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Trapshooting is one of three sports that involve shooting clay targets. The sport can be traced back to 1750 in England. The first American competition was documented in 1831. Trapshooting was developed to provide practice for bird hunters. Originally, live pigeons were used. The sport is called trapshooting because the live birds were released from traps. The pigeons were replaced by glass balls and eventually by the clay targets, which are also called clay pigeons.

The targets were originally thrown by hand. This method is still used in some informal events, but in formal competition, the targets are launched by a machine, which is more fair since the targets are released uniformly. In Double Trap, two targets are launched at the same time.

On this date in 1970, the Bismarck Tribune reported on a trapshooting event. The Midwest International Competition was held in Bismarck, sponsored by the Capital Gun Club. The newspaper described the competition as a “combination of a Sunday picnic, a family reunion, and the Fourth of July.” About 150 shooters participated, including entire families. One shooter competed from a wheelchair. The youngest shooter was fourteen years old.

The competitors came from several states, with a shooter from Tuscon, Arizona traveling the farthest. Even two Canadian provinces were represented.

In 2015, the state held its first school trapshooting championship in Horace. Only four schools participated, but the number is expected to triple in a few years. North Dakota is one of fourteen states with school trapshooting teams. Trapshooting is unique in high school sports because boys and girls compete against each other. The sport is growing in popularity for spectators as well. A recent school competition in Minnesota drew 20,000 spectators. The development of trapshooting as a school sport is expected to bolster membership in the state’s trapshooting clubs. Currently, eighteen clubs are affiliated with the North Dakota Trapshooting Association.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher.


WDAY Sports. “Horace hosts first North Dakota trapshooting championships.” "" Accessed 14 June, 2015.

Bismarck Tribune, 31 July, 1970:

“Friendly Trapshooters Peppering Skies.”

“Mohler, Huff Top Shooting.”

“Trapshoot: Holiday Affair.”

Star Tribune: “High School Trapshooting League Continues to Grow.” "" Accessed 14 June, 2015.

North Dakota Trapshooting Association. "" Accessed 14 June, 2015.