The Carter Family, Three Generations of Shooting
Recently, I have been highlighting family groups at local shoots here in Utah. I would like to continue this trend as often as I can. During the Helper, UT, shoot in mid-May, I was fortunate enough to be on the same squad as Clair Carter and his grandson Bradyn. I have been acquainted with Clair for some time, as well as his sons, Shawn and Chance, but all I knew about them was that they all hailed from Utah County near Spanish Fork. Clair and his sons have always been gentlemen and great competitors.
Flash forward two weeks to the Western Grand in Vernal, UT. I was walking through the campground when I saw the Carter family barbecuing hamburgers and having a regular picnic. What a great way to unwind after a long day of shooting trap. I stopped and asked a few questions and realized this was one of the family groups that I wanted to highlight.
I was first greeted by Clair and Barbara, the heads of the family. Barbara doesn’t shoot, but she is the number one cheerleader. I had the family line up from oldest to youngest so I could get a photo. The order was Clair, Barbara, son Shawn and his wife Mellisa, son Chance and his wife Riley, grandsons Bradyn and Easton, and granddaughter Aria. The family had three trailers parked side-by-side, and there was plenty of laughter and conversation.
I asked for a little shooter history on
each of them; Clair told me they could
have a squad of six; himself, Shawn,
Chance, Bradyn, Easton, and Mellisa.
Clair joined the ATA in 1986. In
1987 he won short-yardage champ
at the Utah State Shoot and many
more trophies along the way. He has
amassed quite a few targets in his
Shawn is the father of Bradyn
and Easton and is married to Mellisa.
He won the Fiesta Days singles event
for his class in 2019, the first year he
resumed shooting after a long hiatus.
Shawn is usually on the sidelines
watching his boys shoot trap,
something they love to do.
Mellisa just joined the ATA in the 2020-2021 season. She is having a blast learning the game and shooting with the family. Her scores are improving very rapidly, and I am willing to bet her first 25 is going to be very soon.
Sub Junior Easton also joined the ATA at the same time as his mother. He has two perfect 25’s under his belt-one in practice and one at the Western Grand in Vernal. Sweet!
Bradyn Joined the ATA in 2016 and has also competed with the Skyline High School X Shooting Team and recently won the High Over All Senior. Bradyn has won and placed in many ATA events in sub-Junior, junior and open class where no junior categories are offered. He also won one of the Annie Oakley events in Vernal during the evening activities at the Western Grand this year.
Chance joined the ATA in 2002 and has racked up quite a shooting resume. He has held an AAA27AA average for at least three years. Clair took him to the Grand in 2003 (in Vandalia) when he was 13 years old. That is where he broke his first of many 100 straights in singles. He won the Hall of Fame Youth shoot at the Grand and had his name placed in the ATA Hall of Fame. He has been captain and team member of the Utah State Sub Junior and Junior teams for six years in a row.
Granddaughter Aria is a little too young to hoist a shotgun, but I am sure that in due time she will be a regular squad member.
There was a seventh member of the family, Jason Holman. Jason was an excellent shooter and a member of the ATA for many years. He won the Western Grand Singles Championship in 2017 and made the cover of Trap & Field for his accomplishment. Jason lost his life in 2018 in a tragic mining accident.
The last bit of sad news is that Clair is ill with cancer. He postponed chemo treatment until after the Utah State Shoot, so he could spend time with his family doing the things his family enjoys so much and shoot theWestern Grand as well as the State Shoot.
I wish you luck, Clair.
In other news, 23 Utahans ventured north to Pocatello, ID, to attend the Idaho State Shoot on Memorial Day weekend. The sign at the entrance to the gun club property pretty well says it all, “The Wind is Your Friend.” Friday did not disappoint. There was a lot of wind! The next three days broke tradition ,and the weather was very nice.
After one night at home, it was time for me to drive over the hill to Vernal, UT, for the Western Grand. Sean and Stacy Hawley do a great job of running large shoots. Sean put about 200 miles on his side-by-side during the week just driving the trap line making sure all machines were working properly and that the trap help was performing as they should.
The weather was good for the most part, with occasional stiff breezes. The only time a shooter gets “bad” targets in Vernal, it is generally due to weather.
Achievements during the week:
Perry Wiener of South Dakota achieved his 50,000
singles targets milestone and broke 100 in the
process. If memory serves me correctly, Perry
broke his first 100 in doubles last year at the
Kelly Brinkerhoff of Vernal punched his first 100 in
Junior Gold shooter Arron Vossen of WA, made
the 27-yard line on Thursday when he broke 98
from the 26-yard line.
Sub Junior Wyatt Debrie of NE, also made the
27-yard line on Friday, with a 98 from the 26-yard
Great accomplishments, all of you!
On a sad note, Earl Harding of Stockton, UT, passed away at home on May 29, 2021.
I send my condolences to the Harding family.