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Clay shooting rising in popularity

Clay shooting rising in popularity

Clay shooting is rising in popularity as a sport among all ages in the Central Valley.


POSTED June 11, 2013 8:38 p.m.

Clay pigeon shooting is gradually gaining attraction here in the Central Valley and also becoming a very popular sport in the United States. Clay shooting is the art of shooting at special flying targets, known as clay pigeons or clay targets, with a shotgun.

There are many clay sports, the one most people are familiar with are trap and skeet, and then others are five sand, which involves five different positions and clays coming from various places. There are normally about 15 shooting stations in a clay shooting course, and at every station there are about six to eight targets. They are random and simulate different bird flights. In a round of clay shooting there about 100 targets, which take about two hours to complete — much like golf.

“It is a lot like golf,” said David Tupper of Rooster Ranch in Hilmar. “It is a good outdoor recreation activity. It is a great family recreation sport. The best way to do clay shooting is to pay a visit and see how it is like. In the abstract, it is not as real without trying it.”

Participants in the sport come from a wide variety of social backgrounds with a particular increase in the number of women and children coming into it, making clay pigeon shooting more and more a family orientated sport. The sport is currently enjoyed by 9 to 90 year olds of either sex. It is a hobby that can be enjoyed with just a few friends on a very informal basis, in a more organized fashion at a local gun club or shooting school, or at the competition level.

In the area, the nearest course for clay shooting is Rooster Ranch located in Hilmar. The ranch offers a 15 station sporting clay course along a meandering intermittent slough. The stations provide a safe but challenging shooting experience for the novice to the most experienced shooter.  One hundred targets thrown by automatic machines present shots resembling "springing teal," "bouncing rabbit," "escaping grouse," "decoyed ducks" and many other shots using the natural cover.

Rooster Ranch is club that is part of the National Sporting Clay Association. Rooster holds sanctioned tournaments, 10 per year, and also has benefit shootings. The next benefit shoot is for Camp Pacifica, a camp for hearing impaired children. Area Lions Clubs are hosting the Camp Pacifica benefit shoot on June 23.  The $90 entry fee includes breakfast, lunch, and the chance, based on class, to win 11 $50 first place gift certificates or shells back for 2nd place.  A raffle, poker run and a shooters gift bag — hat and towel — round out the event.

There are expected to be around 150 shooters with the majority being competitive shooters, as it is a registered tournament. However, the event  is open to public and anybody who wishes to can participate. The event will begin around 8:30 a.m. and should last about three to four hours.

“These are proceeds that go to support Camp Pacifica,” Tupper said about the annual event. “We try to raise funds for these kids because they do not always have all the resources for them. It is for these kids and to be able to have a program to help them is just wonderful. Anything we can do to help, we do.”

For more information about the Camp Pacifica benefit shoot call 667-0483, or visit camppacifica.org or roosterranchonline.com. 

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