Trap shooting club offers fun for all ages

Leave your pistols and rifles at home because only shotguns are allowed at the Craig Trap Club Inc.

Located west of Craig on U.S. Highway 40, the nonprofit gun club has an active membership of around 60 and promotes activities for shotgun enthusiast of all ages.

The club sponsors three American Trapshooting Association competitions each year. Club treasurer Dick King said shooters come from all over western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The average attendance for a competition is between 50 and 60 people.

"If you're are an avid shooter, you can find a competition somewhere every weekend," King said.

He said the club and its members are very supportive of youth competitions and work with many groups, including 4-H.

Derrick Willshire, a ninth-grade homeschooler from Craig, is one of the teens who uses the club for practice and competitions.

"I'm going into my third year shooting here," Willshire said. "I think it's something I will do all my life."

Wednesday night, Willshire hit his first 25 clay pigeons without a miss. At some point, new members will each put a rock in a hat and shoot it. The hat then goes on the wall as a trophy.

"It's a kind of tradition here," King said.

He said the number of young people who participate varies from year to year, and that they have a great time with the young shooters.

The club is open to youths for practice shoots at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. It's also open at 6 p.m. Thursdays in the summer. During the winter, the club is open at 6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays.

"It is surprising, but winters are busier here. We come at 20 below -- the cold doesn't interfere with trap shooting and we have lights," King said.

The targets or clay pigeons are sold to earn money to support the club. Members pay $3.50 for 25. Nonmembers pay $4.50. An annual family membership costs $45 and entitles members to full use of the clubhouse with keys to the gate.

"It's like most hobbies; it can be expensive," King said. "But it's a lot of fun, too."

The club has five trap houses, or shooting areas, and an automated system featuring voice-activated "pulls." The National Rifle Association gave the club a $5,000 grant to help pay for the system, which cost about $8,000, King said.

Members pitch in to keep the club in good financial shape, he added.

"We put on a new roof and a new ceiling recently," he said. "The members are good about funding and doing the work around here."

Anyone interested in joining the club should come out Thursday nights or call Dick King at 824-6544.

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