It is said that “trap shooting is an easy sport to learn but difficult to master.” Lifelong Tehachapi resident Megan Stout must not have heard that old saying. With less than two years of experience in shotgun sports, Stout, 22, came home with honors after the 106th California Golden State Trap Association Championships held June 18-23 in Kingsburg.

She's proving she is a natural at trap shooting, the sport of shooting at clay targets (pigeons) flying at speeds up to 50 mph when released from a spring trap at distances of 30 to 50 yards. Stout is a standout in a male-dominated sport.

In the week-long CGSTA Championship, Stout came home with a silver engraved trophy platter and jewel-adorned belt buckle as Lady I Champion, after a double shoot off with a two-bird lead. Stout hit 93 of 100 targets in the handicap event, shooting from the 19-yard line to tie for first and forcing the shoot off. Stout also brought home a belt buckle as Lady I Runner Up in Singles, hitting 193 of 200 targets.

“She is a really good shot (Megan said of her competition in the finals), and it was definitely the most stressful shooting I have ever competed in. My legs were shaking while I was up on the line and my heart was pounding. It was so scary, yet extremely thrilling when it was finally over.”

Along the road to this year’s state meet, Stout was the benefactor of coaching from her father and others at the Tehachapi Sportsman’s Club trap range.

“Literally everyone at the (shooting) range helped me improve and taught me. Ever since the first day I came out to shoot, everyone had advice and tips to help me and I took all of it and tried to figure out what worked best for me,” she said.

One of Stout’s mentors is James Wise at the TSC.

“She is a wonderful person,” Wise said of Stout. “I have been fortune enough to coach some great people over the years and Megan is one of the most willing students I have worked with. She wanted to shoot and to shoot with her dad.”

Stout has also had the benefit of coaching by 2017 CGSTA Handicap Champion Dale Johnson, a Tehachapi resident and member of the TSC. Johnson described Stout as “an outstanding student who comprehended the aspect of trap shooting and what it took to get to the next level.” Johnson added he advised Stout the day of the championship, “to be calm. Focus on the next target.”

After she finished, Stout told Johnson, she remembered his advice,: “Take your time, make one shot at a time.” Johnson added about Stout’s future in trap shooting, “I see her becoming a multi-time champion if she stays with it.”

Reflecting on her journey, Stout said, “My very first Amateur Trap Association shoot was in Las Vegas, Nev., and I shot a 95 (of 100) in singles the first day and a 93 the second day and won ladies singles for both days.”

Stout said of her first venture in competitive shooting: “I shot an 85 and an 89 in my handicap there and won ladies handicap the first day.” Stout kept it humble explaining that there were only three ladies competing. "I've gotten a 94 and a 95 at (another meet held in North Hollywood)," she said.

At the Tri State Meet, in Arizona, Stout hit 84 and an 88 in singles with extremely windy conditions.

“I won ladies singles both days there and ladies handicap one of the days with a score of 80,” she said.

Stout, a biology major at CSUB, is a THS alumni of the class of 2015. She was introduced to clay target shooting by her father, Joe Stout, in August 2017, and the father-daughter team has attended several meets this year.

“I couldn't be more proud of her,” father Joe Stout said. “The time we're spending together is creating some of the most precious memories I'll ever have.”

When not hitting the books at CSUB, or at the Tehachapi Sportsman Club trap range, Stout works at Tractor Supply.