To make ends meet, high school shooting teams devote a lot of time to fundraising. In order to pay for shells and targets, shooters rely on sponsorships, raffles and punch cards.
So they’re very appreciative of an annual ammunition donation from Hornady Manufacturing.
For eight years in a row, the Grand Island company has donated a large number of shotgun shells to the shooting teams at Northwest High School, Grand Island Senior High and Central Catholic.
This year, Hornady donated 78,000 rounds of ammunition. Over the eight years, the company has given a total of 624,000 shells to the schools.
Hornady doesn’t manufacture shotgun shells, so the company buys the 12-gauge shells from other companies. This year, the shells are Winchester Super-Targets.
At Northwest, the parents and students are responsible for providing shells. So the Hornady donation is very helpful. “Because this is a very expensive sport,” said Derek Karre, one of the Northwest trap team’s two coaches.
The Hornady donation is an “incredible” benefit for local shooting teams, said GISH coach Lowell Mitteis.
The donation each school receives is proportionate to the number of shooters on the team. Northwest has 100 shooters, Senior High has 49 and Central Catholic has 17.
Delivered in bulk, ammunition is heavy. “We’re just shy of two pallets this year,” Karre said of his school’s allotment.
GISH received 91 flats. Each flat contains 250 rounds. “A flat is basically 10 boxes of 25,” Mitteis said.
The Hornady donations were triggered by an ammunition shortage eight years ago. Local stores couldn’t keep ammunition in stock. Prices were going up.
Hornady executive Jason Hornady wanted to find a way that “he could help out with that,” said Todd Knecht, the company’s technical services manager.
Hornady asked Knecht to contact the local coaches. He told Knecht, “Let’s get them some ammunition so these kids can keep shooting.”
Part of the shooting industry themselves, the company likes to support local high school shooters. “It just helps promote their sport and their team,” Knecht said.
This year, Hornady provided the Grand Island teams with 312 flats.
The current retail price for Winchester Super Targets at Cabela’s is $72.99 for a flat. Multiplying that price times 312 flats totals $22,772.
Hornady doesn’t pay retail prices for the shells. But that figure gives some idea of the company’s financial contribution.
In addition to other costs, the shooting teams have to pay entry fees. They also have to pay for the clay targets they shoot, at a cost of 16 cents each. “Every time the arm goes around on one of those machines, it’s 16 cents,” Karre said.
Northwest really appreciates “the help from the community,” he said. Without that support, the shooting programs wouldn’t continue.
Each shooting team has at least 50 sponsors. Some of those sponsors are from out of town, but most are local.
Hornady’s support significantly reduces the cost for participants on all of the high school teams, said Central Catholic coach John Lilly.
The ammunition might be given directly to each shooter, used for fundraising efforts or used to pay for scholarships for young shooters “who would otherwise not be able to participate,” Lilly said. “All of these uses increase participation and growth of the shooting sports. We are all very grateful for their support.”