Local Teenager Earns Top Honors in Major Trapshooting Competition

Local Teenager Earns Top Honors in Major Trapshooting Competition
Brendan Birch is pictured with his new puppy and the array of trophies he won at an international shooting competition in Illinois. Submitted image

SNOW HILL – What started as a new hobby is now a source of major recognition for a Snow Hill teenager.

Brendan Birch, a senior at Snow Hill High School, displayed a 95% accuracy rate and took home numerous awards from an international trapshooting competition in Illinois last month. His newfound success has him hoping to spread awareness of the sport with other area youth.

“It’s fun,” he said. “A lot of people get turned off when they hear shotgun but it’s an awesome sport and there’s a lot of nice people involved.”

A few years ago, Birch, who is now 17, spent much of his free time swimming competitively. When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted cancellations and closures, particularly for indoor activities, he decided he needed a new hobby. When he and his father, both shooting enthusiasts, found a shotgun club in the area, they decided to start shooting skeet.

“We’d go out on weekends to have something to do,” Birch said. “And then that Christmas, my dad got me a skeet gun.”

It wasn’t long before Birch was shooting skeet and trap. While trap shooting features clay targets that move away from the shooter, in skeet shooting the goal is to hit two clay targets crossing each other.

“Skeet has two launchers, a one story and a two story, set up in a half circle,” Birch explained.

With encouragement from local gun club members, Birch moved into competitive shooting late last year. Since then, he’s had shooting competitions in North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. The biggest competition, however, came this summer as he went to Sparta, Ill., for the AIM Grand, Preliminary Grand American and Grand American World Trapshooting Championships.

“It’s basically the Super Bowl of trapshooting,” Birch said.

Billy Birch, Brendan’s father, said that in 27 events over the course of 15 days, the teenager hit 2,853 of 3,000 targets—a 95% accuracy rate.

“What made this remarkable was this was Brendan’s first full year of competing,” his father said. “He also made it to the 27-yard line which is the furthest back you can be placed in the handicap events.”

Birch, who won numerous championships and recognitions during the two-week event, is hoping to do even better next year. He plans to keep practicing on a regular basis.

“You have to,” he said. “It’s not like riding a bike. You have to keep up with it. You get rusty quickly.”

He added that it didn’t feel like work, however, because he enjoyed the sport and particularly liked the people he met while doing it. He said that while swimming and shooting were both technically individual sports, he felt a camaraderie with trapshooting that he hadn’t found swimming.

“There’s a lot of very nice people that do it,” he said. “You can learn a lot. They all want to give you advice and help you.”

He acknowledged that most people who like shooting trap and shooting skeet were older. Birch is hoping that he might be able to interest more youth in the sport in the coming years.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I want to get more people involved.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.