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Colfax Trap Team holds practice and sign-up

Colfax Scholastic Trap Team, sponsored by Colfax Sportsmen’s Club, has began practicing indoors using the club’s newly purchased computerized trap shooting simulator. Two more open simulator shooting dates are scheduled before membership sign-up for the team closes for the 2018 season.

February 18, 1-3 p.m. is the team’s next open practice. The final open practice is March 4, 1-3 p.m. Both sessions are in the club house of the Colfax/Dunn County Shooting Range at E8498 810 Ave.

Team membership is open to all school-aged youth in grades 12 and under with the physical, mental and emotional maturity to participate in a team sport. Athletes must be bona fide students enrolled in an accredited school or home-schooled program and must be deemed academically eligible to participate in school-sponsored sports programs.

For the 2018 season, athletes must join the team no later than March 4.

With the laser simulator, team members are able to dry-fire a complete round of trap, alongside four other squad members. The system projects a properly scaled moving clay target onto a mural of a trap field. Using his or her own shotgun, fitted with a laser adapter and fire control, the shooter swings and fires just as if the projected image were a real target.

If the shot is a hit, the clay bird disappears in a puff of dust. If it’s a miss, the bird continues its natural flight path until crashing into the ground. Hit or miss, the result is displayed on a television display so the shooter can see where the shot charge went in relation to the target. The only things missing from the experience are the recoil and noise that comes from firing a live round.

For the system to work well, each shooter needs to use their own shotgun and the specifications of the shotgun and the shooter must both be programmed into the simulator’s software program. Therefore, any potential team members who want to try out the system and learn about the team need to bring his or her own shotgun.

Athletes are not allowed to possess live ammunition when the simulator is in use.

Competitive school-aged trap shooting at Colfax Sportsmen’s Club got underway in 2015. Vinnie Ross, a teacher at Colfax High School, convinced the club to form a team affiliated with the Wisconsin High School Trap League. Ross coached the team that year and again in 2016. Both years the team shot in the High School League’s state shoots.

Ross left the area for a different job at the end of the 2016 school year. In 2017 Charlie Owen stepped up as head coach. At that time the club switched the team’s affiliation from the High School Trap League to the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP). In 2017 the team shot in the Wisconsin state shoot and four of its members, along with Owen, traveled to Marengo, Ohio to take part in the national shoot.

SCTP state and national shoots are sanctioned by the Amateur Trap Shooting Association (ATA). Therefore, Colfax team members need to join the ATA in order to compete in them.

Scholastic Shootings Sports Foundation sponsors SCTP. The Foundation is the official feeder program to USA Shooting and a path to the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team.

In 2018 Ted Wanish has taken on the responsibility as head coach and is actively seeking new shooters. The team has yearly lost members due to graduation. Membership is not limited to those in the Colfax School District.

Wanish noted that trap shooting is a sport where young women and men compete on a level playing field and where many who are physically handicapped can do as well as everyone else. It’s a good sport for those who either can’t, or don’t want to, take part in more traditional school sports. For that reason, he said, he’s been lobbying the school district administration to recognize trap shooting as a letter sport, even if it means the team or the club would have to buy the letters.

For more information on the Colfax Scholastic Trap Team, Wanish can be contacted at 715-559-8314.