Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program athlete goes up against the best and wins the 2021 World Grand American Clay Target Championship.
The World Grand American Clay Target Championship is the Super Bowl of trap shooting sports competitions. Olympic and sponsored, professional shooters with decades of experience competed to be named the best of the best in Sparta, IL this past July.
This year, 17-year-old Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) athlete Luke Johnson of Murfreesboro, was its champion.
After shooting a perfect 200 straight in normal competition, Luke and nearly 60 others went into shoot-offs. He hit another perfect 50 targets to become one of 16. Another straight 50 targets and the field narrowed down to only six athletes. Finally, it came down to Luke and one other competitor for the last 50 targets.
After hitting 375 targets without a single miss, Luke was named the World Champion.
Luke began shooting at a young age. He fondly remembers his father, David, lining up bottle caps across the creek for him to practice hitting with his BB gun. When Luke entered the 6th grade he began shooting competitively for Middle Tennessee Christian School.
“Luke’s always been a good shot, a natural talent. I grew up doing the same stuff, but he’s on another level,” said David.
Before the final shoot-off, Luke spent 20 minutes on the bleachers clearing his mind—something his coaches have stressed to him since he began competing.
“Yes, it’s cool to get up there and bust a clay target with the proper form and technique, but it’s easy to underestimate the mental aspect,” said Luke.
Luke is only the second person from Tennessee to ever win the Grand Championship. The other won in 1906. “What Luke did was incredible and it just goes to show how much the Tennessee SCTP program has grown and how competitive its athletes have become,” said Ashely Tone, manager of Tennessee SCTP. “These athletes are putting in the time and effort to achieve amazing things not only for the sport, but for the state of Tennessee.”
Proud of Luke’s accomplishment, David attributes the composure and focus Luke displayed at the Grand Championship to the sport itself saying it’s helped him become a sportsman and a competitor, but also given him a drive for perfection.
“Shooting is something you have to stay in the groove in. It’s like working out. If you stop, you lose all the definition you’ve gained. It’s helped me learn how to work at something a little at a time,” said Luke.
Luke’s Grand Championship win is just one of the many incredible things Tennessee SCTP athletes are accomplishing on and off the field.
If you’re interested in learning more about Tennessee SCTP and joining a team, visit tnwf.org/explore