Local youth do well in state trap shoot

Photo special to the Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The winner! 11-year-old Jack Cavender won the top honors for the rookie division at the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup state trap shoot in Tucson. Cavender set a new record for that division by hitting 92 out of 100 targets. An unidentified G&F official looks on.

Photo special to the Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The winner! 11-year-old Jack Cavender won the top honors for the rookie division at the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup state trap shoot in Tucson. Cavender set a new record for that division by hitting 92 out of 100 targets. An unidentified G&F official looks on.

There have been stories in the past about the shooting expertise of a group of local kids who are involved in a program called the Scholastic Clay Target Program, known by the acronym of SCTP.

The group is known as the Mohave Top Guns and the good news is these kids are getting better and winning more accolades each year.

A team of five kids recently went to Tucson to participate in what is called the 2012 Commissioner's Cup. According to Greg Holden, who is a member of the Mohave Sportsman Club and a top trap shooter in Arizona, trap shooting is an event where shooters stand at 16 yards behind a trap house where clay targets, which are known as birds in trap circles, are thrown out at random angles.

Holden noted that this sport is fast paced, and the birds are flying away at a speed of 42 miles per hour. "By the time the kids are shooting at the targets, they are about 45 yards away from them," Holden said.

The birds are domed clay discs, and are only four inches wide, and one inch tall.

The team of local shooters that went to Tucson to represent the local club in the varsity division included Forrest Keller, Savannah Searles, Justin Tarr, Josh Schanaman and Christopher Franklin.

A squad from the Mohave Top Guns has represented Arizona at the SCTP Nationals in Sparta IL for the past two years and has done well competing against the top teams from all over the nation.

Last year, the SCTP group from Lake Havasu City just barely edged out the local shooters at the state competition.

This year the locals turned it around and beat their Havasu rivals by just four targets.

The scores for the local squad included Forrest Keller 175, Savannah Searles 181, Justin Tarr 184. Joshua Schanaman 189 and the top shooter was Christopher Franklin who had a 193 X 200. The Kingman group number one in the state with a combined score of 922 X 1000.

The Havasu group shot a score of 918 X 1000 to finish second in the state in the varsity division.

Another rising start is blasting his way to top of the trap world.

Eleven-year-old Jack Cavender has been shooting competition trap for just over a year.

But he has already made his mark with those in the trap shooting circles by finishing number one in Arizona in the Rookie Division at the recent state competition.

Cavender who was using a borrowed Browning BT-99 shotgun from one of the seasoned trap shooters at the MSC, John Fornadel, shot an amazing 92 X 100 to easily win the top shooter honors.

Second place had a score of 85 X 100.

Until this year there had never been a score of over 90 shot by a rookie, according to Dawn Cavender, who is Jack's mother. The previous best had been an 87 X 100.

The Mohave Top Guns are assisted by a group of instructors/mentors that includes Randy Freston Lead Instructor, Tony Keller, Jody Schanaman, Gordy Klein, Steve Bell, Dave Vance, Becky Franklin, Al Daum, Ken York and Kerry Schanaman.

This weekend the Mohave Top Guns will be sending several members of their group to participate in the 2012 Commissioner's Cup in skeet.

Skeet in an entirely different shotgun sport and shooters test their skill against clay targets that fly from two target houses. There is a high house and a low house in this sport, and on four of the eight stations, shooters shoot at a pair of birds that are launched simultaneously.