BLACKFOOT — The cracking of gunfire and smell of sulfur was in the air Saturday at the Cedar Hills Gun Club Spring Shoot.

Nearly 30 people from around the west showed up to participate in the sanctioned shoot for the National Sporting Clay Association (NSCA).

“We had people come from Missoula, Hailey, Pinedale, and Utah,” said club President Jed Taylor. “We had Master Class Shooters there also.”

Participants moved through 15 different stations, each with its own challenge, to gain high enough scores to rank up in class. The ultimate goal for participants is the highest rank, Master Class Shooter.

According to the NSCA website, sporting clays are often referred to as golf with a shotgun. “Like golf courses, no two sporting clay courses are alike, and terrain and background have a lot to do with how targets are presented. Sporting clays is the closest thing to actual field shooting of all the shotgun sports.”

The courses are set up to imitate the hunting of ducks, pheasants, and rabbits. Some stations have the clays flying through the air while others have them shooting across the ground like a rabbit.

The wind on Saturday added to the challenges of the stations on the course.

When asked which station was most challenging, Byron Duffin of Shelley, said “Number three, over the canyon. The targets are farther out, really fast, and dropping.”

The third station has clays coming from the left first and then the right just seconds apart.

“For a right-handed shooter, it’s a challenge,” said Nick Takacs of Idaho Falls.

All scores for the shoot are provided to the NSCA to help with future registered shoots and can help the participants move up in class.

“The HOA (highest of all) was 89,” Taylor said. “With the wind and the clouds, that is pretty good.”

NSCA is the largest sporting clays association in the world and the governing body for the sport in the U.S. For more information visit their website at http://nsca.nssa-nsca.org/

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