The Operation Standing Strong: Trap Shoot Competition took place at the Sportsmen’s Center on the newly remodeled and recently reopened skeet range Saturday to honor the sacrifices Soldiers make while on deployments.

Fifty shooters made their way to the range in the early, surprisingly chilly, morning hours with the hope of being the best shooter. Prizes were awarded to the top three shooters, but the grand prize was a Remington 870, 12-gauge, 28-inch barrel, shotgun.

Shooters were provided with ammo and a shotgun, if needed, and lined up on the course after a brief safety demonstration. Each shooter was scored on how many sporting clays they could hit out of a total of 25.  

Husband and wife duo Juan and Christina Hernandez were excited to compete in the competition and do an activity that’s affordable.

“It’s cheap. Relatively (compared) to other things that I like to do, it’s cheap. It’s affordable. You can go to Walmart and buy a box of 100 rounds, and 100 rounds doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re talking about a shotgun, it is a lot of rounds. One hundred is more than enough for (one full day) of shooting,” Juan said.

They both find trap shooting more fun than shooting hand guns because hitting the flying discs present more of a challenge than just shooting a stationary target.

“When you’re shooting a hand gun a lot of the time … all they’re doing is shooting paper. Here you actually get to hit something that’s actually moving and you’re more motivated to actually hit it,” Juan said. “Especially when you go out with friends, because when you’re shooting paper, a lot of the time you’re just trying to hit the center or a certain little area of the paper. Here, you’re actually shooting something that’s going through the air. You’re using more of your body and you can feel the rounds better. It’s very fun.”

Christina agreed and also mentioned that there is very little that can stop you from participating in the sports so it is good for those with disabilities.

“The only thing that can inhibit you from playing is the weather,” Christina said. “Like, if it’s raining heavily, but otherwise it’s a good way to get outdoors.”

When asked why it’s important to participate in events like this with a spouse or significant other, Christina said she thinks competitiveness is good for a relationship.

“I feel like there’s always a need to be a little competitive within your relationship and this is a safe way to be competitive,” she said.

Logan Sink won the competition, hitting 22 of 25 sporting clays.