On the mark - State shoot gathers marksmen of all ages
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
Every year, for shooters like Alexandria’s Scott Green, the Minnesota State Trap Shoot is a bit of a reunion.
Green got his start in trap shooting as a 15-year-old in Detroit Lakes with the Becker County Sportsmen’s Club. Forty years later, he is still filling the time between hunting seasons by busting clay targets and chasing state titles.
Hundreds of others, many of them familiar faces, joined him in that pursuit last week as the Alexandria Shooting Park hosted the Minnesota State Shoot for the 11th straight year. Campers lined the parking lot like always as some of the top shooters from around the country gathered for the camaraderie and a chance to become a top marksman in the state.
“Most of these people really look forward to this,” Green said. “They remember when they were shooting at 12, 13-years old. It’s like anything, once you’re a fisherman, you usually stay that way. Most of these guys are hunters too, and they really look forward to it.”
Green has been one of the top local shooters at the event over the years. He won a state title in 2004 when he took the singles championship after busting all 200 clays.
He has been in contention other years but even being perfect doesn’t guarantee anything. Green forced a shootout in the singles championship in 2010 after busting all 200 birds through regulation. He took third after Dean Neumann of Dakota and Rich Stuntebeck of Wadena outlasted him in the shootout.
“You pretty much have to be perfect out here,” Green said before shooting in the Minnesota Class Doubles competition last Thursday. “These guys are that good.”
It’s a shoot that offers a chance at bragging rights for men and women of all ages and ability levels. Handicap divisions offer a tougher challenge to the more seasoned shooters.
Green warmed up in the President’s Handicap last Thursday by taking first in the Sub Vet category after busting 97 out of 100 targets at 20 yards. Fellow Alexandria shooter Duane Bahn did the same from 19.5 yards, powdering 96 clays to take the Senior Vet category.
On the women’s side, Alexandria’s Vicky Townsend took high lady in the Class II category in warm-up singles last Tuesday and was tops in the Novice category in the Nick Kubasch Singles competition on Wednesday. Glenwood’s Jennie Stone took high lady in the Warm-Up Handicap competition as well.
Alexandria’s Andrew Rentschler has been one of the top youth shooters at the state competition over the years. He set the tone early last week by taking the High Junior category in the Richard Wolf Handicap competition. He busted 97 out of 100 targets at 22.5 yards.
It is shooters like Rentschler who will be responsible for carrying trap shooting into the future. Getting young people involved is a challenge in almost all shooting sports. Green said a recent study they did showed that the median age of their club members is around 55 years old.
“It’s getting older and older,” he said. “So it’s nice getting some of these younger shooters back in here.”
Green was a part of a volunteer coaching staff that helped make that happen this past year. Lyle Bohnen and Cindy and Tom Townsend joined him on the coaching staff as Alexandria students shot their inaugural season in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League this past spring.
The Alex Shooting Park hosted the state tournament where almost 1,500 students from 57 teams competed for a championship. Teams from Brandon-Evansville and Parkers Prairie were also in their first season this year. Green hopes to add teams from Osakis and Minnewaska going into next season.
“I enjoy working with the young kids probably more than anything,” he said. “They seem to have a way better time than anybody else. Anybody can shoot clay targets. Anybody who’s got a shotgun can come out here and everybody will help you get started.”
The shooters at the Minnesota State Shoot are examples of how good a person can get if they stick with it. That’s what Green wants young shooters to know. Not only can they compete, but they can shine at it.
“We always tell them, ‘don’t worry about your scores because you’ll just get better,’ which they do,” Green said. “They seem to want to go and do this sport because they know they can excel at it. They really can.”
MINNESOTA STATE TRAP
WARM UP SINGLES
HI LADY (Class B) – Vicky Townsend, Alexandria, 95.
WARM UP HANDICAP
HI LADY I – Jennie Stone, Glenwood, 95.
NICK KUBASCH SINGLES
NOVICE – Vicky Townsen, Alexandria, 85.
RICHARD WOLF HANDICAP
HI JUNIOR – Andrew Rentschler, Alexandria, 97.
HI SUB VET – Scott Green, Alexandria, 97. HI SR VET – Duane Bahn, Alexandria, 96.
MINNESOTA DOUBLES CHAMPION
Scott Gens, Vernon Center, 99x100.
MINNESOTA SINGLES CHAMPION
Glenn Linden, 200x200.
MINNESOTA HANDICAP CHAMPION
Scott Messenger, 99x200
1ST – Scott Messenger, Winona, 99 at 27 yds; 3RD – Joel Grueneich, Alexandria, 98 at 20.5 yds; 4TH – Steve Schmidt, Alexandria, 97 at 21.5 yds; 13TH – Scott Green, Alexandria, 95 at 21.5 yds.