Fifty years after Maryland’s governor arrived at the Maryland State Trapshooting Championships in a helicopter, two state officials made a more traditional arrival.
On Friday, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) appeared at the 119th annual event near Thurmont, where they met some participants and even did some shooting.
“It’s always great just to meet everybody,” Rutherford said. “Meeting the people and the excitement and then seeing the younger people who are so talented. I think I hit twice out of I don’t know how many shots.”
Rutherford said the sport is not as easy as people may think.
“And the shotguns are heavy,” he said.
Chuck Farmer, a 4-H club leader, coordinated with the Maryland State Sportsman’s Association to invite the governor’s office to the event in an effort to repeat history.
Farmer said both Hough and Rutherford used a gun that was made in Maryland by Silver Seitz.
Darryl Hayes, central zone vice president of the Amateur Trapshooting Association, also attended the event.
Trapshooting is a clay-target shooting sport that began in the 1800s and features clay targets being launched from a trap before they are shot in the air.
The championship, which began Wednesday and will run through Sunday, has three types of events: singles, doubles and handicap.
Events vary based on how many targets are launched and how far back shooters stand to take their shots.
Champions will be named Friday through Sunday.
There are several awards that will be handed out to the champions, including hand-painted feathers, belt buckles and Shamrock leather bags.
Britten Pratt, 14, of Brunswick, shot in the same squad or group of five shooters as Hough.
“I think it’s an honor for him to be here, and everybody else who came, because it’s just a good thing for everybody to do,” he said.
Britten said shooting with Hough was “pretty cool.”
Britten, who has been involved in the sport for eight months, said he loves it.
Ray Hughes Jr., director of the Maryland Trapshooting Hall of Fame, said that people come from around the country for the event, but most of the people are from Maryland or surrounding states.
“This tournament this year has been bigger than last years so it’s been good,” he said.
More than 200 people were at the event Friday.
Hughes said it’s important for elected officials to come to the event not only to honor the champions but also to learn about the sport itself.
“We’re proud of the sport,” he said. “It’s something that you can do for a lifetime and something that not a lot of people are aware of. ... It doesn’t hold anyone back based on physical capabilities the way some other sports do.”
Rutherford said it’s important to show support for the participants and their skills.
“It is important to hold on to our traditions.”