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May 23, 2018

1/26/2018 7:27:00 AM
Harshaw Sports Club expects 100 youth shooters at first nationally sanctioned event

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer

The Harshaw Sports Club will be part of the first nationally sanctioned youth clays tournament held in northern Wisconsin on Saturday, May 19. The Chequamegon/Phillips "S.E.a.L" High School shooting team will be co-hosting the even with the sports club. This event, organized by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) and the Scholastic Clays and Trap Program (SCTP) will be a feeder event leading to this year's national championship in Ohio. At the championship, hundreds of youth shooters will vie for the U.S. title.

The club has been around since the late 1970s, according to member Todd Berg. It relocated in the '90s to west of Highway 51 off of Rocky Run Road. The club sits on approximately 45 acres, he said. There are two trap fields, a rifle range and a growing and vital sporting clays course. Summer leagues at the club are popular, but Berg said, as with most sporting clubs, the demographic is getting older. For that reason, he said, the club wants to attract younger shooters.

This will be a 150-target shoot. Each youth shooter will shoot 1,000 sporting clays and a 50-target trap shoot. The club's sporting clay course is 50 per round, so each kid will go through the course twice. They will also go through two rounds of the trap range as well. Berg said they will be capping the event at 100 shooters.

"We've already gotten a commitment from a couple of the schools," he said. "Obviously the Chequamegon team is going to shoot and we've already got a commitment from the Black River Falls team. They have eight members of their team that are going to be there. Jim (Nesbit) has already contacted all of the local schools and their coaches, and we believe we will be at full capacity."

He said they have had interest already from as far away as Governor Dodge down near Madison.

On Friday, May 18, the Chequamegon team will come to the sports club and do their shooting. Saturday, then, they will play host to all of the other schools. They will come over and volunteer labor, do the scoring and keep track of everything on line.

"Our goals as a club, aside from the team aspect and the safety aspect, is things like discipline, passion and goal-setting," Berg said. "We want to provide these kids with some background. In some cases, some of these kids will have never shot sporting clays before. It's a fun game. I mean, it's a really, really fun game. So, as a club, we are bound by our mission to try and engage more public, to try and engage more kids. As bird hunters, deer hunters and outdoorsmen of any stripe, we recognize that our numbers are going down. We're getting older."

The push, then, he said, is to involve more women and kids in shooting sports. Berg and others at the sports club are looking to make Harshaw Sports Club a destination, and a big deal for the Northwoods.

Berg said the club is also accepting donations, whether that be labor, work, money or prizes. The club is planning to hold a raffle for the kids and will also be supplying lunch as well as all of the clay targets at which the kids will be taking aim. This will be a total of 15,000 targets over the course of the weekend.

Some of the smaller schools that do not normally have the opportunity, he said, will get to come out and see a really nice sporting clays course. The members of the Harshaw Sports Club are excited and very busy planning the event.

Berg said anyone interested in joining the club, or just coming out to see what it is all about, are welcome. He said the sporting clays revenue has increased by 35 percent over last year and has the capacity to increase another 70 percent. The club has a plan to fully automate the course making it, Berg said, truly a gem of a course in the Northwoods.

Aside from this shoot, the club is also putting together a Veteran's Shoot for VFW and American Legion members in August. More information about that can be found on their Facebook page as it becomes available.

Any school that would like to get involved can contact Berg for more information at 715-820-2967

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at bgaskill@lakelandtimes.com.

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