POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Poplar Bluff, Missouri Trap Team is holding a membership drive.
The hope is to get more students involved at an early age, and ultimately keep the sport alive and strong.
"Americans haven't had an Olympic bunker trap shooter since 1996," said head coach Josh Wesemann, a Junior High social studies teacher. "Some countries can't have an Olympic team because their laws don't allow it, so we have to teach the next generation coming up [an appreciation]."
This is the third year Junior High students are able to participate on the team, after the Board of Education approved the expansion of the program to allow students to gain two more years of competitive experience.
Classified as an emerging sport under the Missouri State High School Activities Association, Poplar Bluff Trap was established in 2005 under the direction of then FFA sponsor Darla Nunn, who presently manages the ICU program at the High School.
Nunn said the Friends of the NRA initially donated $2,000 in equipment and shooting gear.
The Midway USA Foundation also supplied an endowment of about $120,000 to establish a budget for the team to cover the cost of entry fees and traveling expenses for meets going forward.
Trap is open to male and female students, grades 7-12.
Over the summer, PBHS senior Hannah Cash was named to the Missouri All-State Trap Team, among the top five in the state, and went on to compete at the Scholastic Clay Target Program nationals in Ohio.
Hannah shot her first perfect 100 score at practice in recent weeks, simply attributing her motivation to a sibling rivalry with her brother Joseph, a trap standout from the PBHS Class of 2015. "I have to outdo him," she said, half-jokingly.
There are opportunities beyond high school available to trap shooters who excel. "We've worked to get our Gun Club certified which means we can start hosting ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association) events since our clays are considered registered targets. This helps kids get scholarships," explained assistant coach Sandy Pike of the R-I Instructional Technology Department.
Katelyn Campa, currently a first grade teacher at Lake Road Elementary, graduated in the PBHS Class of 2010 with a scholarship to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, where she participated in trap, skeet and sporting clays. "It wasn't a full ride, but it was definitely helpful," Campa said.
The first trap meet of the 2017/18 season will take place next month at the Gun Club.
For more information about the Trap Team, contact the coaching staff on social media at www.facebook.com/PoplarBluffTrapTeam.
The cutoff date for students to sign up is Thursday, Sept. 21.