Slinger student takes aim at trap shooting national team

Post date: Mar 29, 2016 3:09:06 AM

Ashton Werner targeting in his Perazzi customized shotgun.

By: Megan Cichon, Entertainment Editor

Posted, November 24, 2015

In January 2014, a young trap shooter named Ashton Werner made the National Trap Shooting Team. Since becoming a part of the national team, Ashton has traveled to several countries; including Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. When asked to compare trap shooting in America to other countries, Ashton said that other counties have trap shooting bunkers like America has golf courses. Which makes sense, considering trap shooting is the 4th most watched sport overseas. In addition to being more popular, there are more competitions for trap shooters overseas than in America.

While overseas, Ashton had the opportunity to work with some Olympic level trap shooters. He worked with Rudolfo “Rudy” Vigano, a world recognized Olympic trap shooter from Italy. He also got to work with Giovanni Pallielo, who will be representing Italy in the 2016 Olympic Games. “It’s fun having a different coach,” Ashton said about working with them, “They have a lot to teach.” Speaking of coaches, Ashton’s coach here in the states is Allen Chub. Chub trains his shooters with the idea that they will eventually reach the Olympic level. He has them shoot in foreign countries so they can meet their competition on their home turf, and also so the shooters are not afraid of shooting on foreign soil. No one else is training their shooters on foreign soil, not even the USA Olympic Development Team.

Competing overseas has created many new opportunities for Ashton, and has allowed him to live for a while in many different cultures. He loves that he is able to travel the world, and that trap shooting has set a path that he will walk down for the rest of his life. When asked what about trap shooting was so appealing to him, he replied that “It’s an out of the box sport that’s new to the USA. I have a natural talent for it, and there’s lots of colleges offering scholarship money for competitive trap shooters.”

Ashton does not travel alone to these foreign countries. He goes with a team of shooters who all match his skill in trap shooting. The oldest person on Ashton’s team is 27 years old, while the youngest is 13. Once shooters on a team reach age 21, they are moved into the junior class, which is meant for older trap shooters. Ashton is currently on the A-team.

When Ashton was asked if he was considering turning trap shooting into a career and hopefully making it to the Olympics, his reply was yes. He practices approximately 16 hours every weekend, and 40 or more hours per month. His family has always been into guns, so Ashton’s grandfather introduced Ashton to shooting when he was around age 4. Cody Mueller introduced Ashton to trap shooting at age 11, and about 2 or 3 years ago he began shooting Olympic trap. Because of all the traveling he does, Ashton has over 30 sponsors who help pay for his ammunition, his gun, his clothing, and other such traveling expenses; on his trip to Europe, his sponsors paid for the $15,000 trip. While he is good at what he does, he does have a backup plan in place. If Olympic shooting doesn’t work out, he hopes to get a scholarship to Pennsylvania State to study biotech.

Ashton is not just a trap shooter. He has participated in a wide variety of sports, which have prepared him for all the hard work and training that goes into being a trap shooter. Just like any other athlete, every three months, Ashton fills out a log that keeps tabs on his eyesight, along with how much he runs and lifts. He estimates he spends two and a half hours per day after school down in the weight room here at Slinger working out, and then on the weekend he spends about eight hours shooting. All in all, he estimates that he puts in about twenty seven and a half hours per week preparing himself to compete. He travels to Pennsylvania once a month to train, and also occasionally travels to Hillsdale and Lindenwood -- which are two big shooting centers -- to train.

“Trap shooting is a lot harder than it looks,” Ashton remarks, “It’s 90% mental.” And yet despite all the challenges Ashton has faced, he has won a Bronze in Juniors in the Grand Prix of Cernay (in France), and competed in the Fiocchi Grand Prix, ultimately taking home silver. His most recent competition was on the weekend of the 24th and 25th of October, where he made finals both days and won two silvers.

Werner with Olympic shooter

Giovanni Pallielo of Italy.

Ashton Werner at the Fiocchi Grand Prix competition this summer.