BHS trap team coach Denis Sommers speaks about his team's recent triumphs during a ceremony announcing the team's recent endowment. (Photo by Jennifer Eisenbart)

Trap shooting team wins $10,000 endowment

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff writer

It’s been an impressive year for the Burlington High School Trapshooting team.

And the team is starting to get recognized – both locally and nationally. After winning the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) High School national title in July, the team has been honored with several awards.

On Friday, it got a standing ovation from the assembled crowd at halftime of the BHS boys’ basketball game – and a check for $10,000.

The trapshooting program was one of four honored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) with a $10,000 endowment to fund the program.

Matthew Smith from RMEF was on hand with his daughter Shae to present the check.

BHS trap coach Denis Sommers said the whole evening “was a pretty cool thing.”

“It’s going to be a pretty neat thing here in the next year or so,” Sommers said. “The team’s going to be pretty set.”

Sommers said RMEF normally puts money into restoration of habitats.

“To put that big of a donation into a youth shooting team, that’s awesome,” Sommers added.

The endowment will generate about $500 per year in perpetuity. The team may use the funds for ammunition, targets or any equipment needed for shooting sports programs.

Endowments are generated through support from the Midway USA Foundation and local fundraisers hosted by RMEF. RMEF staff and volunteers nominate organized shooting teams, including high school, college and university shooting programs as candidates for future gifts. New endowments are awarded quarterly.

A managing entity, the Scholastic Shooting Trust Fund, administers the endowments and disburses funds annually to recipient schools.

Tom Wondrash, the former coach of the BHS trap team and now the North Central Director of Development for SCTP, said a number of different groups have gotten together to fund endowments like this.

Wondrash said Burlington was chosen – likely in part because of its performance this summer at nationals.

In addition to the SCTP title, the trap team won another title a week later in Olympic Doubles in Colorado Springs at the 2011 SCTP National International-Style Games.

Wondrash said the attention the team is getting will keep the team running for years to come.

“After seven years, (the hard work) has paid off,” Wondrash said. “It’s drawn the attention of national organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.”