BURLEY — It was a bad day for birds.
At least, those of the clay pigeon variety.
Members of the Burley High School Trap Team faced off Saturday against first responders in the first ever Green vs Blue Benefit Shoot at the Burley Trap Club.
Each shooter had 50 “birds” — clay discs hurled through the air at about 40 mph — to accrue their point total.
A downed bird earned a point. Misses counted for nothing.
To down a bird, shooters had to strike the clay pigeon anywhere on its surface. It did not matter if the bird shattered or was just clipped, as long as the hit was visible to the judge.
Throughout the competition, shooters took turns firing five shots from five different positions at their clay pigeon launcher. Then teams rotated launchers. This ensures that if a launcher was faulty, it didn’t just affect a single team.
After hitting 47 out of 50 birds, Raft River seventh grader Zak Stanger took home the prize for first place.
In the Best of the Best category, a miss and you’re out competition, Burley senior Andrew Winningham earned the top spot.
The event served as a joint fundraiser for the Burley High School Trap Team as well as the police and fire departments participating.
Funds for the trap team will be used to pay for shells and targets.
Besides raising money, the event also created an opportunity to educate community members about the youth trap team. Although technically a club through the school, competitors are still required to maintain a 2.5 GPA to participate. Those with a 3.0 GPA are eligible to earn a varsity letter.
Head coach Colleen Parkin took some time before the competition began to speak with law enforcement officers about the program.
“Youth shooting is growing,” she said. “It’s becoming the fastest, safest high school sport.”
Unlike contact sports, trap shooters don’t have to deal with the possibility of torn ACLs or other injuries obtained through competition. Shooters are required to follow all safety procedures, including wearing eye and ear protection, and ammunition is never loaded into the gun until directly before the competitor fires.
“We go over safety protocols all the time,” Parkin said.
The Burley Trap Team has two competition seasons, one in the spring and the other in the fall.
Their state tournament will be held in Boise on May 7 and 8.