It’s a sport that is no where near new to the United States, or North Dakota, but it is something new to Bismarck State College. Clay target shooting. And the growth of the sport is just beginning, with the help of these collegiate athletes.
“When I come here it was amazing how many kids are into this, and it’s just great to see because it’s the future of the sport,” freshman Cade Steffan said.
The future starts at the top with Bismarck State College creating a collegiate trap team in the fall of 2020.
“We didn’t think about, ‘oh yeah it’s going to be easy coming into this.’ We all knew that it was going to be hard right away, and it was quite surprising when we found out that we had won it,” Steffan said.
The program found immediate success, winning the USA College Clay Target League’s Conference National Trap Title.
Now the Clay Dusters turn their attention to the spring season. That includes the top female shooter in the country, Jenna Thompson.
“It’s all a mental game,” Thompson said. “It really is. Kind of going through a rough patch and focusing on me and how I’m doing while I’m shooting, but it’s also the best thing to encourage your teammates which brings me up as well.”
Focusing on their own team is only half of the job. Most of the Clay Dusters double as coaches for younger shooters, growing the sport one shot at a time.
“It means everything to me,” Thompson said. “I mean, I hope to one day get my kids into this. It’s such an amazing sport. It teaches you sportsmanship, how to work with a team, also how to individually mentally prepare yourself for this.”
BSC is making team chemistry look easy with their success early on, but while they focus on the targets ahead, they know the real target is now on their backs as everyone chases the champions
“Just the camaraderie of us being out here, and you know the team effort and everybody getting along, it’s just what keeps us going, and you know we’re all trying to shoot better than each other, which improves our scores, but we’re always there for each other to help each other out,” Steffan said.