by Rick Gillespie from The Spectrum:
CEDAR CITY – The strident sounds of shotgun blasts filled the air Saturday as a diverse group of athletes competed in the Utah Summer Games trap shooting event.
Shooters ranging in age from 8 to 84 years gathered at the Cedar City trap club and spent the day wielding their weapons in search of a good time and a bit of USG glory.
Some were seasoned shooters, some were new to the sport, but among them stood one young participant who wasn’t there just to win a spot for himself on the podium.
Connor McFadden, 11, was out there competing for his older brother Johnny, who has Down Syndrome and is unable to shoot.
If Connor wins a medal, Johnny takes his spot on the podium and gets the experience of having the crowd cheering him on.
“I do it so he can feel good because he can’t do it by himself,” Connor said. “It makes me feel good that I can make someone happy.”
It’s a win-win situation for both Connor and Johnny, their father James McFadden said, and looking out for their brother is something Johnny’s siblings have always done.
“Our kids have always been really awesome when it comes to Johnny,” James McFadden said. “There are certain things he’ll never be able to participate in, but when others are being recognized, he sits back and says ‘What about me?’ So his brother and sister are always mindful of that. They know that if they can scrape up a little bit of success and show him that he’s a part of the family and a real part of why we’re here, it’s great.”
The concept of family is strong with the McFaddens, who came to St. George from Southern California and found shooting to be a good way to spend time together.
Several family members competed alongside each other in the contest, including Connor’s grandfather Jim, who introduced him to trap shooting about a year ago, and his grandmother Pearl, who shared the sentiment of many people at the event in saying the competition is just plain fun.
“I enjoy the competition and just seeing if you can shoot and have fun,” Pearl McFadden said.
The event is something that anyone can participate in and is well attended by people from across the state.
“We have people from Kamas, from Tooele, from all over,” said Harley Thompson, an official at the competition. “They come down every year and bring their families, set up their awnings and tents, and their kids grow up with the (summer) games. They have a great time.”
In addition to the friendly spirit of competition that permeated Saturday’s event, participants enjoyed shooting at the trap club’s revamped facility, which Thompson said has undergone a three-year renovation process, including upgrades to the shooting area and clubhouse.