Crooks Gun Club Searching For Youth As Members Age

The Crooks Gun Club says there was a time when thousands of people would participate in local trap shooting tournaments. But, throughout the years, those numbers have dwindled. The club is now looking to gain interest by recruiting more youth to the sport.

Chris Erickson says a friend got him into trap shooting years ago.

“He says ‘you like to shoot’. He says, ‘just come on out and start shooting’. Well, one thing led to the next, and boom, no pun intended,” said Erickson laughing.

Erickson is now Vice President of the Crooks Gun Club. He and his girlfriend Janelle shoot in a league of 14 teams. But if you look around, other than the workers, there are hardly any kids involved.

Erickson said, “I think what’s happened is a lot of the shooters have gotten older and then we start to see them drift away.”

The Gun Club has around 150 active members. The average age is estimated to be around 50-years-old.

The club admits that the sport is expensive, and kids have a lot of other options in school.  Erickson also believes gun-related events across the country have kept some away.

Erickson said, “It would be better to for them to be taught properly how to handle a shotgun, how to load it, everything involved with this rather than dad just have a gun at home.”

And with trap shooting, anyone can be involved.

Crooks Gun Club Board Member Chad Vinatieri said, “You don’t have to be big and strong, male or female, it doesn’t make any difference. You’re basically competing with yourself. It’s a mental process.”

The club is hoping its new youth coaches will start attracting more kids and schools to trap shooting in the state.

“We really haven’t had a lot of youth shooters until the last couple of years simply because we really didn’t have the coaches or a program put in place for this,” said Erickson.

Vinatieri said, “If the kids want to come out, we’d be more than happy to help them.”

Membership at the club is just $35 a year. They have leagues you can join, plus a manual trap thrower available seven days a week for hunters who want to practice.

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