MOULTON — Eighty-six shooters from five different Scholastic Clay Target Program SCTP teams, with one from as far away as Louisville, Kentucky, competed in the first Invitational Moulton Youth Shoot at the Moulton Gun Club on Saturday.
The 100 target registered event, which awarded places to the top three places, features male and female shooters who’s ages range from elementary to high school.
The SCTP is sponsored by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) and the primary mission is to provide, promote and perpetuate opportunities for young athletes to safely and enjoyably participate in a high quality, team-based sport. Both are registered with the Amateur Trap Shooting Association.
Playing host to the event is the Moulton Gun Club Youth team that has been in existence for three years. David Spradlin serves as the head coach and said this shoot is a big step in the club’s existence. After traveling to various locations the past two years, the Moulton Gun Club team felt comfortable hosting this type of event.
The Moulton Gun Club Youth team, sponsored by the Moulton Gun Club and the Auglaize Chapter of the Pheasants Forever chapter, has seen its numbers grow from 15 to 30 in the last three years.
“This sport develops fine young men and women and teaches them how to properly store and use firearms and it really promotes camaraderie,” Spradlin said. “These kids have met kids from all over the country that they will be friends with for the rest of their lives and they won’t meet any better people in your life and the people who show up to these events.”
Spradlin added that team building is also emphasized.
“Our sport is not based on individual accomplishments although we do acknowledge individuals we are primarily a team oriented sport,” Spradlin said.
Approximately 200 family members and friends gathered at the event to support the shooters.
“This is very family oriented sport,” Spradlin said. “If you walk around here you just won’t see mom and dad. You will see aunts and uncles and grandma and grandpa all grilling having a good time. You would think you were at an Ohio State football game.
Spradlin’s son, Rodd Spradlin, is one of the more distinguished members of the Moulton Gun Club team. A junior at Wapakoneta High School, Rodd Spradlin has been named All-Ohio for five consecutive years. In being recognized All-Ohio, a shooter must be in the top five and that is determined by the person’s averages in three different shooting categories.
Rodd Spradlin said his father got him into the sport and it is something they can both share.
“It is a good time. He was the one that taught me how to shoot and got me into it,” Rodd Spradlin said. “Some people do football or other sports with their parents. This is way to get out with my dad and bond.”
Rodd Spradlin began shooting in the fourth grade and he said in the past four years he has been training and competing harder as he has became more comfortable with the sport. He added that he practices about two or three times a week and like other sports it is practice and dedication that are the key to being sucessful.
“You have to do it a lot,” Rodd Spradlin. “Practice makes perfect they say and it is true. What works for you works for you.”
Dave Sheets, an assistant coach and member of the Moulton Gun Club, said this sport can be enjoyed well past their high school years and added that shooting often becomes a family affair.
“This is a youth program that will lead back into contribute and participate even when they are old like me,” Sheets said. “They can’t run track and they can’t play baseball but this is something you can continue to do. We see a lot of families out here shooting on our Wednesday night practices.”
Sheets said in the fall they will be out recruiting shooters in different age groups to join the team and is excited about the future.
“I can see this going for a long time,” Sheets said. “We have a lot of adult support at the Moulton Gun Club and the local Pheasants Forever are real supportive too.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1