Ballard Clay Bombers at Stockdale Gun Club

Staff Writer
Tri-County Times
Ballard Clay Bombers at Stockdale Gun Club

Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, this write-up from May 14th’s shoot at the Stockdale Gun Club outside of Ackley is going to be short and sweet — take a look at the attached photo.

Yes, that is the flag pole situated between trap three and four — and it was on the ‘not as windy’ end of the field. We somehow drew the short straw and ended up on the elevated east end of the grounds, fully exposed to a west-northwest wind that battered shooters with sustained gusts pushing 31 mph. Couple that with temperatures that barely made 40 degrees and you had the makings of what was a very tough day of shooting at a place where all of the traps face due north. In his book “Score Better at Trap,” shooting great Fred Missildine had this to say about days like Saturday, “…when the wind is really gusty, changing velocity quickly and shifting- even turning 180 degrees, back and forth — well, go as far as positive thinking can take you, and then try prayer.”

I saw some long faces on Saturday given the scores that were being posted — and that is understandable, but to those athletes I direct a comment from former collegiate and Olympic trap Coach Mike Linn, “No one remembers you for your bad days, but they’ll always remember you for the days you posted good scores.” Brush this one off and move on — learn from the experience. With a left to right cross wind, left targets and some straight-aways will climb, stall and curl, while right targets will be flat and fast. Raising your hold points slightly may help.

On the plus side, I saw McGuire Beirman run his final four targets of the day off of station two, several of which were climbing left birds; he gave me a thumbs up and a smile after that! Patriot Berger made the most of right bound targets off of stations four and five to bolster his score for the day. Thomsen Harrison persevered through the tough conditions to post one of his better total scores of the season; same for Aiden Metcalfe, whose ‘wait and see’ style allowed for a relatively stable, though falling target, he broke time and time again. Jake Frederick saw (and broke) a target off of station three that he’ll never likely see again this side of a “Springing Teal” on a Sporting Clays course. The target was a straight-away that made it about 10 feet out of the trap house and then shot straight in the air. All present were in relative awe when Jake broke it in half, about 25 yards directly above the trap house!

Varsity Clay Bombers showed their maturity and experience to overcome the conditions with the squad of Owen Zunkel, Jed Miller, Jarrett Miller, Nolan Payne and Sydney Pierson taking home third place with a 190 (high for the varsity was 205). On their way to securing that medal, Sydney Pierson’s 34 was good for fifth place amongst varsity ladies, as was Jarrett Miller’s team-high 42 in the men’s division.

Long story short, our athletes believed and succeeded Saturday. Granted, these successes might be measured in one, two or a handful of once in a lifetime shots, but they were all earned. Tuck those away and flush the rest. They’ve got plenty of chances for redemption under better conditions ahead of them.

-By Assistant Coach John Paulin; Photos courtesy of Missy Miller