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Scholastic Clay Target Program shooters have a local Browning connection.

Release Date: 9/3/2008

Utah teens make the trip to Sparta.

A record 2,100 young shooters from 35 states competed in Sparta, Ill., at the 2008 Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Championships.

Browning is particularly proud of a local team of young men who competed in this year’s event. The team is comprised of shooters in the Varsity classification from the Brigham City and Ogden areas of northern Utah. Ogden is where John M. Browning, the founder of Browning, was born and is the place where he designed his huge portfolio of history making firearms. Team members, coached by Ardith Stitt of Eden, Utah, are big fans of Browning. The team includes Craig Stitt of Eden, Utah (Captain); Colton Anderson of Brigham City, Utah; Jackson Tuckett of Syracuse, Utah; Nolan Stokes of Plain City, Utah; and Coltin Dickamore of Brigham City, Utah.

They are officially called the Clay Dusters, but after the team’s first day total score of 496 out of 500, they were tagged with the name the 5-Alls by the spectators because of their consistent shooting. When word got out across the Sparta trap fields, about 400 spectators gathered to watch as they made a number of incredible runs as a team. The competition was intense with two other leading SCTP teams, the Waterfall Valley Clay Busters and the Nighthawks. The first day of the meet had great shooting conditions with nearly perfect weather. Day two had temperatures peaking well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with extreme humidity, something the Utah boys had not seen much of. They still shot very well, and their 985 out of 1,000 two-day total put them solidly in third place. The Waterfall Valley Clay Busters won the tie-breaker for first place against the Nighthawks (second place) when they both ended with a score of 987/1,000. A total of 33 teams competed in the Varsity Trap category.

Team captain Craig Stitt said the team was extremely happy with the outcome, and added that competing at Sparta was fun “other than the heat.” Stitt explained that the number one and two teams were from the South, where they have more experience with extreme heat and humidity. The Clay Dusters are very close as friends and they were complimented by the tournament director for their good attitudes and team spirit. They were all glad to get back to home where even if it’s hot, “it’s a dry heat,” as they say in Utah.

This is team captain Craig Stitt’s sixth trip to shoot at the SCTP National Championship. He noted that teams are improving about 5-10 birds per year so you have to work very hard to be competitive. Stitt shoots a Browning BT-99, Anderson shoots a Browning BT-100, Stokes shoots a Browning Citori XT Trap, Dickomore shoots a Browning BT-99 and Tuckett shot his Winchester Select Energy Trap. Their favorite ammo is Winchester Super Handicaps.

What else was fun at Sparta? Stitt said meeting the local farmers, testing other guns on the “try field” (like the new Browning Cynergy Trap), and watching Patrick Flanigan’s exhibition shooting show were among the highlights.

Browning is not only proud of the Utah team’s accomplishments, but we recognize and appreciate the many other young shooters using Browning shotguns and the steady popularity of the rock-solid BT-99 and legendary Citori over and under that so many SCTP shooters rely on.

The SCTP is not only a great place to learn skills and values that will last a lifetime, it is also becoming a training ground for some of America’s best competitive shooters. Former SCTP shooters Vincent Hancock and Corey Cogdell both were in the limelight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hancock won gold in men’s skeet, and Cogdell won the bronze in women's trap.

As outlined on their Website, the SCTP “provides school-age participants in grades 12 and under with the opportunity to showcase their competitive shooting skills and earn state and national recognition. The program is designed to instill in participants safe firearms handling, commitment, responsibility, leadership and teamwork.” Browning is a proud supporter of this great program.

 The SCTP National Championship event is conducted the week prior to the regular Grand American in Sparta, Illinois. The first SCTP involvement at the Grand was in 2001 with 200 youth participating. In 2005 the all-youth part of the Grand was formalized and over 1,700 school-age shooters participated. The eight-year-old Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) has been the most successful youth-oriented program in National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) history. Nearly 30,000 middle and high school students have participated in the program, which includes trap, skeet and sporting clays competitions.

The SCTP has been managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) since the program started in 2000. At the end of this year’s Grand American, the announcement was made that the SCTP would be spun-off by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to a new foundation, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF).

Congratulations to all the shooters, the SCTP, the NSSF and the new SSSF. Plus a special thanks to the local team supporters and especially to the moms and dads who are the ones who really make this all possible.

For more information on the SCTP and the transition to the SSSF go to: http://www.nssf.org/sctp/

 

 The Clay Dusters take the field.

 

   
   
 
Team Captain Craig Stitt.  
   
 
 A quick strategy meeting and peptalk.  
   
 
The boys took some time out to watch Xtreme Sport Shooter Patrick Flanigan.  

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