New Wayland-Cohocton Trap Shooting Club is a community partnership

Delayed by COVID-19 last year, the Wayland-Cohocton Trap Shooting Club has started its inaugural season

By Melonie Coley
Special to The Express

The Wayland-Cohocton Trap Shooting Club began its inaugural season this spring after a delayed start from the COVID-19 2020 school closure.

Fourteen students in middle and high school have signed up to learn the sport under the close supervision of members of the Springwater Rod and Gun Club. The sportsmans’ club has worked tirelessly to bring this opportunity to students in the district.

“The program teaches safe gun handling, and allows students an alternate school activity from traditional sports,” said Coach Jacob Weiand. “Individual marksmanship skills are also developed that allow a student to participate in the sport, at any point throughout their life. Students also learn the importance of team success over individual honors and to have fun working hard toward accomplishing a goal.”

Students must be 12 years old and possess a New York State Hunter Education and Safety Training certificate. All of the practices and competition happen at the Springwater Rod and Gun Club as scores are recorded locally and submitted to NY/USA CTL. 

Members of the Trap Shooting Club appear with coaches and Kevin Mark of the Wayland American Legion, which donated a gun for student use to the club.

Coaches James McLaughlin and Jacob Weiand are Wayland-Cohocton staff who work with the students and the numerous club members. They work to bridge the communication between the school and club and also instruct students. There are also two range safety officers whose experience is a great asset to the coaches and students. The club is providing the facility, accessory equipment, instruction curriculum and individual training to ensure safe shotgun handling.

The students are instructed through a step-by-step process each time they prepare to fire the shotgun. The range is quiet and organized with a respectful environment of learning. Adherence to instruction and safety procedures is strictly enforced. Any violations of the league, school or club policies results in a warning for the first infraction and if not correct, a suspension of the program. In addition to the hunter safety course, students must complete an eight hour online ISSA High School Clay Target League education and training program. The maximum number of students participating is limited to 20, with a student-instructor ratio of three-to-one.

The area communities have rallied support for the local trap team and junior trap shooting. Recently, Kevin Mark, on behalf of the Wayland American Legion Post #402, presented the club with a Remington 1100 shotgun.

“I was fortunate to meet Tom Kelcevic and Robert Moore when I was about this age while fishing at the Wayland Rod and Gun Club,” said Mark. “He got me involved in trap shooting and I competed as a youth. It was an important experience for me and I learned a lot from the men that were mentoring us. Teaching kids to handle guns safely and enjoy healthy competition is a great experience that stays with you for a lifetime. It’s a good activity in a difficult world.”

Darren Goodman, a senior, practices with the shotgun donated by the American Legion. Darren hit his target.

The club has sponsored a raffle to raise funds for the and to match the number of trap rounds (clay targets and shot shells). Donations for that raffle included a Mossberg 500 12-gauge turkey thug shotgun from Brent Quackenbush, a Traditions Strikerfire .50 cal muzzleloader from Pete’s Stockworks, a Centerpoint Patriot 415 Crossbow from Bullzeye Archery, four boxes of 12-gauge field loads from Bill Crosodonia and $100 tickets. Donations to the program are gladly accepted.

Equipment and ammunition is all stored at the Springwater Rod and Gun Club. Supplies are not brought to the school campuses and students must get to the club for practices and competition. Wayland-Cohocton pays for the student membership fees, provides two coaches and some operating expenses. Any student wishing to be involved should speak with Mr. McLaughlin or Mr. Weiand at school. Parental permission is required and students must maintain good academic standing at school to participate.