DENMARK, Wis. (WBAY) – It’s the fastest growing high school sport in Wisconsin: trap shooting. In Denmark, it’s attracting dozens of kids of all ages and backgrounds. Some, getting into the sport as 6th graders.
Thursday nights at the Maribel Sportsmen’s Club are busy in the summer.
“It’s really relaxing to just come out and shoot,” said 15-year-old Georgia Patzlaff, “and you get to meet different people.”
Andy Patzlaff is the trap shooting coach at Denmark High School.
“Our program, we started signing people up for the spring of 2017,” said Andy Patzlaff, “we’ve gone from 24 students, to 52, and that’s out of a high school that has a little under 500 students.”
Andy also runs the summer league at the sportsmen’s club, with high schools, and 6th-8th graders.
“The shooting sports, when done correctly, and done with positive role models,” said Andy, “it’s fun, it’s safe, and it’s something people can do for their entire life.”
But it’s more than teaching a skill.
“The first rule is safety, safety is number one,” said Andy Patzlaff, “the second rule is have fun, and those are the only rules that matter to us.”
To give you perspective on how fast they’re growing, last year, they went through about 170 cases of shotgun shells. This year, they’re projecting to go through about 350 cases.
It’s also a sport that’s attracting girls, like Andy Patzlaff’s daughter, Georgia.
“I didn’t ever want to shoot this,” said Georgia Patzlaff, “and one day I was just sitting there, watching my family shoot, and I’m just like, hey, that actually looks fun. So they handed me a 20 gauge, and they’re like, hey, good, you’re actually going to try this. And I just loved it from my first shot.”
It’s a sport they’re sure will continue to grow.
“It doesn’t matter your age, sex, religion, creed, color, race, ethnicity. It doesn’t matter,” said Andy Patzlaff, “we want everybody to be able to shoot, and everybody to be able to have fun.”
Not only is it connecting kids, and teaching them lessons, there are also a lot of high school students getting college scholarships for trap shooting.