Vincent Finsaas, a rising senior at Williston High School, was calm and quiet when he sat down for an interview with the Herald.
The interview was to talk about his time in the Clay Target League at the high school, and his first, perfect 25/25 score at the Best of the West Shoot in Minot.
He was humble about the score and did not say much, but after a few jokes, and after talking about his shotgun, family, friends and his favorite YouTube channel, Finsaas opened up.
How long have you been trap shooting?
What got you interested in it?
“Well I’ve kind of been interested in guns my whole life, but when I got a shotgun for...Christmas the year before," he said. "Two of my friends were in it that year and I was like, ‘that sounds pretty fun.’”
He said his dad got him his first shotgun a few months before Christmas when he was 14.
That way they could go pheasant hunting together.
“It was pretty great to open the box and see a shotgun,” he said.
And yes, he saw it coming.
Describe your first time being on the range next to the “house?”
“It was kind of nerve racking because all my friends and family were there,” Finsaas said. “But it was pretty great. It’s kind of funny because I remember when I first got my shotgun and I decided that I was going to do trap I said, ‘There is no way in hell I’m going to be able to hit something flying through the air.'"
That thing flying through the air is called the trap or a target, and it is launched from a wooden box called a house.
The shooters stand several feet behind the house, then take their aim and fire at the trap when they are ready.
“I did pretty well (at) my first shoot, and I’ll always remember my coach’s words to me,” Finsaas said, sitting up in his seat and slightly raising his voice as if to mimic his coach. “(The coach said) ‘You did really well, but your stance was horrible.’ I was like, 'Yeah, well, I don’t do this very often.'"
How long do you practice? What do you focus on when you practice?
Finsaas said he practices about two hours every week during the season. But in the off season, he practices by just shooting his shotgun at the range with his friends.
As for what he focuses on, Finsaas said there are a few things.
“Mainly my stance and then speed and follow through,” Finsaas said. “You have to be able to hit it fairly quickly otherwise you’re not going to be able to hit it.”
How many seconds do you have to hit the trap?
“You probably have, from the time you tell them to pull the target to the time you have to shoot it, you probably have less than two seconds,” Finsaas said. “You can probably do it in five (seconds), I just find it really difficult.”
What was it like the day you shot your perfect score?
“It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Finsaas said. “There’s five different stations and you shoot five (targets/traps) at each station. The first three stations I didn’t really notice anything. Then (at) the fourth one, I started to kind of feel like, ‘Hey I might be able to do this,’ and the fifth one I couldn’t actually think straight. I was so nervous and I was like, ‘Don’t miss anything, don’t miss anything, don’t miss anything.’”
But you didn’t miss, so after you did get the perfect score what was that feeling like?
“It was incredibly amazing and exciting… it felt pretty good because I’ve gotten a 23/25 and a 24/25 several times this year and one of those times I missed the last shot, which hurt,” he said.
“Well, do it again, pretty much,” Finsaas said, laughing.