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It’s been reported that trap shooting is growing in popularity in a lot of circles, but particularly as a high school sport. This story from shows just how fast that growth is happening.

In 2009, according to the story, the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship drew 30 shooters. That was its first year. Last month, there were 5,134 shooters along with more than 20,000 spectators and a bunch of sponsors.

Trap shooting is officially the fastest growing sport in Minnesota high schools and was recently introduced in neighboring Wisconsin and North Dakota, according to the story.

“This is the best thing to happen to the shooting sports in 50 years,” said Dennis Knudson, a 74-year-old lifelong trap shooter, after watching his grandson compete. “It’s so fun to see the youngsters stepping up. It will preserve the sport, and they’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”

It’s also a boon for the firearms industry and retailers alike. Gun companies are making more products for smaller bodies and lower budgets, like the lightweight Winchester SXP Trap shotgun. Retailers like Cabela’s also underwrite events and donate to teams.

The league estimates teams’ spending will top $5 million this year, the story says.

The competitors are more than enthusiastic. The story quotes Zac Olsen, 15, who is a member of the Lakeville South High School team, which he joined after an injury ended a budding gymnastics career.

“All you need to do is practice,” he said. “You don’t have to be super fast or super strong.”

His mother was initially repulsed by the idea of have guns in the family’s home. Now, she has bought Zac a $1,400 SKB Century III 12-gauge and a Glock 17 to nurture his newfound interest in becoming a police officer.

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