Federation Program Inspires Athlete to Pursue a Career in Conservation

Apr 23, 2020

Minmay Pup speaking with a news reporter.
The Federation’s Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program helps youth athlete realize her dream of pursuing a career in conservation. 

Tennessee SCTP Opening Eyes to Conservation

Growing up in an outdoor family, Minmay Pup was no stranger to spending time in Tennessee’s great outdoors and wild places. But it wasn’t until she became a Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) athlete that she realized conserving the outdoors she grew up in was a true passion of hers.

Minmay first learned about the Spring Hill Middle School Trap Team from a classmate. Curious about a sport she had never heard of before, Minmay went home and researched shooting sports with her family. “My father had already introduced me to firearm safety and how to properly use one, so I was exposed to it a little bit,” said Minmay.

The next day she went to sign up for the team only to learn she missed the deadline. That could have been the end of her shooting career before it even began, but Minmay waited patiently and joined the team in her sixth-grade year.

>>LEARN MORE: Become a Tennessee SCTP athlete

With determination, practice, and help from her coaches and mentors including Chad Whittenburg and Todd Nelson, Minmay started busting more targets and getting higher scores. She also had the support of her parents, Mike and Annie Pup, who devoted countless hours to help her practice and used their own vacation days to travel with her to competitions.

During her senior year at the Tennessee SCTP State Championships, Minmay placed in all three disciplines—trap, skeet, and sporting clays—and won second place overall.

“I wasn’t the best at first and I had to work hard to get where I am now,” said Minmay. As Minmay’s shooting skills grew on the field, so did her desire to give back to the outdoors she was constantly competing in.

Desire to Give Back to the Outdoors

That desire strengthened even more after she attended one of the Federation’s Hunting and Fishing Academy experiences. There, she deepened her understanding of conservation and gained the skills of a sportsman.

>>LEARN MORE: Want to learn the art of hunting or fishing?

When it came time to pick a major for college, Minmay knew she wanted to pick a path that would help preserve Tennessee’s wildlife and wild places.

Now a sophomore at Bethel University, Minmay is earning her degree in biology with a minor in environmental sciences and is looking forward to finding a job in the conservation field when she graduates.

“Every little thing we do matters and we should all try to make a difference, whether it’s big or small.”

Minmay Pup, Tennessee SCTP Athlete

Although she hasn’t quite decided what that dream job would be, she envisions herself working with younger generations and teaching them the importance of the natural world.

“This sport really gave me the mindset of what I want to do. Without it, I don’t know if I would have found something I wanted to pursue and would enjoy for the rest of my life,” said Minmay.

A seven-year veteran in Tennessee SCTP, Minmay credits her maturity and sportsmanship to her experiences with the Federation’s program. “I am a reserved person, so I have a hard time opening up to people,” said Minmay.

“Being a Tennessee SCTP athlete, I’ve made friends from all over the United States that I can share this sport with.”

Minmay continues to compete on Bethel University’s Shooting Sports Team. She plans on making the shooting sports a lifelong pursuit and has toyed with the idea of pursuing shooting in the Olympics one day.

Feature photo by Minmay Pup

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