By CRISTINA JANNEY
Hays USD 489 has approved a new Hays High Trap Team.
Chris Dinkel, sponsor and coach for the club, said the driving force behind forming the trap shooting club came from students. An open sign up meeting for the club was Wednesday.
The students will be competing in trap competitions starting in April. The students will be shooting locally at the Hays City Sportsmen's Club. A range master is required for all team shooting sessions. The scores league-wide are compiled electronically, and then the students are ranked.
Students only travel for state and national competitions.
As of 2018, Kansas had 72 participating teams with more than 2,000 participants. It is not a Kansas State High School Activities Association sanctioned activity.
The students all have to provide their own firearms. Firearms and ammunition can't be stored on school property. When the students travel, firearms have to be kept in a separate non-school vehicle. They also must be secured except when the students are competing.
The school district also can't pay for ammunition. The school could pay for targets, but there was no money allocated this year for the program.
The club will have to pay for all its own expenses. It plans to start fundraising immediately. The cost per student per year is about $250 to $300.
Dinkel said he thought there are some groups in Hays that will be willing to support the club financially.
"Although this is not a cheap venture, I do think there are opportunities there to fund it," Dinkel said.
The club has already elected officers, which include Monique William, president; Jordan Hunsicker, vice president; Madalyn William, secretary; Cooper Shubert, treasurer; and Nolan Claus, public relations.
Monique William was shooting for the Russell High School Trap Team because HHS did not have a team.
The students have already written by-laws for their club, which include the Kansas State High School Clay Target League regulations and an emergency plan. The club also adopted the HHS and USD 489 handbooks.
All registered athletes are insured by the league’s accident insurance policy, which is covered through the USA trap league. All registered coaches and volunteers are insured by the league’s general liability insurance policy. The school is not responsible for the insurance.
The club went a step beyond league rules on safety training and are requiring members to take both the hunter safety course and have the Student Athlete Firearm Education (SAFE) certification.
"We don't want to be half-hearted about this. We want to be structured. We want students who are serious about it as a sport and a sporting event," Dinkel said. "We want to put education and safety out in the forefront of our program."
Dinkel said he said he did not know how many students the club will attract this year. With four coaches, the club can have up to 40 students.
"In today's trials on the topic of firearms, I personally think it is a time to educate and demonstrate and provide an avenue for students who see the great outdoors as a sport to pursue that sport."
Shooting sports shows appropriate and constructive means of using a firearm, Dinkel said.
"I think this is a really positive spin and push by students and parents to provide an opportunity for kids to pursue their interests," Dinkel said.
Dinkel noted shooting sports can be a lifelong hobby. It is also a sport that offers college scholarships. About 300 schools have shooting sports programs at the collegiate level.
Monique William said the sport is also accessible. She shoots in a league with a young women who has only one arm. A gentleman at the shooting club shoots from a wheelchair.
Coaches include Dinkel, Alex Ford, HHS teacher; Ben Hunsicker, parent; and Grady William, parent.
If you wish to donate to the team, you can contact Dinkel at the high school at firstname.lastname@example.org.