Clay Target Team Builds on Competition Success

January 20, 2012
Braxton L. Elliott '16

ShootingThe Hampden-Sydney Clay Target Club was re-chartered by the Student Senate in 2009 and has experienced steady growth in numbers and participation since. In 2011 the competition team was formed and began holding weekly practices.

In their debut competition the Hampden-Sydney Clay Target team traveled to Blacksburg on November 12-13 to shoot in the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech. The shooters were Cody Bailey '15, Tucker Bulleit '15, Zack Dodson '15, Daniel Adams '14, and Braxton Elliott '12. The shoot involved a round of 100 sporting clays and two rounds of five stand on Saturday at Dublin Clays in Dublin and then two rounds of trap doubles at Izaak Walton Gun Club in Christiansburg on Sunday for a total of 250 targets.

The team took 3rd Place in sporting clays, down only four targets behind 2nd Place Virginia Tech and took 3rd Place for five stand as well, only one target behind Virginia Tech.  Hampden-Sydney finished in 4thPlace overall and put two shooters in the top 10. Tucker Bulleit rounded out the top ten individual overall scores, and Cody Bailey came out on top as high overall shooter. Cody tied for 1st Place in sporting clays, took 1st Place in five stand, and tied for 2nd Place in trap doubles.

The Club now consists of a recreational side and a competition side under the same set of officers. The recreational side exists to provide students a safe environment to learn about and participate in clay target shooting without any focus on competition. The club promotes safe gun handling and aims to introduce students to the world of clay target shooting.

The competition team was the original plan of the club when it was chartered, but there was not enough interest until this year. The team currently consists of twelve students, which includes nine freshman, two sophomores, and one junior. Of these students, one is a master's level clay target shooter and a previous member of ths Junior All-American Squad. Two others have extensive shooting experience and have won various awards in their shooting careers. The primary objective of the competition team is to compete at collegiate clay target competitions, the largest of which is the ACUI Collegiate Nationals in San Antonio, Texas. 

Presently, the members travel 75 miles to Brushy Mountain Gun Club in Gretna, to practice sporting clays and 25 miles to Arrowhead Gun Club in Chase City to practice skeet and trap. The club received funds from the Student Finance Committee and an alumnus to help support practice and competition costs. With the support of President Howard and the College, we are looking forward to shooting in other collegiate competitions.