To Creighton Maynard III, it’s not complicated. If you want to handle a firearm, you’d better know what you’re doing.
That thinking was at the forefront of him starting the Aledo Clay Busters, a competitive target shooting club that also stresses the importance of young people knowing how to handle a gun properly.
“Proper education and safety are paramount for anyone who handles and operates a firearm,” Maynard said. “That’s why we mandate a gun safety course for each athlete before they ever shoot with the team.”
Participation in the club is for sixth grade through college.
“I believe that the skills, attitudes, and responsibilities that we teach to our young men and women today will stay with them forever, confidence through competition, safe handling and respect for firearms, growth and maturity through practice and improvement, life-long friendships,” he continued. “Also, this is a life-long social sport, like golf.”
Maynard got the idea to start the club about a year ago when his son, Creighton IV, began target shooting with the Parker County 4-H program following the family’s move from Katy. They practice at the Sportsman’s Club in northwest Parker County, about a 45-minute drive from Aledo.
“I noticed that there wasn’t a team in the southeast region of the county and felt Aledo and Weatherford could support another team,” he said.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of a new shooting team,” said Creighton IV.
Though the club bears the name Aledo, it is open to youngsters throughout Parker County and others nearby, Maynard said.
“I put together many naming options after seeing other team names, and then my son made the final decision,” he said. “SouthEast Parker County Clay Busters just didn’t sing.”
The Clay Busters’ home field will be Fort Worth Trap and Skeet off of I-20 just west of Fort Worth (15 minutes away). It is the home of several other youth shooting teams from around the Fort Worth area.
Maynard is a compounding pharmacist by profession and owner of Fort Worth Pharmacy. About five years ago, he became a certified National Rifle Association rifle and shotgun instructor to work with the Boy Scout program for merit badges.
Parents are happy Maynard is focusing on firearm safety as a top priority.
“Everyone knows about the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. But what goes side by side with this right is the responsibility to be properly trained to use arms safely and effectively,” said Ed Schairbaum. “This can be a fun and rewarding experience for an adult teaching gun safety to their son and or daughter.”
Amy Kehrt praised Maynard’s attention to detail with each team member.
“As a military and hunting family we wanted our son to be knowledgeable and comfortable handling a gun,” she said. “We felt the Aledo Clay Busters was a great way for our son to learn about shooting and gun safety while forming friendships with his peers.”
Jason Molsbee has two sons in the program, Toby and Travis. He likes the idea of them being part of a team and what it could mean for them now and in the future.
“I believe that it helps Toby and Travis know and understand the importance of how to handle a gun and that it is not a toy. This is a team, and working with others who have the same interest to help build each other up, and do well is a life skill Toby and Travis can use in other aspects of life now and in the future,” he said.
The club will primarily associate with the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) guidelines, Maynard said. However, they will compete in tournaments hosted by the SCTP, along with USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports, Youth Target Foundation and 4-H.
They currently have six SCTP tournaments on the schedule through spring, as well as the state, regional, and national shooting tournaments in May, June, and July.
“Our shooting athletes will be able to compete as often as they want,” Maynard said. “Also, there will be opportunities for summer shooting camps and seasonal get-togethers for the team.”
That certainly excites members of the squad.
“I think it’s a fun opportunity, and I look forward to shooting every week and competing in the tournaments,” said Dean Herman.
“I’m looking forward to hanging with my friends while doing something I’ve done for a very long time,” said Clark Schairbaum.
With safety a major part of the program, Maynard said he is also calling on adult volunteers to help coach the team, and those coaches must know how to handle a gun safely.
“Adult volunteers and coaches will be the key to the success of this team. We need all of them to contribute someway, somehow,” he said. “The coaches will need to become shotgun certified by one of the many approved shooting organizations, and we’ll need other adults to handle the organizational activities.”
But before ANY student or adult can participate, there is a mandatory safety training course they must complete and pass.
Registration costs about $52. Competition shirts and caps, along with practice fees, run about $90. Shooters are responsible for paying for their practice ammunition and clay target costs, about $15 per round for 25 clays. Also, tournament fees are usually between $40 and $60 per event plus ammo costs.
“As we grow and solicit donations for our operating funds, ACB will be able to cover some of the practice and tournament costs for the athletes,” Maynard said. “We will create the Aledo Clay Buster Shooting Foundation 501(c) 3 to receive donations to support ACB.
“Also, we hope to be able to provide club guns to some of our newer shooters in the near future. Right now, shooters will need to provide their equipment such as a gun, ammo, shooting pouch/vest, and ear/eye protection.”
Maynard understands the caution that must be taken with guns, and he is a big advocate of knowing what you are doing before picking one up. He also believes that proper use of a gun can be fun, and that is a big part of the team, he said.
“This team is all about having fun while improving your shooting skills through practice and competition,” he said.
For more information, contact Maynard at 713-562-0995, or firstname.lastname@example.org.