Sports: On Target

With the echoing crack of a 12-gauge shotgun, the spinning orange disc disintegrated into a puff of clay shards that plinked upon the thousands already scattered among the grass at the Oklahoma City Gun Club grounds in Arcadia. Charles Roller may be relatively new to competitive shooting, but it’s rare that a clay pigeon escapes him these days.

The Edmond resident is one of thousands across the state who have fallen in love with the fast-growing world of competitive shooting.

The idea of shotgun sports may not immediately appeal to everyone, but the satisfaction of watching a clay target ripped apart in the air is addictive and near-universal. “It’s very fun and exciting to bust the clay targets,” said Will Massid of Heartland Outdoors Gun Range in Edmond. “It’s invigorating because you can say, ‘I did that!’”

“If you like bowling or golf, where it’s an individual sport, you’re going to love competitive shooting, whether it be trap, skeet, or sporting clays,” says Massid says. “You’re going to get to make some noise.”

Roller cautions it’s not a good sport for people who feel the need to win all the time. “You have to crawl before you can walk,” he says. “You can go out and practice all day and it doesn’t mean anything without someone teaching you what you’re doing wrong.”

Massid suggests first-timers start with trap. “Get to know the gun and learn how to break those targets going out in front of you before side-to-side,” he says. “Rent first; don’t buy, in case you don’t like it. But I’ve never seen people who didn’t like the sport — once they try it, they’re hooked.”

While skeet shooting, participants stand on stations situated in a half-circle