Clay target shooting is becoming more popular in Minnesota. So popular that the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League will be sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League and will have a state tournament starting in 2014.
This might lead to the Le Sueur-Henderson School District adding it as a sport as well.
The Minnesota State High School League announced at its Dec. 6 Board of Directors meeting that they approved a partnership with the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League to make clay target shooting a league sponsored event complete with a state tournament in 2014.
Last year was the first year that Le Sueur-Henderson students competed on the clay target shooting team. Right now it's not a school sponsored sport, but the school might consider adding it once it has MSHSL sponsorship.
"Currently [clay target shooting] is a club activity that the school doesn't fund. They get donations from businesses and people to fund the program," Le Sueur-Henderson Activities Director Dave Swanberg said.
The Le Sueur-Henderson team gets donations from many local businesses according to the team's coach Deanne McConnell.
"Pheasants Forever, the National Turkey Foundation, and many local businesses donate to our team. We have a $100 participation fee that does include ammo. The initial budget I had was for 20 students and that was for $7,000. Now we have 30 on the team. We have to do fundraisers if we need more money," McConnell said.
If the school sponsored the sport, the team would have to focus only on shooting and competitions. Swanberg believes that the possibility of the school sponsoring the sport will be good for everyone and reach students that might not be involved in other extracurricular activities.
"It's something to talk about. It's certainly something I'm looking at keeping here. [Having the school sponsor the sport] will cost the district more money to fund and supervise it. We have to get our budgets in place. [The sport] reaches a population [in our schools] that aren't involved in other activities," Swanberg said.
The first state tournament will take place in June 2014. The clay target league has had state championships in the past in Alexandria, but this decision makes Minnesota the first state in the country to host a sanctioned high school trapshooting state tournament.
According to the MSHSCTL website, 1,500 student athletes from 57 high school teams participated in trapshooting in 2012. The league looks to host more than 3,000 student athletes from more than 100 teams in the 2013 spring league. Since 2008, the league has doubled in athlete participation each year.
Reach reporter Austin Erickson at 507-931-8576, or follow him on Twitter.com @LNH_AErickson.