Early participation in shooting sports can lead to lifelong outdoor activities. For Rick Marshall, it led to a career.
The Lincoln native found out at a young age that trapshooting was his game. As a teen, he shot competitively in high school and on the Amateur Trapshooting Association circuit.
Since then, he has taught trap lessons, promoted the sport, represented a shotgun manufacturer, coached a university trap team and marketed the annual high school Cornhusker Trapshoot event. And he still travels the country shooting in the ATA, where he has been named an All-American 28 times.
With the 50th anniversary of the Cornhusker Trapshoot coming May 2-4 in Doniphan, Marshall remains the only shooter to win the shoot three consecutive years.
“It’s been a fun sport,” Marshall said. “If you shoot trap or any clay target sports, you meet a wide variety of people who are genuine people.”
Marshall figured out at an early age that he “was fairly decent at shooting and decided this is what I loved to do.” He learned to shoot trap in the mid-1980s when he went with his father to a local gun club. He later started taking lessons from legendary trapshooter Frank Hoppe, who eventually became his lifelong coach and mentor.
Competing for Lincoln High as a freshman in 1989, Marshall lost in a shoot-off for the Cornhusker Cup, the award to the overall winner of the Cornhusker Trapshoot. He won the Cup in 1990, ’91 and ’92.
Losing the shoot-off as a freshman inspired Marshall to work harder. Shooting longer distances during ATA handicap events made a difference.
“That’s where I really shined, in the handicap,” he said. “I made a commitment to myself in 1989 when I lost the shoot-off for the Cornhusker Cup. I said ‘I’m never going to lose a handicap shoot-off again,’ and I’m not sure I did in the rest of my high school career.”
Marshall has stayed active in the Cornhusker Trapshoot, taking on a marketing role and obtaining donations for giveaways. “I ask people in the industry to give back to the youth because that is what the future of shooting is. All of these companies out there, without the kids coming up, there is no one there to purchase their products. I help out with anything I can to promote youth shooting.”
In addition, Marshall is in his fourth year as coach of the Doane University trap team. He also is director of shooting sports for Kolar Arms, a Wisconsin-based maker of competition shotguns.
As a boy, Marshall was introduced to hunting and gun safety by his father. He grew up hunting pheasant and quail, but mostly hunts waterfowl now. Marshall has two sons who hunt, one of whom also shoots trap.
“I would like to think that every kid that shoots clay targets should have a hunting and fishing permit,” he said. “If you love to shoot, you should love to hunt and fish.”
Shooting sports offer hunters the opportunity to practice. “If you want to be a good hunter, you got to practice,” he said. “You can only shoot so many birds because of the regulations. You can go to the gun club and shoot as many clay targets as you want to get better.”
Marshall remains an ambassador for trapshooting as he travels the country. “I always try, no matter if they are 10 years old or 90 years old, to educate someone in the shooting sports,” he said.