Shooting team continues to establish itself

Tom Binyon shot competitively from 1984-1990, wanting to give back to shooting sports and to Wichita State.

When the idea of a shooting team at WSU began, Binyon worked with Dr. Duane Shepherd, a professor and coach at Fort Hays State University, to write a charter, by-laws, and rules and regulations.

Binyon needed at least five students to form the club, putting out flyers all across campus and the community, specifically at local shooting ranges. The team’s head coach was able to get five students to join and after an introductory meeting and swarming in the team’s first president, graduate student Patrick Shields, the club was made official on Aug. 29, 2013.

“Dr. Shepherd was instrumental in creating a template for colleges and universities to follow to help them get a shooting program established at their respective schools,” Binyon said. “Once I had the sample by-laws and rules and regulations at-hand, I sort of customized those for the Wichita State team and presented those to the RSO office.

“We corporated those into the by-laws and that was the starting point.”

The program has been built to where Binyon and his staff do not only have to develop students into shooters, but are able to recruit already established shooters. WSU’s shooting team is currently in the process of working on a scholarship fund for its program, according to faculty advisor Larry Richardson.

WSU shooting team recruited four freshman out of high school from Nebraska this season who already had experience in shooting.

“I wanted to provide an avenue to share the sport I truly loved with young people, college students,” Binyon said. “I wanted to give back to Wichita State University. I wanted to provide an avenue where I could give back to the university and some way or another.”

WSU’s shooting team is self-funded, raising money every year to finance the costs for their equipment, meet fees and trips. Richardson and other team members will call people to try to get their support and will hold fundraising events around the community, with their next event being on April 14 and 15 at Flint Oak Ranch in Fall River.

Along with trying to recruit people to donate to the program, the shooting team is huge on finding new members.

Current team president Austin Schroeder got involved with the shooting team during his freshman year at WSU and said that the love for the sport drew him into joining.

“I’ve always been a shooter,” Schroeder said.  “My dad would always took me me shooting when I was a kid and I got my first gun when I was 12. I’ve always been a fan of it and wanted to get involved.”

The team practices and competes shooting skeets and other areas of the uprising sports. Richardson said that beyond what goes on physically, the fact that being on the team helps members build their character is what is the more rewarding aspect.

“They tell me all the time how much they appreciate it,” Richardson said. “It’s rewarding to me to see them relish leadership and watch them grow and improve.”

Schroeder said that his time on the team has been a life-changing experience and that many of the team members feel the same way. Despite all the grueling work of practice and having to fund themselves financially, being apart of the team makes it all worth it.

“My experience with the team is irreplaceable,” Schroeder said. “It has given me a lot of great friends and it has given me a lot of discipline.”