STORY AND PHOTOS BY LARAMIE MOYER
VIDEO BY MARK SCHUCKMAN
The Fort Hays State shooting team started off its season recently and fully intends to have an extraordinary year. The team began the season with 27 shooters, with 20 upperclassmen and seven incoming freshmen. The freshmen have already competed in two meets — the freshman only meet, as well as last weekend’s meet held right here in Hays on September 14-16th.
The competition was co-ed, and the Fort Hays team has five female competitors. There are four major events including; trap, skeet, wobble, and double trap. Last weekend, the meet also had an optional five-stand that didn’t contribute to the final score. This weekend the team competed against 13 different schools with over 170 participants. The meet started Friday at 9 p.m. and then finished Sunday afternoon with results and awards. Fort Hays finished at the top, winning three of the four main events. They took second in double trap teams by only four points. Riley Ross of Fort Hays also took the High Overall individual title with a composite score 388 points.
Dr. Duane Shepherd, head coach for the last 13 years, says that the team is always striving to make an impact on the community in addition to their competing. They do anywhere from 800 to 900 hours of community service a year. He wants the team to be competitors but to develop character.
“You need to want to be here,” Shepherd said, meaning the kids have to be willing to work for it. The Fort Hays shooting team is proud to represent their school, their team and themselves.
“This is competitive. We are competing in the top 2 to 3 percent of the nation” Shepherd said. “Being able to practice is very important to the competitors. They [the shooters] could not do what they do without the Hays City Sportsman Club.”
The Hays City Sportsman Club provides the team a place to practice Tuesdays and Thursdays and also hosts all the meets.
“They should have a great year and it’s gonna be fun to watch.” said Teresa Shepherd, wife of the FHSU shooting team’s head coach, Dr. Duane Shepherd. Teresa, is affectionately referred to by the team as Mama Shep.
On Sept. 28 to 30, the team will be co-hosting a meet in North Platte, Neb., with the Lincoln County Wildlife Gun Club. Prairie Circuit Classic Conference Shoot is an annual event that has been held for seven consecutive years.