After the first week-long trapshooting competition of his young career, 15-year-old Mark Barcellos came home with a handful of new trophies.
Barcellos hit 1,038 targets out of 1,100 over the course of last week at the Amateur Trapshooters Association’s state championships in Kingsburg, earning trophies for high overall, runner-up in the Singles category, Member Memorial Handicap, President’s Handicap Champion and Vice President’s Handicap – all in the junior category, which covers 15- to 18-year-olds.
“It’s fun to go out there because you see a lot of new faces, you meet a lot of new people, you see new kids coming out and trying their luck,” Barcellos said. “It takes a toll on your body, mentally and physically, but what you can get out of it, you can win a lot. You can win money, you can win trophies, friendships, just more than what you would expect.”
The seven-day shoot attracted around 700 trapshooters, including Los Banos’ Dan Bonillas (who hits 1,032 targets), D.J. Mello (who hit 1,036 for second in the junior division), Rod Gosling (1,000 targets even) and 11-year-old Zach McCullough (343 of 400 targets over the last few days of the competition). Mello won a shoot-off with two others to take second place in the Member Memorial Handicap competition, and placed second in one other event and third in one more.
The week-long state shoot is something Barcellos said he’s wanted to do, but other activities (football and basketball) got in the way. He is no longer involved in football, and the Los Banos High basketball coach is Mike Bonillas, Dan’s son.
“It just never happened because I was a football player or I was shooting for CYSSA, I was shooting for AIM. It was an opportunity I just couldn’t take because I wasn’t ready,” Barcellos said. “Now, since I’ve given up football and allowed by body to rest, I was able to finally pursue what I’ve wanted to do.
“You don’t have to worry about did I miss practice, will the coach be mad. It’s just go out, my coach understands I’m not going to be here this week. Focus on trapshooting.”
As it was, he was free to shoot, and he spent the week emptying nearly 1,700 rounds through practice, preliminaries and competition. After a few days, he fell into as much of a routine as he could.
“I traveled the first three days, then I stayed in a hotel the other two,” he said. “So it was kind of a glitch in the system, because I was used to waking up and shooting and coming back, then it was wake up, shoot and go back to the hotel. So it was kind of a little gear-changer for me. But for the most part, yeah, you check your squad, you show up, you shoot, you’re done. That’s pretty much it.”