Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton addresses the crowd at the opening ceremonies of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League's 2014 championship in Alexandria on Friday morning. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday helped open what is billed as the world's largest youth trap shooting event.
The governor was in Alexandria to take part in the opening ceremonies of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League's 2014 championship.
A total of 3,948 high school athletes were registered to shoot over the course of five days. Upwards of 15,000 people are expected at the local park during that time, and it got started with the governor addressing the Class A competitors and spectators on a perfect morning weather-wise for shooting.
"It's the fastest-growing high school sport in Minnesota -- over 6,100 participants," Dayton said. "It's just grown exponentially from when it started. Look at it here, 8 in the morning, and this place is just filled with parents and coaches and kids who are learning something they can do for the rest of their life and do responsibly."
Dayton and the Legislature recently approved more than $2 million in trap shooting sports facility cost-share grants. That will go toward developing or rehabilitating public facilities that provide opportunities for trap shooting across the state.