Shoot for the Stars with The Los Banos Trap Team


Greg Schaefer, Reporter

The Los Banos Tiger Trap Team has been around for a time teaching children from 4th grade to 12th grade proper gun safety, proper gun use, and most of all the exciting sport of Trap and Skeet shooting.

For a bit of background for those who don’t know, trap shooting is the sport where the shooter stands at one of five stations behind a trap house which is just a bunker with one open side facing away from the stations that contains the target launcher inside. Then the person at the first station will test the launcher to see if it is working.  When the shooter is ready, he will call a bird by saying pull or bird which then launches the target away from from the person.   Then the person fires and attempt to break the target. Then the next person will take his turn repeating the process. Once everyone has shot at five targets everyone will rotate stations. Person at the first station will go to the second station and so on and with the person at the fifth station rotating to the first, but instead of the person that just arrived at the first station shooting first, the person that shoot first during the last set of five targets will again call his first target of five to start the next cycle.

Trap shooting rules only allow a 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun to be shot in the trap range and specific ammunition that does not go faster than 1250 feet per second.

Of course with the obvious danger of the sport since it involves the use of a firearm, the fear of safety of the athletes, yourself, and the surroundings is immensely present, but in accordance to law and wanted safety of any athlete, the Los Banos Tiger Trap team (LBTT) requires that athletes take a free firearm safety course provided every year for membership or to stay with the trap team. This helps keep everyone on the understanding, respect, and safety towards firearms in order to have a safe and fun time.

“Trap shooting is incredibly fun and much more of a mental sport then a physical one even though it does require decent muscle control and hand-eye coordination. Trap is a sport where if the athlete commits to its coaching and ideals it can actually help an athlete with developing a meditative-like state which aids with concentration and focus of the task of shooting,” stated Linda Gnomes, the current president of the Tiger Trap Team. Trap can be much beneficial to any athlete then just playing a sport. It can aid in mental focus as long they try and commit to practicing it.

“Many athletes come through their first year of trap and something to their second and third having a struggle because you know they struggle, get annoyed, and try to give up, but we do our best to keep them on track and move on from those mistakes because you know trap is super fun as is any sport with a firearm. Plus it’s good for kids to be taught how to hold, use, and completely utterly respect any firearm that their little hands grab knowing that it’s a tool but an incredibly deadly one,” said the previous overall head coach Darrell Mello who states how trap shooting will one hundred percent teach any athlete under their coaching to respect firearms as tools but are dangerous if used incorrectly and unsafely. Coach Mello also teaches his athletes about how all shooters will struggle with many issues, but they can easily be pushed through if they have the will to do so.

“I started trap shooting with friends in about fourth grade from what I remember to join a couple of friends that were doing it already but now I find it as a fun aspect of my life and it has helped me with a couple of mental obstacles that I been dealing inside school and now I’m hoping I can use the sport to get a decent scholarship,” stated senior Cody Ruiz (12), a varsity trap athlete.

Trap shooting is an incredible fun sport and very informative about many different aspects of gun safety, usage, and even a bit of yourself. Los Banos Tiger Trap has been in the city of Los Banos for decades and have been teaching youth the sport of trap and gun safety as well. LBTT is located at the Los Banos Sportsmen’s association which is located at 13989 S Mercey Springs Rd, Los Banos, Ca. Come join the exciting family of  trap athletes and coaches.