Ready. Aim. Fire.
For the Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association Shot Slingers, it comes as easy as one, two, three.
Garret Shiffer, Joseph Cooper, Tyler Cassara, Wyatt Quick, and Abby Thomas are five members of the S.L.S.A. Shot Slingers, and this past weekend, they captured the high team and high singles scores at the California State Trap Shoot Championships in Kingsburg.
Head coach and club president Keith Baker assembled this squad of amateur sharpshooters to now take on their biggest challenge yet, the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships in Sparta, IL.
“It’s going to be the ultimate in shooting experience, competition, and camaraderie that these kids are going to get to see, Bakers said. “There’s going to be 1,000 kids there shooting.”
Amateurs or not, these Shot Slingers are ready to let the lead fly on one the sports’ biggest stages.
“It’s a huge thing to go do, so hopefully, we all just stay focused and get used to the weather. Weather is a big deal,” 15-year-old Wyatt Quick said. “And then, shoot well.”
There are five Shot Slingers going to Sparta, all from Templeton, Atascadero, or Creston, all with different backgrounds, but all with a similar passion for trapshooting.
“Common fun, yeah we enjoy it a lot,” 17-year-old Garret Shiffer. “It brings us together. We always have fun when we go out there and shoot.”
“Ohh, it’s a ton of fun,” Quick added. “I love coming out here and shooting because it’s a big part of my life.”
At just 12 years old, Abby Thomas is the youngest Shot Slinger. She also has the least amount of experience. But don’t let that fool you, she can crack the clay with the best of them.
“It’s just fun. There’s a lot of people that are super nice and help me if I need help,” Thomas said. “When I first started, I was kind of scared and then it turned to not a big deal or anything.”
“Abby sees that target quick, she moves to it so smooth,” Baker complimented.
“She’s only been shooting for this last year, and she’s already improved,” Quick added. “She probably started better than I did, most likely.”
Even though only a few shooters are headed to the Grand American, Coach Keith is proud of all his junior members of Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association.
“For the last nine or 10 years, it’s been almost an unbelievable experience watching these kids develop, and grow, become great sportsmen and great citizens,” Baker exclaimed. “They’re way at the top of their game.”
The Grand American World Trapshooting Championships run from July 31 – August 10, 2019.
If interested in supporting the S.L.S.A. Shot Slingers on their trip to Sparta, visit their GoFundMe Page.