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Stockbridge Valley, NY Clay Target Club teaches firearm safety in a fun way

Utica Observer-Dispatch logo Utica Observer-Dispatch 11/9/2020 By Mike Jaquays, Mid-York Weekly
a group of people that are standing in the grass: Stockbridge Valley Clay Target Club members take aim at flying targets Oct. 28 at the Vernon National Shooting Preserve in Vernon Center. © [MIKE JAQUAYS/MID-YORK WEEKLY] Stockbridge Valley Clay Target Club members take aim at flying targets Oct. 28 at the Vernon National Shooting Preserve in Vernon Center.

Now in its second year, the Stockbridge Valley Clay Target Club has truly hit the target in offering Stockbridge Valley Central School students a safe, social and educational sport.

“I have loved this since the first day,” said club vice president Josh Brabick, who went as far as the Nationals competition in Michigan last year. “I love traveling and this gives me the chance to meet a lot of different people.”

“I like everything about it,” agreed club reporter Rebecca Ax. “We get to shoot guns and hang out with each other.”

Started in March 2019, the Stockbridge Valley Clay Target Club meets Wednesdays to shoot flying targets and Saturdays or Sundays for sporting clay shooting. This is their first season for the sporting clay part of the sport, Ax said.

SVCS students Wyatt Reed and Sam Smith first posed the suggestion of forming a school trap shooting team early last year and their agriculture teacher Patty Waldron and her husband Art Waldron signed on as the coaches. The team competes against other student teams across the state at the Vernon National Shooting Preserve in Vernon Center, where their teacher/coach uploads their scores to the Internet for comparison with other students throughout New York.

Patty Waldron stressed the sport is not just about the competition nor the team spirit. Each of the students involved is taught the proper safety of their firearms and a lack of regard for the safety rules is not tolerated, she explained.

Mohawk Valley Community College professor Brian Judycki and eight of the MVCC students in their own college shooting clays club came out Oct. 28 to the Vernon preserve to meet with their younger competitors. Team member Fletcher Heath is now in his third semester on the team and said he enjoys the camaraderie of the group.

“This is all about the friendships I’ve made,” he said, adding he also has the fringe benefit of honing his own shooting skills for hunting season.

“This is a sport where everyone participates, both against yourself and each other,” Judycki said. “You can see the fun they are having and know what it means to them to be a part of this.”

Mike Jaquays is the managing editor for the Mid-York Weekly. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Email Mike Jaquays at mjaquays@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Stockbridge Valley, NY Clay Target Club teaches firearm safety in a fun way

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