St. John Tigers Trap Team is successful starting point for young shooter

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Lillian Brummer, 12, of St. John, recently beat out 41 other competitors to win the novice division of the Kansas State High School Clay Shooting Tournament.

Lillian Brummer of St. John may only be 12, but she proved last month that she can shoot like a pro when it comes to competitive shooting of clay targets. The coming 7th grader at St. John Schools won first place in her division at the 2021 Kansas State High School Clay Target League State Tournament, held at the Kansas Trapshooting Association in Sedgwick, Kansas. The state skeet competition was held at Ark Valley Gun Club in Kechi. This event occurred June 18 to June 20.

"I've gone deer hunting a lot with my older brother and when I heard about the shooting team at school I thought it would be fun to try," Brummer said.

Though deer hunting with Clayton Brummer, 21, helped get Brummer used to how to hold and fire a gun, she found out that the methods of shooting were entirely different for clay targets.

"When you are out in the woods hunting, you move slow and have to be real patient to get in the perfect position," she said. "With clay targets, it's all about reaction time. I have learned so much from our mentor Rick Stimatze. He taught me how to stand, how to breathe, how to focus. I couldn't have done it without him."

Brummer said that, although she also loves playing volleyball, basketball and competing in track, shooting sports has fast become her favorite sport.

"I grew up doing it so it is perfectly comfortable for me. It's my passion. I get so excited to be able to compete. Even though we just got done with state, I'm practicing to shoot doubles next year already," she said.

In order to be allowed on the St. John Tigers Trap Team, students had to complete a firearms safety course online, offered by the USA Clay Target Association.

"There were actually two tests you had to pass by a certain date, and then you had to bring your completed certificates, sent by that organization, to practice with the team," Brummer said.

Brummer said the shooting sports competitive season starts in mid-March each year and her team, usually about 14 students from St. John, practices three times a week.

Although the sport is managed through the school system, it is not associated with USD 350 because guns are not allowed at school and the team practices away from the school area, usually at Stimatze's farm just outside city limits.

"Kids are never allowed to bring any kind of guns to school and we cannot use school vehicles to transport to competitions," Brummer said.

Despite those difficulties, there has been a lot of support for the young shooting club in St. John and donors have helped fund the costly shells and guns needed.

"Even if you don't have your own gun, there are donors who help provide those," Brummer said.

After the school year ended, the shooting season continued, with the Tiger trap club members going to nearby Kinsley to shoot targets at a range there. Only five members of the original 14-member team were certified to go to state, Brummer being the youngest.

"I was really nervous, but Stimatze, he told me you just gotta take a moment and breathe before you begin, focus on what you are doing," she said. "It's easy then, and a lot of fun."

At the state competition, there were 80 teams, with 41 girls shooting against Brummer in her novice division.

"I got 81 out of 100 targets," she said. "I guess that was good enough to win."

Other members of St. John's state clay shooting team were Weston Peterson, Josh Chapman, Brody and Nicolas Huston. Their coaches this year were Cindy Crockett, Tom Fisher, and field officer Larry.

These are the members of the 2021 St. John Tigers state trap team.

Complete results from the KSSHSCTL Trap Shooting Tournament results can be found here:

https://claytargetscoring.com/tournament/index.php?tournState=KS&tournType=trap. Visit http://ks.traptournament.com/ for more information about clay shooting opportunities for young people in the state of Kansas.

The full contingent of Tiger Trap Team members for 2021 included (back, from left) Josh Chapman, Victor Rosales, Maylin Sanders, Jorja Blakeslee, Teagan Tanner, Ian Dunn, Braxton Alpers, Weston Peterson, and (front) Lillian Brummer, Jazlene Ramirez, Garrett Dunn, William Martin, Cora Martin and Sye Crockett.