By Kevin Korinek - For the Telegraph
BRIGHTON — On Nilo Farms in Brighton, the smell of gunpowder wafted over tall grass in the rising heat of Saturday morning, where Marquette Catholic High School sponsored their 13th Sporting Clay Tournament.
All proceeds went to support school scholarships and the athletics department.
Entry fees ranged from $110 for adults to $160 for an adult and child. Shooters were challenged with firing shotguns at fast-moving clay discs. There were 15 different shooting stations of varying difficulty – while some discs were thrown high up in the air, some bounced before slowing down, making the moving targets more demanding to hit.
“It’s become a very diverse event, with a mixture of young and old, as well as some families getting involved,” he said. “We’ve raised several thousand dollars, which will go to actual programs – not utilities or anything like that.”
Mary Hough, development coordinator for the school, said the shoot has become a great success as the competition continues to grow every year.
“We have anywhere from 75 to 100 shooters every year,” she said. “It’s just a fun day for shooters to come out – experienced shooters and inexperienced shooters. Anybody can sign up.”
The contest works like a golf tournament, where the high scorer is awarded alongside a second and third place winner. The event also featured games, a raffle for a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, provided by Sam’s Pawn Shop and lunch catered by Johnson’s Corner Restaurant.
Emma Long, 14, is a sophomore at Marquette and was holding a shotgun nearly as tall as herself. After her dad taught her how to shoot, she decided to join the school’s trap shooting team.
“I like it a lot,” she said. “I’ve never been really good with sports with balls or anything like that, so this is a way for me to participate in a school sports and be good at it,” she laughed.
She was on the C Team last year as a freshman, but this year she hopes to move up to a higher ranking. She said the secret to shooting is all about taking aim.
“The trick is just to get your sight down. Once you have that you can really hit any target,” she said.
Hough enjoyed the the camaraderie of the event and was thankful for the bright weather. When asked if she’s ever participated before, she laughed and shook her head no.
“One of these years, I’ll shoot one time – just to get the feel for it,” she said.
And while she may not feel like she fits the mold, the event draws many shooters from all walks of life and she encourages anyone to come out and “give it a shot.”