Keiver Halderson, Trapshooting Teen
There is an All American residing in the Bitterroot Valley. Quiet and unassuming, Keiver Halderson of Corvallis, has been named to the 2013 All American Junior Second Team based upon his shooting successes in 2012. Only a handful of shooters ever attain this level according to the letter informing Halderson of the award.
Halderson of Corvallis has been trapshooting for about seven years. He had a friend that joined the youth team at the Hamilton Trap Club and so he joined too. He had taken Hunter Safety and had done some pheasant hunting with his dad, Mark. He didn’t get into competition shooting for another three years.
Originally developed as a means for bird hunters to practice, the sport of trapshooting has grown over the years and is now popular throughout the nation. In the early years, live birds were used but about the time of the Civil War, the switch was made to glass ‘birds’ and then to the clay pigeons used today. The object is to shoot a clay pigeon as it is propelled into the air using a 12-gauge shotgun.
Shooters stand from 16 to more than 23 feet away from the ‘house’ where the machine is that launches the clay pigeon into the air. A mic is located close to the shooter. When he, or she, is ready, they call pull and the pigeon is launched. If the shot hits any part of the clay, it is considered a hit. The target doesn’t have to shatter.
Competitions include three categories: singles, doubles and handicapped. In singles, there are five stations that the shooters rotate through, with each individual shooting 25 rounds. There are up to five shooters at each station The trap machine moves from left to right with a sweeping motion, ranging from 27 degrees to the left and right of center, and up to 17 degrees left and right of center with the clay pigeon emerging from any point in that arc. In doubles, the machine is stable but throws up two targets at the same time. The shooters have the opportunity to hit five pairs (10 targets) from each station. In a handicapped shoot, the machine operates the same way as it does in a singles competition but the shooters are up to 23 feet back from the targets.
Halderson said that it’s very important to get into a rhythm when in a competition shoot. His routine involves loading the shot, resting the barrel on his foot until he’s ready to shoot (at this point the shotgun is broken down and there’s no danger of it firing), and then pulling up, snapping the shotgun together and shooting. He said that by altering the speed of shooting, that might throw a competitor off his rhythm as well. Halderson said tries not to keep track of his misses but still has a pretty good idea of how many clay pigeons he’s hit in a competition.
He is one of only a handful of youth shooters and even adults that has shot a perfect score in a sanctioned shoot. A perfect score is 200. Halderson shot his first perfect score at the Montana State Trapshooting championships in 2010. Last year, at the Grand American in Sparta, Illinois, he shot a perfect round and tied for first. However he lost in the shoot out and finished second in the nation in the AIM championship. AIM is the youth division of the Amateur Trap Shooting Association.
“We both shot 200 without a miss,” said Halderson. “But in the second go around, they moved us back to the 23 foot line.”
Halderson said he wasn’t sure if that was really a legal move or not. He thought the organizers were afraid neither one would miss at the 16 foot mark. The Grand American is a marathon of a shoot with more than 6,000 shooters competing over 13 days. Halderson said it was a grueling competition.
He and his family travel all over for the trap shoots. He has won in Utah, Colorado, Washington as well as Montana. He said that it is an expensive sport but he is fortunate that his family has supported him.
Last fall, Halderson and his dad went to Colorado Springs where he worked with Jay Beamon, one of the coaches of the Olympic Trapshooting team. Olympic trapshooting involves ‘bunker’ shooting and is more difficult. The angles are more difficult and the targets fly about 60-65 mph while the regular clay pigeons fly about 40-45mph. Halderson said it was an experience to work with Olympian Janessa Beaman and that he learned a lot about the bunker trapshooting.
Halderson credits not only his parents, Mark and Kathy, but also his coaches – Ray McBride and Dan Waldo. He said McBride has been his coach since he began trapshooting. Halderson, a lifetime member of the Hamilton Trap Club, is now helping out with some of the younger shooters.
He said this sport has given him a chance to see places he wouldn’t have. It’s also given him a focus and kept him out of trouble, ‘for the most part.’