The man behind the gun

Two years ago, any student attending Northern Kentucky University couldn’t have participated in the Olympic sport known as skeet and trap, until Chester Kiser came along. Kiser, a transfer student from the University of Kentucky, single-handedly organized, arranged and helped fund the NKU skeet and trap team.

Kiser said the idea behind the skeet and trap team is to combine his love of the outdoors with school sport of skeet and trap. But what is skeet and trap? According to Kiser, “It’s the shooting of clay pigeons, which are clay saucers with shotguns. They travel approximately 60 mph as we shoot them.”

The team now consists of 35 members who practice Wednesdays and Sundays at the Lloyd Area Shooting Range in Crittenden. Kiser said they usually compete in five meets a year.

When Kiser transferred from UK to NKU, he said he realized there was no skeet and trap and decided to organize a team. One of the most daunting tasks of organizing the teams was getting funding, he said. “Other schools like Purdue have their teams paid for by the school, and we do not. I knew if we were going to have a successful team it was up to me to get funding,” Kiser said.

The team received a grant for $4,000 from the NRA, which has been renewed every year of the team’s existence. Kiser spends a lot of time running the team by scheduling meets and managing finances. Kiser’s leadership also carries onto the field. “I normally place in the top five shooters in the meets, and I am one of the top five in our shooters region made of Purdue, University of Kentucky, Indiana University, Southwest Missouri State, West Point and University of Illinois,” Kiser said. True to his word, at the most recent meet held two weeks ago at Purdue, Kiser took second place.

To understand how Kiser became so dedicated to this cause you need to understand the man, and his beginnings. From a very young age Kiser was fascinated with the outdoors. “I started hunting when I was four, hunting squirrel, and I killed a squirrel when I was 5. I got my first gun when I was 3,” Kiser said. This avid love for the outdoors and hunting has stayed with Kiser. “I spend most of most of my time shooting skeet and trap, hunting, fishing, trapping; anything outside and I’m happy,” Kiser said.

Every summer Kiser has traveled all over our nation’s wilderness. “I have been to every state west of the Mississippi except Hawaii. I’ve been going west ever since I was 5 for family trips. I’ve visited almost every national park. Out there I hunt, fish, four-wheel and camp in the great outdoors.”

For the future, Kiser talked about his training regimen. “As far as training for the Olympics go, the only way to get better is to shoot more,” Kiser said. “The more you shoot in competition, the more you get used to handling your nerves, getting grace under fire.”