After another successful youth clay shoot in December 2020, Councilwoman Annette Mitchell started looking into what it would take to start a school team. Just a few short months after the idea struck, Orange Beach Middle/High School has a team in the Alabama High School Clay Target League.
In just 23 days, Tim Harry, owner of Severance Security, finished 20 hours of coach training and the team got nine students registered by the deadline. In all, 15 students, ranging from fifth grade and up are on the team but only nine will be able to compete for points this season.
Harry began shooting skeet at 12-years-old and says he had a natural ability. In his youth, his mother would drive him from Talladega to Fort Benning, Ga. to train with the U.S. Shooting Team. His experience as a young competitor on a national level will be an asset to the team.
“Robertsdale High School has had a skeet team for six years and they have continued to grow. This year is a building year for us. It’s really exciting to just be in the position to have a team is pretty exciting to me,” Harry said.
Student athletes are required to earn a league-approved firearm safety certification and the Alabama State High School Clay Target League claims to be Alabama’s safest high school sport.
The spring season runs May through July and a fall season runs September through December. Athletes in grades six through 12 can compete. Harry said they have a few fifth graders who are experienced shooters on the team. They will train with the team and be eligible to compete for points next year.
The team is having its first get together and mandatory safety gun range day April 17. The city is currently working on a new shooting range that will now include a skeet range when complete. Chris Litton, City of Orange Beach logistics coordinator and the mastermind behind the city’s youth shooting events, designed the skeet range. Litton is also the gun safety trainer that will work with the team.