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franklin county times

Local trap shooters win accolades

J.R. Tidwell/FCT A group of trap shooters fire at clay targets at Cedar Hill Trap Range in Belgreen.

The teams that represented Cedar Hill Trap Range of Belgreen at the Alabama State Trap Shooting Championship in Montgomery came home with several awards and accolades.

Cedar Hill had teams that took first place in the Presub, Sub-Junior and Junior competitions, which are based on age groups. Presub is for ages 11 and under, Sub-Junior for ages 12-14 and Junior for ages 15-18. The other group, Senior, is for ages 18-23.

Cedar Hill also produced a team that took second place in the Sub-Junior competition, along with a shooter who had the highest overall score in the Academics Integrity Marksmanship (AIM) competition. All told the trap range brought home 39 trophies.

The Cedar Hill Presub team is Tristen Stephens, Mason Bragwell, Landon Hill, Caleb Mays and Cheston Tucker.

The Sub-Junior team that took first place is made up of Logan Taylor, Levi Hargett, John Morrow, Cole Willingham and Porter James.

Taylor also had a good showing at Grand America competition in Sparta, Ill., last year. He became $100,000 richer after winning a national shooting event that included adult opponents. Despite his young age, Taylor has a sensible plan on what to do with the money when he gets a little older.

“I’m going to buy a pickup truck and pay for my college,” he said.

Taylor also took first place in Sub-Junior competitions for doubles — shooting two clay targets in the air in succession instead of one at a time — and in handicap —, which means shooting targets from farther away than the first competition distance of 18 yards.

The Sub-Junior team members that finished second are Eric Ledlow, Jace Gallagher, John Isaac Wilson, Michael Trousdale and Caleb Mansell.

The Junior team that took first place in the 15-18 age group is made up of Hunter Smith, Cody Willingham, Collin Herban, Isaac Fleming and Connor Mansell.

Cody Willingham also won the Junior handicap competition

Evan Hargett and Cody Lowery competed in individual competitions, with Hargett attaining the high overall score in AIM.

Evan Hargett was also the singles handicap champion in AA Class and Cody Willingham in B Class Those competitions have levels based on experience combined with your shooting average.

Bragwell took home first place in Sub-Junior doubles; Levi Hargett won D Class singles and his older brother Evan took first in Junior Class singles.

Bragwell won the Sub-Junior class as well as first place all-around in B Class.

The next stop for the teams from Belgreen is the World Shooting Complex in Sparta, Ill., for the Grand America competition, the same one where Taylor won the big money last year.

These competitions are based around getting young people involved in trap shooting. Here is a basic rundown for those who do not understand what the sport involves.

A trap range consists of five stations starting at 18 yards behind a target. Some kind of device hurls a clay target into the air, and the shooter fires at the projectile.

Each shooter — in the basic version of the competition — fires five shells at five targets in each of the five shooting spots. This means that one round of trap shooting means shooting 25 shells at 25 targets.

How well an individual/team does in the different rounds is totaled to make the score. The best teams are those that rarely miss a target.

The weapon of choice for trap shooting is the shotgun, which may be used in a single-barrel, double-barrel (i.e. over under) or semi-automatic format depending on the competition.

Each course has a starting line at 18 yards away from a target, which marks the first firing line. Other lines are marked further away from the starting line for handicap competitions, again meaning firing further away from the targets.

Trap shooting is not a difficult sport to pick up, it just takes the proper instruction in safely handling a gun and how to affectively fire at targets.

At Cedar Hill Trap Range, a round of targets will only set you back a little over $4, and a box of 25 shells is not that expensive either. The gun is another matter, however, with shotgun prices usually ranging over $1,000.

Still, kids in Franklin County that come to Cedar Hill enjoy the experience.

“It’s fun, it’s hot and it builds character,” Evan Hargett said. “I’ve always liked shooting guns, and I was pretty good at trap shooting.”

“I love it,” Smith said. “Next to church it’s my favorite thing. To begin with I was nervous, but as I got used to it I became more confident.”

“This is some of the best groups of kids you’ll ever see,” said Wade Willingham, trap coach and owner of Cedar Hill.

The owners of Cedar Hill, Willingham and James C. King, may be reached at 256-332-4448 and 256-332-1421 respectively for more information about the range or trap shooting in general. They also have a website at www.cedarhilltraprange.com.