USA Clay Target League by Jim Griffin (Steuben County SCOPE)
In Minnesota in 2007, the USA Clay Target League was formed. The leading reason for the league was to get young people to participate in shooting activities and to help offset declining membership in shooting clubs. From its onset the league has promoted safety while having fun and improving the individuals’ shooting skills.
The Target League is the fastest growing high school sport in the United States:
- In 2007 the league was limited to Minnesota with 3 teams with 30 participants.
- In 2013 the league expanded to 2 states with 191 teams and 7,046 participants.
- In 2022 the league is in 34 states with 1,466 teams with 43,009 participants.
- It started in the spring of 2016 with 5 teams and 128 participants
- In the Spring of 2022, it had 122 teams with 2,142 participants
- New teams are being added for the spring 2023 season, and it looks like it will be another record year
- 12,347 first year student athletes joined the league
- 35% of the athletes earned firearm safety certification specifically to participate in the league
- 70% learned about the league through their school
- There was a 99% team retention rate with 95% athlete retention
- 63% of teams have a lettering program
- 80% were included in the school yearbook
- 81% of shooting ranges reported increases in non-youth participation as a result of hosting a USA Clay Target League Teams
- 26% of head coaches expect their shooting ranges will expand participant capacity within the next 2 years
- 43% of league parents reported an increase in hunting and shooting sports participation since their child become active in the league.
- The league has expanded to include Home schooled students, a skeet discipline and a new college league.
- 2,950 Registered Athletes
- 375, 000 targets were thrown
- 100,000 participants by 2025
- 20,000 Team Coaches and Staff Members
- 3,000 High Schools-Approved Teams
- 1,800 Shooting Ranges Hosting Teams across the Country
- 65,000 Tournament Participants
This is the fastest growing sport in New York State,
The league is creating the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts as it is open to all Students from 6th to 12th grade.
All shooters must take safety instruction before they can participate in the league, which creates a new generation of safer gun enthusiasts. The league has a pristine safety record with well over 120 million rounds of shotgun shells shot since the beginning. 77 million rounds were shot in 2022 with NO incidents. (The league is safer than Band.)
The league is open to anyone, no matter what race or sex and those who are physically challenged are all welcome.
The League is empowering young people and boosting their self-confidence.
Experienced shooters and novices can participate and help each other to improve as they compete against themselves.
You don’t need to buy expensive equipment, a Remington 870 works as well as a $20,000 Krieghoff.
One of the hidden benefits that the league has generated are the contributions to the Pittman Robinson Act, which is a tax on sporting goods that we pay when we purchase sporting equipment. The act was passed in 1937 to let state’s wildlife agencies to use certain funds allocated from the Wildlife Restoration Account to build and maintain shooting ranges and bolster marketing and communications efforts to recruit, retain, and re-activate hunters and recreational shooters. The league in 2022 added $97.5 million in sports related expenditures which generated an estimated $4.5 million added to the Pittman Robinson fund.
At the 2022 High School National Championship in Mason, Michigan:
What is the vision for the future of the League at a National Level?
With all the bad publicity when it comes to guns, this is a bright spot that we need to talk about. The High School league benefits all shooting enthusiasts in New York. Anyone who knows of a High School that wants to start a team, have them go to the web site nyclaytarget.com to get the information on how to get started.
With everyone’s help, continued growth is not just attainable but likely. This is a great way to offset the media’s anti-2A bias. Let’s do our part in New York!