Tom Suter of Austin holds his award that he won at the Minnesota Memorial Handicap recently. Suter dedicated his performance to a friend, who had passed away in the last year. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com
Tom Suter of Austin holds his award that he won at the Minnesota Memorial Handicap recently. Suter dedicated his performance to a friend, who had passed away in the last year. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Shooting for a fallen friend

Published 10:05pm Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tom Suter of Austin has been shooting clay targets for seven years, but he’s never had a shooting event quite as successful or emotional as he did recently. Suter, who is 61 years old and has lived in Austin for 28 years, finished second out of 342 shooters at the Minnesota Memorial Handi-Cap and he did it in dedication to his friend Steve Brua, who had passed away in the last year.

Suter shot 100 straight targets and he had Brua in his mind throughout the entire day.

“I talked to him in between every shot,” Suter said. “Just as if he was there.”

Suter and Brua used to travel and hunt together over the years, but Brua passed away due to cancer in the past year. Suter wore a ribbon in his hat in memory of his old friend as he competed.

“He was real special to me and it was my goal this year to do the best I could at this event,” Suter said of Brua. “I was real focused and the birds were nice and clear. You could see them well. They were throwing good targets, I had good squad mates and that’s important to do well.”

The Memorial Handi-Cap is a tournament that memorializes all trap shooters who have died in the past year.

Suter’s squad mates included Mike Cooper, who won the high overall in his class and Jim Lembke, who won a veteran singles championship.

Suter said his squad mates’ success made it much easier for him to focus, but it still wasn’t easy for him to hit 100 straight shots.

“It’s not like golf where if you miss a shot you have a chance to come back on the next one,” Suter said. “Every one has to be shot with precision and perfection. You don’t get a do over. It’s one at a time.”

Suter gets in as many shooting competitions as he can and shoots and estimated 10,000 to 12,000 rounds per year. The events allow Suter and his squad mates to compete and have a good time as well.

The average trap shooting event lasts about 10 hours, but competitors end up shooting for just three of those hours.

“You can always have a good day here or there, to be consistent is difficult. That you leave for the professionals,” Suter said. “It’s not always about doing your best, it’s about having fun. it’s a very safe sport with virtually no accidents”

Suter coached for the Austin High School trap shooting team in its first year and he likes that youths are getting involved in the sport as well.

He said trap shooting is a great sport for anyone who likes to hunt.

“You can hunt two and half months a year,” Suter said. “This kind of blends in and it keeps a gun in in your hand the rest of the year.”


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