I’m decent with a shotgun. Grew up nailing quail with my dad’s 12-gauge, missed more than my fair share of dove, nabbed a spring turkey once, and shot the occasional varmint. But the most fun I’ve ever had with a shotgun was many years ago, when a friend took me to shoot sporting clays at a range outside San Angelo, Texas. If you’ve never shot sporting clays, the best way to describe it is “golf, but with a shotgun.” Groups of 2-4 move through shooting stations—typically constructed to play off the natural elements around them—shooting a set of clays at each one. For years, I thought to myself, “This is what Lake of the Ozarks needs!” My friend Mike, a better shooter than I could ever hope to be, agreed.

Then we got word: Missouri Trapshooters Association in Linn Creek was opening their first-ever sporting clays course. We made plans to go, and were not disappointed.

Become an MTA Sporting Clays member to get discounts on targets. Join here. (Membership is not required to shoot at MTA, it’s just a good idea!)

Reloading at MTA

MTA in Linn Creek is the second-largest shotgun shooting complex in the country, drawing trapshooters from across the state, Midwest, and even the nation, as the venue hosts large tournaments annually. Anyone can shoot traps, but the sport has a special appeal to competitive shooters. If you’re a competitive shooter—guys like my friend Mike—you know where MTA is, and you’re probably a member of the club, and go shoot regularly. But that leaves out many, many people who love shooting guns — and who may have a more “amateur” appreciation and equipment when it comes to shooting clays. And so MTA saw the opportunity to welcome an entirely new crop of shooters, with their new sporting clays course. The “Blackberry Ridge” course opened in the summer of 2021, and it’s just the first of several courses MTA plans to build in the next few years, as they develop a major sporting clays complex.

Sporting Clay Thrower at Missouri Trapshooters

MTA is open to the public, but it makes the most sense to join as a member. Sporting Clays Annual Memberships are $125/person or $150/family, and corporate memberships are available for $750. A membership includes 200 targets (clays) and a 12% discount on targets. Deeper discounts for clays are available for bulk-quantity purchases. Corporate memberships include 2,000 targets and the deepest discounts on clays.

View Membership Pricing

View the Membership Form Online

Driving Through MTA

At MTA, you travel past the lengthy line of trapshooting fields (this place really is huge) before you reach the sporting clays course. You insert your card at the first box, allowing you to operate the clay-throwers (and thus only charging you for the clays you use), and, per sporting clay etiquette, allow all shooters to see one clay thrown from each of the two throwers. At each station, clay throwers are set up differently — and MTA even moves them around from time to time. So it won’t just be two clays coming in a standard pattern right in front of you: no, sporting clay courses can send a clay looping sky-high, or one skittering across the ground (known as a “rabbit”), or one flying toward the shooting box.

Showing Where The Clays Come Across

The variety and the fact that it really simulates how critters might act in real hunting situations make the whole experience a blast (pun definitely intended) from start to finish. Shooters can vary the difficulty by sending the clays one at a time, or as “true pairs.”

Brent Shooting at MTA

It’s exactly the kind of fun a group of friends wants: not overly demanding, amid the picturesque Ozark hills and woods, with plenty of space for competition and camaraderie. More people have been discovering the MTA Sporting Clays course, thanks to recent events hosted this spring and summer. A fundraiser shoot organized by the Crossover Christian Music Festival in April helped raise money for Teen Harbor, a local organization that shelters teens. It brought eight teams to compete. Another fundraiser in June by Community Foundation of the Lake helped raise money for the Magic Dragon Trails System, to bring more hiking/biking public-use trails to the Lake area.

Mike Shooting at MTA

And the Shootout For The Shootout, an event seemingly tailor-made for the Lake of the Ozarks’ biggest charity boating event, will bring sporting clay shooters to MTA on July 10, for a 100-round event to support Shootout charities. The cost is $100 per shooter, includes targets and lunch, with a $200 team entry as squad for side pot option. At least one firearm will be raffled off, and prizes will be given to competitors. (Register online at lakeoftheozarksshootout.com.)

The LakeExpo Crew at MTA

So MTA’s new sporting clay course is already proving what many of us had been thinking for a long time: the Lake of the Ozarks does need one of these! And now it’s got one.

Check out the MTA sporting clay course at 51 Trapshooters Rd, Linn Creek, MO 65052. Call them at 573-346-2449

Brent Reloads at MTA


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