The Shoals is well known for having great sport teams, but one of its best is almost unheard of.
Trapshooting is when a person shoots at clay pigeons from a single point shot away from the shooter. Not to be confused with skeet shooting, trapshooting can be shot from different distances away and also provides a challenge for the shooter.
Russellville’s gun range is home to many local trap shooters who spend their weekends and off days getting better in the art of trapshooting.
Colton Robinson, a 16-year old from Deshler High School, owns many trophies and has earned plenty of accolades from trapshooting, but the dedication and atmosphere keep him coming back to get better.
“I got into (trapshooting) at 13 years old, and I only miss five Saturdays out of the year at range now,” Robinson said. “You have to keep your confidence. We are one big family here.”
Robinson is a top 25 trap shooter in the country and has racked up around five trophies at the Alabama state meet. Robinson aspires to be on the Air Force trapshooting team after he graduates high school.
Russellville’s gun range has many high school and middle school trap shooters who come to practice and improve their skills. Kimberly Hillhouse is a student at Northwest Shoals Community College, and her love for the sport has never waivered.
“You know you can make yourself better,” Hillhouse said. “It’s a mind game, but when it clicks it’s very fun. It’s just fun to see other people develop their shot.”
All ages are welcome at the Russellville gun range to learn gun safety and learn trapshooting and other firearm activities.
Nathan Richardson, a 12-year old who attends school at Colbert Heights, started trapshooting in 4H and won first place in an event at the state meet. Richardson said everyone is very inviting and the winning is a good feeling.
Davis Lindsay said he goes back because of the love for guns his grandfather instilled in him. The 12-year old Lindsay said trapshooting makes him think harder while also being fun.
A new participant, 13-year old John Isaac, said his interest in trapshooting started when he learned he was pretty good at it.
Isaac also said trapshooting builds character for him and the other shooters.
Reagan Lindsay, 17, said she started because her mom bribed her, but being able to find a place to call home helped her love for trapshooting grow.
“Every shooter is willing to give advice,” Lindsay said. “If you’re bullied you don’t have to worry here. You get your respect.”
Their coach, Wade Willingham, said three teams and around 15 individuals won awards at the state trapshooting meet May 30 - June 2 in Mathews, Alabamat. Willingham said he hopes to see the sport grow and the gun education to grow in this area.
With the strong performance at the recent state meet, the Shoals can claim a talented group in another sport.