Warrior trap shooting team thrives

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Alta-Aurelia Trap Shooting Team began its season on Monday with the first classroom session for new athlete training where a new crop of young shooters in middle and high school met to learn the sport. This is the 9th year that Head Coach Mike Bartholomew and his wife, Kelli, have led the team.

“We started our first year with just five high school kids. The second year we grew to 19 high school kids,” Mike said. The third year they expanded the program to younger kids and the team grew to 32. “Our sport has continued to thrive because anyone can participate.”

Between 20-25 Alta-Aurelia middle school and high school students are expected to be on this year’s team, similar to recent turnouts. There are no tryouts - all students are welcome, resulting in a wide range of skill levels. There is no particular type of student who joins. “It runs the gamut,” Kelli said, with Mike adding that some new members have a fair amount of experience with firearms but many have never fired a gun prior to trying the sport.

The team participates in about 15 meets per year with the season running from April 1 to mid-June. They compete with other middle and high schools, or whoever has a trap team, Kelli said. During the last four seasons, the team has placed as a team or individually in every meet they have attended. Mike has plenty of help from nine assistant coaches including Kelli, all volunteers.

The season always kicks off with two nights of new athlete training which took place this past week. Mike showed the students guns and ammunition and explained the strict rules required to be on the team because safety and discipline are paramount. He discussed fitting members with the proper gun, safety precautions such as eye and ear protection, and the importance of walking when carrying a firearm. In addition, “All our events are supervised by licensed coaches,” Mike said

He emphasized the importance of teamwork among the entire team and also while working in teams of four when shooting. He brought up the point of displaying good behavior and giving a good impression at the larger meets. “At the national level, we’re representing the state.”

On the 2nd night of classroom training, members brought their own shotguns to be approved and fitted, and Mike brought some of his own guns because many members borrow his.

Team members are a hearty bunch. “We shoot in all kinds of weather, except for lightening,” Mike said. Practices are held at the practice/home facility located in the Bartholomews’ pasture south of the Hanover church southwest of Alta. The first practice will be this weekend.