Ready, aim, fire!

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:49 AM CDT
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Skeet shooting
Skeet shooting(DAVID RAINER/OUTDOOR ALABAMA)

CHILDERSBURG, Ala. (WBRC) - Imagine trying to hit a clay target flying almost twice the speed you’re accustomed to at the skeet range. That is what competitors at the Marble City Cup at Red Eagle Skeet and Trap Club in Childersburg faced at the first U.S. International Skeet event held in Alabama in decades.

Marisa Futral, Alabama Department of Conservation Hunter Education Coordinator, said these trap machines make Red Eagle the only range in Alabama where you can shoot Olympic-style targets.

“This gives Olympic hopefuls in Alabama and surrounding states a place to practice without having to fly across the country,” Futral said. “We’re excited to be able to offer this opportunity.”

Angus MacGreigor, an international shooter and coach who is a fixture at Red Eagle, said the department’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division was asked four years ago to make an investment in the skeet and trap facility for the youth of Alabama.

“They did that,” MacGreigor said. “They purchased the machines for us that have the ability to throw international and Olympic targets. The members of this club have worked their tails off to get the facilities up and running. We hope to grow this into a world-class shooting facility.”

Skeet shooting
Skeet shooting(DAVID RAINER/OUTDOOR ALABAMA)

One of those Alaskan shooters was 16-year-old Sam Stewart from Anchorage, who donned a t-shirt and shorts on a blustery, cool day to shoot the competition.

Skeet shooting
Skeet shooting(DAVID RAINER/OUTDOOR ALABAMA)

Another one of those young shooters is 17-year-old Grace Fulton of Tucson, Arizona, who flew to the Marble City Cup after shooting in World Cup competition in Peru. Fulton said international skeet is definitely a demanding sport.

“It’s also more repetitive than anything out here,” Fulton said. “You’re shooting the same two birds at every single station. The birds fly faster and farther. You also start with a lower mount at your waist.”

“My dad got me into shooting,” she said. “I got into shooting in 2019, and I hated it when I started. But now I love it. There’s nothing I’d rather do more. I’m going to the Olympics in 2024 or 2028, that’s the goal.”

Former Olympic shooter and USA Shooting Team coach Todd Graves watched the shooters make the rounds at Red Eagle and remembered when he was in their shoes.

“I used to shoot here back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with Tommy McGilberry,” said Graves, who won a bronze medal in skeet at the 2000 Olympics. I coached the Army team. It was great to have the international shoots here. To have a shoot here in Alabama helps a lot, especially with the young shooters.”

Skeet shooting
Skeet shooting(DAVID RAINER/OUTDOOR ALABAMA)

“This is where our Olympian and World Cup shooters come from,” Hancock said.

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