Trap shooting continues to grow

Trap shooters take aim at the Izaak Walton Range, where the Pekin and Cardinal trap shooting program will be holding practices during the upcoming season. The two area school districts have officially announced a partnership to form a trap shooting team for the 2019-2020 school year.

PEKIN — ​The Pekin and Cardinal school districts have officially announced a partnership to form a trap shooting team for the 2019-2020 school year.

Between the two schools, approximately 40 students have shown interest in joining the program. The school districts have appreciated the opportunity to share with Ottumwa Community School District over the past few years.

The partnership between Pekin and Cardinal will allow experienced participants to hit the ground running for the new program. Jim and Jill Silvers were instrumental in advocating for the development of a Trap Shooting team.

“We are excited about this opportunity that we will be able to provide to our students and look forward to working with Cardinal. This will allow students to participate in a school activity that are not interested in the Fine Arts or athletic programs," Pekin superintendent Dave Harper said. "This will be a great partnership with Cardinal and another example of small schools working together to met the needs our students in Southeast Iowa."

Jim Silvers, who will be the coach of the team, is a lifelong resident and graduate of the Pekin Community School District.

“This sport gives girls, boys, novices, and experienced shooters (enrolled in grades 7-12 during the 2019-2020 school year) the opportunity to safely and enjoyably participate in a high quality team-based sport that is focused on the safe handling and use of firearms," Silver said. "Competitions and weekly practices will run from March through May of 2020 with the possibility of State and National competitions for qualifiers to follow.

"Practices will be hosted by the Ottumwa Isaac Walton Club. Required equipment consists of a 12-gauge shotgun in good working condition and a desire to learn. Fundraising opportunities will be available to help offset associated costs.”

"We are committed to providing our students a wide variety of after school activities that allow them to grow 'soft skills' that are needed for the 21st century workforce," Cardinal superintendent Joel Pedersen added. "Both archery and trap allow kids an opportunity to be involved in a sport outside of our traditional sports offerings.​ We are also looking into a creation of a fishing club to help foster that passion as well."