Lubbock shooting range taps into rising popularity of shotgun events with corporate and charity events

Hub City Clays in Lubbock, Texas

Hub City Clays, image courtesy of Colt Blackwell

Colt Blackwell grew up in Lubbock around guns all the time. He was even named after a gun company – Colt. So is his brother Remington. Sister? Her middle name is Kimber.

“I’ve been around it since I was little,” Blackwell said.

His dad owns Sharp Shooters.

“A lot of kids were always like, ‘Man, you got it made! Your dad owns a gun store. You get to go hunt and shoot all the time.’ And it was actually the total opposite. I didn’t want anything to do with that,” Blackwell said.

His dream was motocross.

Life happened. He needed a job and like so many others he was drawn into clay shooting. Now, at age 30, he’s the general manager of Hub City Clays and is busy with events.

Clay shoots have replaced golf for some corporate events and fundraisers.

The Texas Tech Alumni Association recently held its inaugural “Guns Up Clay Shoot.”

Great for fundraisers

“I think it’s a great way for these corporate charity events to raise money for whatever the cause is,” said Blackwell.

“You could have a wide variety of target presentations over 12 stations. Nothing’s ever going to be the same, and I think that’s what makes it cool and unique,” he said.

“The possibilities are endless,” he said. And that’s one reason the sport is growing.

Hub City Clays in Lubbock, Texas
Hub City Clays, courtesy of Colt Blackwell

“We technically opened Hub City Clays up in 2016,” Blackwell said. It was just a way to use the same property that houses the Lubbock Shooting Complex.

“It’s really taken off. … Now we’re running three courses and got a 5-stand course. It’s really snowballed into something much bigger than I ever thought,” Blackwell said.

“There’s only 52 weeks in a year. I had 55 shoots last year total on the calendar, just to give you an idea of how popular this is,” he said.

An event to benefit women who survived cancer had 340 shooters.

Kaleigh Lawson, social media manager for the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association, said, “Our sport is definitely growing.”

“Last year was our biggest event,” Lawson said.

The National Sporting Clays Championship in San Antonio attracted 2,381 participants – 524 of them for the first time, Lawson said.

The history

The history of shooting at clay targets for sport goes back to the 1800s. In Trap, clay targets – sometimes called pigeons or birds – fly away from the shooter. In Skeet – started in the 1920s – the clay targets cross each other in front of the shooter.

Sporting Clays are newer and a little different. Sometimes the clays come toward the shooter – other times away. There are also clays launched along the ground to simulate a rabbit. It’s been called golf with a shotgun. Every course is unique.

World champion shooter came to Lubbock

Hunter Seymore
Hunter Seymore at a Texas Tech Trap & Skeet Club event, courtesy photo

Hunter Seymore, who started shooting about 10 years ago at age 12, chose Texas Tech University over other schools specifically for its Trap and Skeet Club. He’s the 2020 World Clay Target Champion.

“I was one of the youngest to ever win. I was 18 – just graduated from high school,” Seymore said.

“I just came off of winning a world championship, so I was real excited coming in, getting ready to shoot in the college division, which is really popular across the country. So I was just hoping to get in and start traveling,” Seymore said.

The club at Tech has 60 students and typically travels to competitions with 15 or 20, he said.

Lawson – a Texas Tech graduate and alum of the Trap & Skeet Club – helps to publicize and promote national championship competitions. She started competitive shooting when she was 10.

‘It’s something anybody can do’

“I shot with guys that started shooting when they were my age, and they’re in their 60s or 70s. I’ve even shot with some guys that are in their 80s. So, it’s something that anybody can do – male, female, kids, adults,” Lawson said.

“It’s a little easier to get the hang of versus learning how to swing a club and hit the ball every time,” she said.

Seymore said, “There’s so many different things you can do in the world of shooting sports, and you can pick between a rifle, a shotgun or a pistol.”

“Some of my best friends have come out of shooting sports. … You could show up to shoot not knowing anybody and you’ll make friends,” Seymore said.

And people who do shooting sports are glad to get others involved.

“Anybody would be more than happy to introduce you to the sport and how to get into it,” Seymore said.

Blackwell said, “It’s just a really cool, fun way to get people together.”

Safety is a big deal

Hub City Clays in Lubbock, Texas
Hub City Clays, courtesy of Colt Blackwell

“Safety is everybody’s concern when it comes to shooting,” Seymore said. He mentioned muzzle discipline and trigger discipline.

“The last thing we need is somebody getting hurt, because this is a fun, enjoyable sport,” he said.

Lawson said, “I think the community of shooters does a really good job on maintaining the level of safety.”

“Everybody’s watching everybody,” she said. “We never look at them as a weapon. They are a tool; just like a hockey player needs a hockey stick, a tennis player needs a tennis racket, a golfer needs a golf club. For us and our sport, we need a shotgun, so we never refer to them as weapons. We always refer to them as tools.”

Lawson said when she first started competitive shooting in 4H, there was classroom safety training before anyone went to the shooting range.

Blackwell said, “I feel like Sporting Clays, as a whole, is one of the safer shooting disciplines. It’s very, very rare that you hear about anybody doing anything crazy.”

Where to shoot and what it will cost

“The only thing we don’t have here on property is Trap and Skeet,” Blackwell said. “We’re not in that business.”

He’s considering Trap and Skeet because it would be good for hunters and competitive shooters – including 4H.

Hub City Clays in Lubbock, Texas
Hub City Clays, courtesy of Colt Blackwell

For now, the Tech club splits between Hub City Clays and Palmer Gun Club in Garza County.

Blackwell said there used to be a shooting range for Trap and Skeet near Reese Center and another near Abernathy.

“As far as shotgun specific ranges, we are the only one in Lubbock,” Blackwell said.

“Most people have a shotgun,” Blackwell said. For those who don’t, shotguns are available for rent.

“They’re coming back talking about how much fun they had. And we see them in the next week or two with a new shotgun,” Blackwell said.

“It is expensive,” Seymore said. Lawson and Blackwell both agreed.

Seymore said, “For my sport for trap, you’re looking anywhere from $30 to $60 per event, depending on what kind of shoot it is.”

Lawson said a flat of ammo (250 rounds) is $120.

Blackwell said time on his course will average a little less than 50 cents per clay for members, a little more for non-members. That’s not including the cost of the ammo.

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Author: James Clark- James Clark is the associate editor of Lubbock Lights. He worked in radio, television and digital media for a combined total of more than 30 years. He was Director of Digital News Content at KAMC, KLBK and for nearly 10 years.