Taking a shot at nationals

By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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One of the benefits of a job like mine is that it isn?t all about baseball, basketball and football. I get introduced to non-traditional sports and some with a tradition that goes back centuries. Of course, the javelin, lacrosse and archery predate shooting but once gun powder was discovered a whole new sport was born. Shooting has advance through the ages and comes in many form these days and certainly not all are considered sport. There may be competitions for cannoneer competitions or the like but as of yet I?ve never been invited to one. Hunting is a sport unto its own but trap and skeet shooting actually involves competition with set guidelines and rules. It?s fun and one of the best parts is you don?t have to dress and clean a trap after you hit it. Located just past the Lincoln Air Field is a small gun club called Coon Creek Trap and Skeet. The group belongs to the California Youth Shooting Sports Association or CYSSA. They compete in trap shooting. Trap shooting involves trying to hit a clay pigeon moving through the air away from the shooter using a shotgun. The members are from the around the area and are coached by Jon Roth. He invited me out to a barbecue the parents were having for the team. They shoot in teams of five and this year they placed second at state and have been invited to compete at nationals in Las Vegas later this month. The first thing one learns about these clubs is the emphasis placed on safety. They have athletes that range from grade school to seniors in high school and the CYSSA boasts a record of no accidents. It?s something perhaps former vice president Dick Chaney could have benefitted from. ?Our number one goal is safety. Our number two goal is have fun,? said Roth. ?And our third goal is to do their best.? To become an accomplished athlete in shooting requires no less dedication to one?s sport than does baseball or basketball. And although many athletes abandon their sports as they age, the values of safe and sensible shooting is something these athletes will take with them all of their lives. Like golf, shooting is both individual and team oriented. I noticed it was one of the things the Coon Creek athletes seemed to like was the camaraderie of belonging. Their safety training was evident in just the way they handled their shotguns and performed on the shooting range. Of course, family and friends were present at the barbecue and the repast delicious. I was able to get a demonstration of just how well disciplined the shooting team was. I found I felt much safer photographing them at close range that I would have felt photographing a number of golfers I play with. A gun cannot be trained but the user can be. Learning the value of respect makes us all safer. Look for more on the Coon Creek Trap and Skeet Club in the News Messenger and Placer Herald.