a team are used to define the conferences that teams compete within. Scores are submitted and compared with other school’s performances to determine the earned points for a team and then posted on the League’s website. The season culminates with the State Tournament at Alexandria Shooting Park in Alexandria, Minnesota on June 7-9, 2013 where individual and team champions will be determined and recognized.

On December 6, 2012, the Minnesota State High School League approved a presenting partner state tournament with the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League for June 2014. “Trapshooting will be recognized as a sport like all other high school sports,” Sable said, “thus making Minnesota the first state high school athletic association in America to host a sanctioned high school trapshooting state tournament.”

The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League is a 501©(3) non-profit corporation and the independent provider of shooting sports as an extra curricular coed activity to high schools for students in grades six through 12 who have earned their Firearms Safety Certification. The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League has three priorities – safety, fun and marksmanship – in that order.

For more information about the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, visit

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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