Summer 2018

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16 PULLUSA MAGAZINE SUMMER 2018 THE LEAD R A NGE ROV ER DRIVING THR OUGH the small, west-central town of Alexandria, Min- nesota, in early June, it's impossible to miss the throng of people and expanse of cars, campers and vendor tents just to the west of Interstate 94. Those in the know recognize it as the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Trap Shooting Champi- onship, which this year involved more than 8,100 student athletes from 325 teams shooting over the course of nine days. Alexandria Shooting Park hosts the tournament, which is regarded as the world's largest shooting sport event. " I t 's j u s t m a s s i v e ," s a y s p a r k co-owner Cindy Townsend, who over- sees management of the range with husband Tom Townsend. "It's quite an undertaking." It's hard to believe now, but the beloved home of Minnesota's tour- nament was once in danger of becom- ing a gravel pit, Cindy says. Nearly 20 years ago, the original owner, who founded the park as Golden Eagle Trap Range in 1977 with one trap field and a camper, put the 180-acre site up for sale. He had grown it to nine fields by 2000 and expanded it to 19 after winning a bid in 2001 to host the Minnesota Trapshooting Association's state shoot. But with a construction company in the mix of potential buy- ers, the range's future was uncertain. That was until six trap enthusiasts, including the Townsends, bought the park in 2002. "My husband really had the passion for the sport—he didn't want to see the range die," Cindy says. The "group of six" as they became known, evolved into four individuals and two LLCs with more than 60 investors. As the two local owners, the Townsends took on management of the park, which also includes a club- house and banquet room, warehouse and 146 campsites with water and electrical hookups. The Townsends added a 20th trap field a few years ago but otherwise have maintained the range as is. Alexandria Shooting Park offers 18-week adult and youth leagues, 10-week individual leagues and open shooting five days a week. It is also the home range of five local high schools, which Tom says have given the park an extra boost in recent years, and helped to grow the reg- ular leagues. A n d t h o u g h i t st i l l h o st s t h e Minnesota Trapshooting Associ- ation's shoot, the main event by far is the high school championship, which requires 40 paid staffers and about 20 volunteers to man- a g e . T h e e v e n t m a k e s t h e p a r k and Alexandria a destination for thousands of students, parents, friends, family and trap enthusi- asts each year. For the Townsends, who are both avid trapshooters, it's a sign that the future is bright for the sport and their range. "It's been great to see," Tom says. "It's a sport you can take with you forever." For more information about Alexandria Shooting Park, check out alexandriashootingpark.com. ✪ DID YOU KNOW? The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Trap Shooting Championship drew more than 8,100 participants to Alexandria Shooting Park this year. ALEXANDRIA SHOOTING PARK ❚❙❘ ALEXANDRIA, MN ❘❙❚ by JAKE WEYER V I S I T O U R WEB S I T E F O R M O R E L E AG U E N E WS A N D I N F O! P U L L U S A M AG A ZI N E .C O M OVER THE COURSE OF NINE DAYS, 325 TEAMS COMPETE AT ALEX ANDRIA SHOOTING PARK FOR THE MSHSCTL TR AP SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP. H O M E T E A M S F O U N D E D T R A P F I E L D S 1977 20 Alexandria, Brandon-Evansville, Osakis, Parkers Prairie, West Central

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