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Trap shooting kids challenge Merced County Sheriff’s Office in fundraiser

Stuart McCullough, center, of Los Banos palced second in the adult division after a shoot off for first place with DJ Mello on Saturday, Appril 21 during the, "I Shot with the Sheriff" competition with Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke as part of a Tiger Trap Team fundraiser.
Stuart McCullough, center, of Los Banos palced second in the adult division after a shoot off for first place with DJ Mello on Saturday, Appril 21 during the, "I Shot with the Sheriff" competition with Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke as part of a Tiger Trap Team fundraiser.

Guns and ammo for the Los Banos Tiger Trap Team have been funded and sponsored by the National Rifle Association through grants for years.

But changing state laws and fees have hampered the NRA’s ability to provide supplemental funding, volunteer coach Daryl Allen said, prompting the team to search for other ways to help the non-profit trap and skeet shooting club.

That’s where the Merced County Sheriff’s Office’s second annual “I Shot With The Sheriff” fundraising event comes in, being held 10 a.m. Saturday at the Los Banos Sportsman’s Club, 13989 N. Mercey Springs Road. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

For $50, participants can compete against law enforcement in trap shooting competitions with 50 targets, 25 targets in the morning and 25 after lunch. Shooters must bring their own 12 or 20 gauge shotgun and ammo.

First, second and third place winners will be presented with trophies, and the top trap shooting squad will take home a “Stanley Cup” type award. All proceeds will go toward helping fund equipment and activities for the club

“We have families and kids in our program who have a hard time with coming up with the funds to travel to trap meets and purchase guns for the sport,” Allen said in a news release. “The idea of the fundraiser is ... to offset the costs of travel and equipment the parents and club have a hard time keeping up with.”

The Los Banos Tiger Trap Team is an participant organization in the California Youth Shooting Sports Association that teaches fundamentals of gun safety and skill development for competitive clay shooting sports to kids from 10 to 18 years old. The team uses a shooting facility belonging to the Los Banos Sportsman’s Club.

Allen said anywhere between 70 and 140 kids participate in the program for a $130 annual fee, which helps pay for registration in six trap shoot competitions and uniforms.

But without the NRA’s additional funding, the club has had to find new ways to fund and maintain its shotguns and other expenses.

So, as a deputy sheriff, Allen said he thought an event in which the kids and adults would engage in trap shooting competitions with the sheriff’s office would be a fun event that could also help connect the community with law enforcement.

“Truthfully, the challenge ... is quite comical because the kids practice their skill set on a weekly bases and the law enforcement and first responders tend to get their ‘butts kicked’ and don’t stand a chance,” Allen said.

But the challenge was fun for kids last year, Allen said. This year, the sheriff’s office SWAT team, dive team, K-9 unit and air squadron will present demonstrations and may also compete in the competition.

Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562

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