- Associated Press - Saturday, April 11, 2015

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) - Konner Giddley took aim at the 4 1/2-inch orange disc soaring through the bright blue sky and squeezed the trigger.

The small sphere continued on its way undamaged, landing in the tall grass on the Izaak Walton League Beloit Chapter’s trapshooting range.

The one that got away.

There aren’t many when Konner is on the firing line.

“Yeah, I pulled that one a little,” Konner said with a grin after blasting 23 of the next 24 targets.

At 10 years old, the Townview Elementary School fourth grader is already a celebrated marksman at the club, recently shooting a perfect round - hitting 25-of-25 “birds.”

That just isn’t done very often by a shooter his age.

“I’d never seen a 10-year-old do that,” Dave Dylak, Konner’s coach at Izaak Walton, told the Beloit Daily News (https://bit.ly/1c9Lpwr ). “That’s an amazing thing. I knew when I started coaching him last year he was an unusually good shooter. I’d watched him play other sports, like basketball and baseball, and I knew he was a gifted athlete. That hand-eye coordination is sure there.

“He’s had a lot of coaching from his dad and he spends a lot of time practicing on the range.”

Konner comes from a family where shooting is second-nature.

His father, Dave, is the Learn to Hunt Coordinator at the club and finished off its Polar League by hitting 100 straight birds. His record is 200.

“I started shooting a pellet gun when I was 4,” Dave Giddley said. “Konner shot a .22 when he was that age and started trapshooting at 5. My dad and mom shot. My dad ran as many as 500 straight in skeet, which is unheard of unless you’re a professional.”

Konner, who has also been on turkey and deer hunts with his dad since he was little, shot smaller guns until last year when he moved up to a 12-gauge shotgun.

“He’s shooting my mom’s old trap gun,” Dave said. “She handed it down to me and I handed it down to Konner. That gun is still probably still worth $1,500 to $2,000. My trap gun is worth $7,500.”

Sure, there are less expensive hobbies…

“I don’t mind spending the money,” Dave said. “He’s having fun. You won’t see a kid out there with more drive. I’ve never pushed him at all. He wants to practice and improve. When it becomes like work, then it will be a problem.”

Playing video games are fine, but Konner says he prefers the real thing.

“It’s a lot of fun having the chance to shoot at a moving target,” he said. “People who say they don’t like it probably just haven’t tried it.”

His coach says he has only two rules on the range: “Be safe and have fun.”

Konner handles both.

“What is really sweet about Konner is that he’s really humble,” Dylak said. “He’s coachable. You can tell him something and he takes it to heart and tries to make the adjustment.”

His future is bright in the sport.

“Breaking 25 out of 25 is great, but breaking 50 in a row is the next step,” Dylak said. “Then you move up to your first 100 and on from there. Everybody can always improve.”

Dylak currently has about 20 protégés shooting on weekends. The junior shooters participate in the Scholastic Clay Target Program and will soon compete in meets throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. The program’s nationals are in Sparta, Illinois.

“We joined the SCTP last year,” Dylak said. “It’s a really neat organization that’s all about the kids. Wisconsin is the fastest growing state for shooting sports in this program.”

The first SCTP competition will be hosted by the Beloit club on May 15-17.

That will also be Konner’s competitive debut. He plans on trying to fit as many of the shoots he can around his busy summer baseball schedule. Either way, he isn’t worried about shooting when it counts.

“Like my dad taught me, ‘Giddleys never get nervous,’” he said.

When they’re the ones doing the shooting anyway.

“When he was running those 25 I was more nervous than he was,” his dad said. “Really, I always tell him, there’s nothing to be nervous about. If they break, they break. But it sure is fun when you get on a roll like that.”

Konner agreed.

“I just kept my confidence up and tried not to think about it,” he said. “I just thought about hitting one bird at a time. If you do everything right you can break them all.”


Information from: Beloit Daily News, https://www.beloitdailynews.com

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