State trapshooting championships fire away in South Mississippi

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 2:34 PM CDT
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WOOLMARKET, Miss. (WLOX) - For the 107th time, shooters from all over Mississippi and the nation are competing in the state trapshooting championships, and this year’s event is being held right here on the Gulf Coast.

It’s 130 teenagers, men and women pulling the trigger and taking aim at targets moving away from them at 40 mph at the Gulf Coast Rifle and Pistol Club.

The goal is simple, don’t miss.

“This game is 90-95 percent mental,” said Jim Hughes. “So it’s really about developing a mental toughness and a mental process that enables you to focus on breaking one target at a time.”

Those that stay on target win prize money and hardware that will go on the mantle instead of the shoulder.

“The trophies are really coveted,” said club member Charlie Boggs. “It’s very much of an honor to win one.”

This weekend, the 1,200 members strong club’s hosting cagy veterans like Boggs, and the young and confident shooters like 17-year-old Emma Grace Mathews from Manchester, TN. She’s been knocking down clay targets since she was 12.

“When I picked it up I finally found a good hobby, because softball was not my thing,” Mathews said. “I soon found out that I did have a talent for this and all the guys started getting mad because all the girls were beating them. I wear earplugs and they play music. If I don’t have music playing, I overthink everything. So these are kind of my lifeline when it comes to not thinking.”

As each target breaks, and each shell gets emptied, the focus on competition gets even more intense.

“The better you shoot, the more points you earn towards All-American Status,” Hughes added.

The event runs until Sunday, which brings another financial boost to the Memorial Day Weekend economy. We’re told at least 1,000 clay targets will be used during the next four days.

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