Central Arizona Target Shooting (CATS) is a shooting club that was strictly created for the purpose of teaching youth between the ages of 9 and 19 how to properly handle and shoot a shotgun and to compete in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP). The program located in Eloy, Arizona is run by Rodney Shedd who is the lead instructor and is sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). This year’s program had ten instructors trained by the AZGFD as certified Youth Shotgun Instructors and 45 youths enrolled. AZGFD supplied shotguns, automatic clay target throwers and ammo for the young athletes. The program runs for approximately seven months and ends with the State Championships.
Participants are exposed to 14 practices where they are introduced to the shooting disciplines of trap, skeet, sporting clays and bunker trap. In addition to the regular practices, AZGFD held three fun shoots during which the youth were able to test their skills against other young athletes from all over the state with similar skill levels as they prepare for the State Championships.
This year, the CATS shooting club participated in all of the State Championships and although they did not come away with any titles they competed well. The CATS team of Steven Shedd, Austin Bradford, Tanner Schafersman, Jonathan Reyes and Juliana Tapia finished 3rd in the SCTP Intermediate (grades 6-8) Trap division, and the team of Taran Homol, Austin Bradford, and Steven Shedd also took third place in the SCTP Bunker Trap which was held in conjunction with the USA Olympic Bunker Trap qualification at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Taran Homol took top honors in the Women's Division as the High Overall Female for the event and Steven Shedd received 3rd place in the Intermediate Division.
This program was funded and made possible by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National Rifle Association, who awarded a $2500 grant for a gun, ammo and additional targets. The local businesses of M & S Equipment, Ag Management Services, Handwerker- Windburn and Casa Grande Rent A Can also contributed support to the program.