For 11-year-old Gus Doherty, Trap Shooting is more than just a pastime – it’s a sport.
“I tried lots of sports, but Trap Shooting is one I liked,” said Gus, “It’s a lot of fun.”
While Trap Shooting is an official Olympic sport, it is also one of the fastest-growing sports in Northern California.
With Colusa County having no local team, Gus joined ‘Team Coon Creek’ based out of Lincoln, California.
“It’s a lot of driving back and forth to practices,” said Melissa Doherty, Gus’ mother, “But it’s worth it – it has really helped him open up and have more confidence in himself.”
Trap Shooting builds physical discipline increasing strength, stamina, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Additionally, Trap Shooting helps increase the mental discipline, and sharpens concentration levels, expands problem-solving skills, mathematics, and creative thinking.
“It’s a pretty involved sport,” said Melissa.
For Gus, he is having the time of his life – doing what he loves – shooting at targets.
“I have met many people in the competitions,” said Gus, “there are some great shooters out there.”
In his second year with the sport, Gus has been advancing in the ranks.
In June, Gus took the Rookie Division Championship Title with the California State Championships in Kingsburg, California.
In July, he placed third in the Rookie Division at the U.S. Open Clay Shooting Sports Championships at the Clark County Shooting Complex in Las Vegas; an event featuring more than 500 participants. Gus and his teammates placed third in the intermediate entry squad.
Gus contributes his success to his love of hunting, his dedication to practices and a good gun.
“A good Trap Shooter should get a good gun that fits them,” said Gus, “It makes a big difference.”
Gus’ mother also added that gun safety is a large component of the game.
“It’s a pretty safe sport,” said Melissa, “all the kids must learn gun safety and communicate with one another about gun safety.”
Gus’ father hopes that a Trap Shooting team will be organized in Colusa County.
“In a county full of hunters it would be great if Colusa County started a Trap Shooting team,” said Sean Doherty.
For now, Gus will finish off his summer driving tractor and helping out with the family farming operation, and getting a few hours of practice.
“I can’t wait to compete again next year,” said Gus.
Gus is able compete in Trap Shooting with the help of grants from the NRA Youth Programs.