Students may not be aware, but ACU is the home of a national champion.
Kyler Faulkner, freshman engineering major from Abilene, is the three-time wheelchair national champion sporting clays shooter.
Sporting clays shooting, a variation of clay pigeon shooting, takes place on a course of 10 to 15 stations. Clays of different sizes, speeds and trajectories are shot into the air for the participants to attempt to hit.
Faulkner, who has been shooting for about five years, came in at the top of the wheelchair division and 45th out of 118 in his class at the last national tournament.
For Faulkner, sporting clays shooting has been a part of life for many years.
“I’ve always been a big hunter, since I was 3, and all the guys in my family have been shooting in the HBA (Home Builders Association) tournament since it started,” Faulkner said. “That is the tournament I started on as well.”
Faulkner competes in local as well as national tournaments, though local ones provide a warm-up for more serious competition.
“I don’t practice very often, but I usually use local tournaments as my practice for the bigger tournaments,” Faulkner said.
Faulkner does not let being in a wheelchair get in the way of winning, despite some challenges it presents.
“Being in a wheelchair has its downfalls sometimes, because you are sitting down, so on quicker targets it’s harder to turn,” Faulkner said. “But you can’t think about that when you’re shooting. You just have to deal with it, and shoot your best.”
Sporting clays shooting is an important part of Faulkner’s life.
“Shooting sporting clays is very dear to me, because it is a sport that I can compete in and be competitive in,” Faulkner said.
Stephanie Jordan, sophomore multimedia major from Sumter, South Carolina, had seen sporting clays shooting before, but did not know there were any ACU students involved.
“I think it’s really cool that we have such talented shooters that go to ACU,” Jordan said.
Though he has several national championships in the bag, Faulkner has other plans career-wise.
“I just declared engineering as my major, and I plan to either go into the oil field or work in construction at my family’s business,” Faulkner said.