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Estacada trap team prepares for first season

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The members of the Estacada Rangers Clay Target Team, coached by Aaron Nelder, will begin their first season in April

High school students in Estacada will soon have the opportunity to learn the basics of trap shooting.

The members of the Estacada Rangers Clay Target Team, coached by Aaron Nelder, will begin their first season in April. The group is a part of the Oregon State High School Clay Target League.

The team also includes participants from Sandy and Oregon City in addition to those from the Estacada area. Nelder estimated that 15 team members are from Estacada and Eagle Creek and another 15 are from Sandy and Oregon City.

During competitions, each participant receives points for the number of clay targets they hit while firing a shotgun, with the goal of hitting all 25 targets.

"It's about consistency, and trying to hit all 25," Nelder said.

Traditionally, if a participant scores a perfect 25, participants will shoot the luck out of the winner's hat.

"The goal is to lose your hat," Nelder added.

He said the sport often appeals to a variety of participants.

"The club provides an opportunity for non-athletic kids to compete in something with skills," Nelder said, adding that another appeal of the activity is its individual nature. "It's based on their own scores. They're not competing against anyone else."

Because of this, participants are typically eager to beat their previous scores.

"It's a personal challenge," Nelder said. "There's that drive to get one more, and one more."

Nelder noted that members of the Estacada community have been excited about the group.

"There's been a lot of interest," he said. "A lot of parents have been asking, 'Where was this when we were kids?"

He added that safety is a big priority for the team.

Before participating, participants take an online safety course and get certified in range safety by the coach.

"Everything is about safety," Nelder said. "The more knowledge of guns they have, the safer they are."

Sign ups for this year's team are closed, but the group is taking names of those who wish to participate next season.