Chisholm Public Schools’ trap shooting team recently was awarded a sizable grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation for ammunition and operating expenses.
The team received $1,350 in funding and 60 flats of shells. The 60 flats equates to 600 boxes of 25 shells, which will allow for 600 practice rounds, said Chisholm Superintendent Roydon Tilley. A practice round is made up of 25 shells, with five shooters on a line shooting five shells each before rotating.
“It’s an unbelievable deal for our program because it allows our kids to shoot practice rounds without incurring any out-of-pocket expenses for them,” Tilley said. “And we’ve been in the business for a couple years now, but this ensures that they’ll be able to do that going forward here as well.”
This year, Tilley estimated the middle and high school teams shot about 800 practice rounds during the season, between mid-February to late April.
“It’ll just about cover our ammunition expense next year,” Tilley said.
Chisholm’s shooting program began five years ago with a $10,000 endowment grant from the MidwayUSA Foundation and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
That endowment’s grown every year through fundraisers and other money, and now is at $76,000, Tilley said. The teams get five percent of that endowment in funding each year.
In addition to funding from the NRAF and MidwayUSA, Tilley said the Grand National Quail Foundation helps fund the team too, and provided $1,250 this year.
The team also does fundraisers throughout the year for additional funding and materials, which MidwayUSA Foundation also helps out with, while offering fundraising items for no charge.
Without the funding received previous years and for the upcoming year, Tilley said each student would have to pay $5 per round. However, the funding has allowed the students to take part without incurring significant expenses.
“These organizations, they have figured out a way to make shooting relevant for these kids and to keep it popular with these kids as they grow up to be hunters ... and the shooting sports are growing big across the nation,” Tilley said. “These groups are doing a great job of promoting these shooting sports in the youth, so it’s exciting, we have a lot of fun with it.
Chisholm’s team has seen success during competitions the last several years too. This year, Tilley said the high school team placed fourth in the state shoot, and the middle school team placed second.
Student Emma Tennell won first place as the high female shooter for all divisions for the state shoot on April 26, and she won first in the individual competition in the junior division for male and female, Tilley said. Abbi John placed second in the female senior division individual competition.
The middle school team won the state championship in 2015 and 2016, and both teams finished third at the state competition in 2017.
Chisholm trap shooters begin practicing in February each year and attend regional competitions in March and state competitions in May.