Iowa Central Community College has added sports shooting, also called trap shooting, to its 2014-15 courses.
"One of the things that we've found out, it's become a very popular sport in the state of Iowa," said Tom Beneke, Iowa Central vice president of enrollment management and student development. "There have been several high schools in the state of Iowa that have started teams, and established competitions throughout the state."
The college was emboldened to add the program after receiving a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
"What the foundation does is, they give you money to start new collegiate programs," Beneke said. "I applied for the grant. We received $10,000 from the foundation, and at that point we decided to go forward as a college to start the new team."
The addition of the sport does not, Beneke said, affect the college's policy of forbidding firearms on campus.
"We'll store the firearms in a very secure area off campus, is our thought," he said. "We have a facility just west of town where we can store the firearms in a safe. That's probably what we're going to use some of the grant money for, is to buy a gun safe, where the firearms can be kept safe and secure."
With the grant funds, students will be provided with ammunition and targets, Beneke said. The students must have their own firearm.
"That type of sport, the students have been very involved in it in their high school," he said.
Iowa Central will compete with other colleges in the sport, Beneke said.
"There have been several other colleges in the state of Iowa that have started programs as well, and there are competitions throughout the state of Iowa and the Midwest that our students will be able to take part in," he said. "It's becoming that popular."
According to Beneke, the addition is an interesting one for the college.
"It's exciting for us," he said. "Iowa Central has always been a leader in starting new programs that interest students here in the state of Iowa. Hopefully, this will be one more sports program we can offer students."
Locations have already been found for practices, Beneke said.
"I've contacted a couple of trap clubs or shooting clubs surrounding Fort Dodge, one in Manson and one in Palmer, which is only a short distance," he said. "That's where we'll go initially, for next year, to practice. Both of them have a beautiful facility we can use to practice."
Recruiting has already begun for students interested in the sport.
"We've had really an overwhelming number of students who've indicated an interest in that," Beneke said. "We're really excited about the new program."