116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Local high school trap and skeet shooting teams already often face skepticism when trying to raise funds for their season.
Now, many are struggling to find resources to even compete this year with a shortage in ammunition.
“We’re on a budget and that is whatever we can raise,” said Jim Kelso, one of the coaches for the Cedar Rapids Kennedy team. “The way things are looked at, it’s hard in the community to raise funds when you tell them it’s to give kids guns.”
There’s a stigma attached when high school-age kids are allowed to have guns, one Amy Bahmann said is wrong. Bahmann is school nurse at Tilford Elementary in Vinton and co-head coach of the Vikings’ club team with her husband Scott.
“All of the students are in good standing with the district with passing grades, while also being deemed emotionally and behaviorally sound to be on the team,” she said. “We are strict on those, but we’ve never had a problem.”
Even with proper funding, area teams are finding it harder and harder to secure the ammunition needed to supply their squads.
Kennedy has 32 kids on the club team with each shooting 50 rounds, twice a week plus competition on the weekends.
That adds up to more than 3,000 rounds per week needed.
“Our initial order should have been rounded up because so many companies were shut down for COVID,” said Amanda Speidel, team sponsor for the Cougars. “They were just selling their current stock. Now we’re really struggling to locate more.”
Speidel said a local vendor was able to “scrounge some together for us,” but added they had to pay a premium for that ammo.
“Right now it’s nearly impossible to find any 12-gauge ammo and we can’t shoot 20 gauge even if we wanted,” Speidel said. “It’s also impossible to find.”
To make their supply last, Kelso said the Cougars are only taking their top 15 shooters to competitions while scheduling two fewer weekends than they would have liked.
“The more experience we could have got them, the better,” Kelso said. “Hopefully by fall we’ll be able to procure enough rounds for next season. If not, I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Vinton-Shellsburg also is struggling to find supply for their 55 student-athletes, although the canceled 2020 season helped them secure what they needed for this season.
“We did have all of our ammo from last season in storage,” Bahmann said. “As far as next season goes, we’re going to hope that we can get a hold of more. We have enough to get by for a little bit, but not the whole season.”
The Vikings, like the Cougars, are on a waiting list with their distributors.
Another obstacle standing in the way until more suppliers restart production is a growing demand outside of the sport.
“We have several million new gun owners,” Kelso said. “They have never owned a gun in the past and we have panic buying.”
For now, area teams are doing what they can to prepare for next month’s state tournament.
“It’s a great sport and we hope everyone keeps going out for it,” Bahmann said. “We’ll try to secure all of the things we need to keep moving forward.”