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Camaraderie counts just as much as trophies to trapshooter Scott Abo

Additional photo showing a detailed view of the maker's mark, K-80 Krieghoff, Germany

Story and photos by Dianna Troyer

A nationally ranked trapshooter, Scott Abo, 64, admits he lost count long ago of how many trophies he has won.

“Who knows—the count is at least 200,” says the Heyburn farmer who started shooting in 2007 as a hobby. “I’m running out of room for them. They’re in about every room in the house.” Winning motivates him at Amateur Trapshooting Association tournaments. While he appreciates the accolades and trophies, Scott says the camaraderie on the shooting circuit is just as important.

“I’ve met great people from all over the world,” he says. “As you move up the ranks, you become part of a tight-knit community.” He competes in about 20 tournaments throughout the West every season, approaching each contest with an easygoing attitude.

“I just go out and shoot and see what happens,” he says. “If I make the All-American team, that’s great. If not, I always have a good time anyway.”

His point of view has proven successful. Based on points he earned from wins on the trapshooting circuit, he was among 5 shooters named to the ATA’s All-American Team for Idaho last summer.

Since his 2023 season started September 1, Scott has accumulated even more trophies. At the recent Nevada State Shoot, he won the Doubles Class Championship Sub-Veteran, Non-Resident High All Around Sub-Veteran and High Over All Class AA Non-Resident.

If a trophy isn’t engraved, Scott donates it to the ATA’s youth program.

During the winter, he stays at the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club, where he competes in events at the club’s extensive shooting center. Scott also travels throughout the West to other competitions that last several days to a week.

How does he mentally prepare himself before shooting each target?

Among the trophies above are the 2021 Grand American Hodgdon Powder Singles Class AA Champion, the 2023 Nevada State Shoot Doubles Class Championship Sub-Veteran and numerous Idaho State Shoot trophies.

After settling into his shooting stance, he takes a deep breath and exhales slowly.

“You can’t think about anything except seeing and hitting the target,” he says. “You can’t let yourself get distracted or let your mind wander and wonder about things like, ‘Did I turn off the coffee pot at home?’ My motto is ‘Don’t miss—hit the target.’”

He attributes his success to “watching top shooters and taking their advice.”

Applying their tips, he set a personal record of hitting 347 consecutive targets.

“It’s fairly common for some shooters to hit 200 straight,” he says.

Scott was introduced to shooting sports in 2007 when a friend invited him to compete in Balls and Bullets, a competition at a local golf course and shooting range. Friends gave him a few tips about shooting sporting clays and trap.

In sporting clays, round clay targets called pigeons or birds are launched from various points with diverse trajectories to mimic birds in flight. Trapshooters aim at targets launched from a “house” in front of them.

“In sporting clays, I reached the highest level of master class and kind of lost interest,” he says. “I don’t really know why I’ve stayed with trapshooting. It’s just fun.”

As Scott met more trapshooters on the circuit, he realized he was unconventional.

“Most shooters have been competing since they were teenagers, but I didn’t start until I was 49,” he says. “I don’t really practice much either—maybe once a week shooting about 25 targets but I’m shooting about 15,000 registered targets a year, so that’s practice in itself.”

Scott competes in 15 to 20 tournaments annually, shooting about 1,200 targets at each.

Scott estimates he has won more than 200 trophies since he started shooting in 2007. His trophies come in all shapes and sizes.

“That’s a lot of shells,” he says.

He chose a German gun capable of handling high use and designed specifically for trapshooting.

“It’s an amazing gun,” he says of his Krieghoff K-80. “It’s not only durable but artistic, too.”

On the metal action, it has exquisite engraving in a Bavaria Suhl Mystic pattern with motifs of chimera and a mythical wind god. The stock of Turkish walnut is customized to fit Scott.

“It’s really enjoyable to shoot,” he says. “Whatever happens this winter, it will be great.

“I’ll keep my motto in mind for many years. For me, shooting is a great lifetime sport.”