Since age 11, Hilmar High School student Josh Lopes has had a passion for trapshooting. He spent his days shooting at clay pigeons with his father at his grandparents’ ranch, honing his skills and developing a love for the sport. Now, Lopes has been shooting competitively for seven years and is headed to Lindenwood University in the fall on a trapshooting scholarship.
Trapshooting is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting, which is shotgun shooting at clay targets. In trapshooting, the targets are launched from a single “house” or machine, generally away from the shooter. The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation hosts team-based shooting tournaments for student athletes aged elementary through college.
Currently, Lopes shoots for the Los Banos Tiger Trap Team, a team in the Scholastic Clay Target Program of the SSSF. The youth shooting sports club participates in a wide variety of American trapshooting events in California and across the nation and is the largest youth trapshooting club in California with 105 shooters.
It was at the SCTP National Championships in Illinois where Lopes first met Lindenwood University shotgun sports coach Shawn Dulohery, who introduced him to the world of collegiate shooting sports. The university is widely recognized for their shooting team, winning twelve consecutive national shooting titles since 2004. Lopes was a freshman at the time, but had dreams of shooting at the collegiate level.
“Ever since Josh met the coach for Lindenwood, he has just had this passion for wanting to go to school there,” said Lopes’ mother, Amy Lopes.
Now a senior, Lopes was recently offered a scholarship to attend Lindenwood University for both his academic achievements and trapshooting prowess. Before he joins the Lindenwood shooting sports team this fall, Lopes continues to trapshoot and learn different disciplines within the sport, helping him to become a better-rounded competitor. Lopes was also selected to the Amateur Trap Association All State Trap Team, which is comprised of the five top shooters in the state.
“I think it’s important that kids know there are opportunities for scholarships through other sports,” said Amy. “It’s not just about football, soccer or baseball – there are other options available.”