Welcome to the gun show

As George Hensley, sophomore, approaches his first station, his aim must switch from any outside distraction to an orange flash, which he plans to penetrate with a shotgun shell. This clay pigeon is released from a distance of 16 yards, at the sound of his call “pull.” At this moment, Hensley has less then a second to shoot the bird with his 12-gauge trap shotgun. He will have five shots from station one and then will repeat the same pattern at four other stations.

“I’ve always been hyper and never that good at sports,” Hensley said, “but the outdoors has always been with me through fishing, hunting and now trap shooting. It’s just perfect.”

In Hensley’s freshman year of high school, he began to realize very quickly that he would not be participating in any KHS sports. KHS had no activity to satisfy his love for nature and the outdoors until he met Jayce Raber, a 2010 graduate and coach at the Jay Henges trap shooting range. Raber happened to be holding a meeting for students interested in trap shooting the day they met and encouraged Hensley to show up for a brief explanation of the sport. Hensley has been committed to Jay Henges trap shooting team since then, and has also gained full support from his family.

“I got my first shotgun when I was 10, a Pennington Youth 20 Gauge Pump, and had shot rifles at farms, along with turkey hunting and fishing,” Hensley said. “Hunting has been a special occasion in the family for awhile, but trap shooting gives me more chances to shoot, which is better.”

It did not take long for Hensley to become passionate about trap shooting. In his first year, Hensley shot a perfect 25, which earned him a badge, a medal and free merchandise from sponsors. What took Raber three years to achieve, Hensley took only one.

Jan Morris, program coordinator at Jay Henges shooting range said most trap shooters hit their top form after three years of shooting, but due to Hensley’s commitment and love for the game, he has reached that point in only a year.  Hensley has learned an incredible amount in his short time as a trap shooter but is always willing and ready to shoot for more.

“I can control my heart rate, stand completely still, have soft focus and just stare into blank space,” Hensley said. “It’s getting easier and easier just to sense that orange speck and pull that trigger.”

Still, it is astonishing to his friends that Hensley takes 90mg of Concerta per day to counter his struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and can still thrive in a sport that requires incredible concentration and hand-eye coordination.

“I tell people that I trap shoot, and they don’t believe me,” Hensley said. “When I’m out there, I stand still to the point that you won’t know if I am a statue or not.”

Although most of his time is spent at KHS, Hensley is not scared to admit his true friends are the ones he shoots, fishes and hunts with. Raber refers to her fellow shooters as a “big family” and emphasizes that when a new shooter comes around, they are quick to be embraced as a new family member.

“It’s just a different comfort level when I’m out there with those guys,” Hensley said. “I love those guys.”

In his second year as a trap shooter, Hensley has made a goal to shoot somewhere every Saturday from Jan. 22 until Aug. 31 and has been invited to go on multiple quail and goose hunts in February.

“The adrenaline you get is overwhelming,” Hensley said. “You’ll never have any feeling like you will when you’re standing at that line. You can’t say you don’t like it until you try it.”

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