Shotguns. Upland Boots. No birds.

Dove season is less then five months away, quail season (if you still have them in your state) is seven months away, and pheasant season is a distant eight. So, I figured if I couldn’t actively hunt birds, at the very least I could lace-up my upland hunting boots and spend some time on a range where you can shoot the “clay” variety year round! Let’s call it a hunter/producer preseason tuneup!

Recently, I was hired to produce a DVD for the ACUI 43rd Intercollegiate Clay Target Championship at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, TX. The premiere collegiate shooting event of the season took place March 31st – April 4th, attracting a record 439 shooters from 50 colleges and universities from across the United States.

The only event of its kind, the ACUI nationals includes all six shooting events – International Skeet, International Trap, American Skeet, American Trap, Five-Stand, and Sporting Clays. The five-day team-based tournament is a fun-filled, action-packed, and extra long weekend built around sportsmanship and everything great in college athletics.

Hosted by International Olympic Skeet Shooter Haley Dunn, we interviewed student athletes, coaches, sponsors, and tournament directors. Anyone who participated, donated, or helped to launch this year’s tournament, got plenty of camera time.

We talked to Michelle Smith, Program Director for ACUI, Hank Garvey, Head Coach for the Harvard Shooting Team, and sat down with shooters like Ali Skeete Chiang from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and first timers Dan Klimas and Blake Scott form Hillsdale College just to name a few.

Spanning a beautiful 671 acres of rolling hill country, the National Shooting Complex staff was kind enough to offer us an EZ Go cart. Thankfully we didn’t have to hike everywhere and had plenty of room for cameras, tripods, and lighting.

The good news was that I had my ridiculously comfortable 8” Briar Bison boots on my feet. So, five consecutive 15 hour days on foot was literally a cakewalk. Light weight and breathable was the perfect combination to battle the onset of the Texas summer.

When it was all said and done, we recorded three dozen interviews highlighting shooting sports opportunities at the college level, and captured invaluable information on how students, parents, or coaches can start a shooting club or team of their own.

Competitive shooting sports have always intrigued me. The discipline and focus required to consistently break clay targets thrown at varying speeds, arcs, angles, and distances are truly amazing. Obviously, skill and a lot of practice are required.

The more time I spend around the sport the more I see the benefits of youth shooting sports initiatives and programs like the SCTP. If you would like more information about getting involved in the shooting sports, please don’t hesitate to write!

Mike Garner Outdoors
mike garner outdoors

Chippewa has teamed up with Mike Garner, a lifelong sportsman and television personality with a love for everything outdoors, to bring you Mike's journey across the United States in his Chippewa boots.

View Mike Garner's Blog Articles