Junior Ida Brown, a member of the Hillsdale College shotgun team, made the U.S.A. Women’s National Team for International Trap this year. She ranked fourth on the team after learning how to shoot bunker less than a year ago.
A round of bunker includes 25 targets launched from a bunker. Rounds are typically shot with five other people who rotate five times at a station. At each station, competitors receive two left, two right, and one straight away shot. The targets are randomly launched so competitors must be ready to shoot in any direction.
“Spring selections in Tucson was to select the US National Team to travel to World Cups,” Brown said. “They took the top six women and top six men from both trap and skeet for the team. I made the top six women so I’m on the US National Team to travel to World Cups between now and nationals in July.”
According to Head Coach Jordan Hintz, a lot of people in the international circle realized that Ida has talent.
“I certainly was on the same page as them,” Hintz said. “Bunker is a very difficult game to just pick up and she started shooting really well right away in it. I’m not surprised by the success that Ida has been having. If anything, I would say that her success has happened sooner than I would have imagined.”
Brown has quickly grown in her form and work ethic, according to Hintz.
“Ida has learned a lot from the Olympic coaches and Olympic team members since she’s been shooting the International Trap,” Brown said. I always knew that the possibility for Ida to excel in shooting was there.”
Junior Alecca Hofmeister, said that Brown and her were in the same hall freshman year and became close friends. According to Hofmeister, Brown will be traveling to different countries to compete with the national team.
“One of Ida’s first competitions for bunker was in St. Louis in May last year,” Hofmeister said. “Ida was surprised by how well she did because it was a completely new discipline for her. People always say that you have to grow up shooting bunker because it’s more challenging. Ida was surprisingly really good at bunker. Bunker is one of the international disciplines for shooting and sporting clays is not, which is why Ida wanted to see if she could do well in bunker.”
Hofmeister said Brown competes in every competition she can.
“This past summer, Ida entered a lot of competitions independently,” Hofmeister said. “I saw Ida shoot in California when I was visiting her. She went as an individual to get more practice, get her name out there more, and see how she placed. In August, I watched Ida at a shoot in Wisconsin where she did really well.”
According to Hofmeister, Ida is a very strong, determined, dedicated, and fearless individual.
“She has the kind of mindset that she can overcome anything,” Hofmeister said.
According to Brown, she started shooting 10 years ago when she was in fifth grade.
“I started with American Trap and then progressed to American Skeet in sporting clays,” Brown said. I joined Hilldale’s team and started shooting doubles skeet, doubles trap, and super sporting as well.”
Brown’s biggest inspirations include Todd Bender, winner of 24 NSSA World Championships.
“Scott Vivix is my coach back home who continued to coach me after high school,” Brown said Dale Royer and Caitlin Connor are both coaches here at Hillsdale. They are current and former members of US national teams. They are the ones who really told me that I was good enough to continue shooting at this level and that I would be good enough to make the national team.”
Faith Pendergrass, Brown’s best friend from home, always encouraged her to shoot bunker.
“Faith started shooting the year before I did,” Brown said. “We became friends a year after I started shooting. She picked up bunker when we were both a lot younger. Faith and her dad are the ones who have always insisted I would be good at shooting bunker and wanted me to pick it up a long time ago.”
According to Brown, shooting has helped develop her character.
“I was fairly shy and reserved as a younger kid,” Brown said. “When I got into shooting, it helped me learn to make connections with other people. It helped me become more outgoing.”
Brown said she wants younger students who shoot to know that they can continue to shoot in college and beyond.
“I think the one thing that’s understated about shooting in general is that people don’t know it exists,” Brown said. “People don’t know it’s an Olympic sport or that you can do it in college. If I had known when I was younger that shooting sports are something I can do in college and I could keep doing it as a career, that probably would have encouraged me to work for it a lot harder. I didn’t know I could get a scholarship for shooting in college until I was a sophomore or junior in high school. I think that’s why it becomes just a hobby for a lot of kids. They prioritize other things because they don’t think they can continue to compete in shooting sports after high school.”