Rising Shooting Stars: Trace Hatfield

"I shoot for myself but also to honor my family members who have come before me ..."

by
posted on June 3, 2024
Rising Shooting Stars Trace

Twenty-one-year-old Trace Hatfield didn’t expect to be part of a family legacy. He began hunting for small game at eight years old on his local family farm. Eventually he found he wasn't getting enough trigger time, so he transitioned to shooting clay targets. By age 10, he was shooting trap with his father at Ohio’s Cardinal Center, adding sporting clays a year later.

Though for Trace the impetus into clay shooting came from hunting, it was already in his blood. His father Jerry and his uncle Perry had been hunting and shooting together since 1975. Jerry began shooting sporting clays competitively in the early 2000s alongside his father, Roy Murphy. Father and son competed together until 2005, when Roy, Trace’s grandfather, passed away. “[My dad] then restarted the sport by teaching me to shoot, which ignited the passion and drive in me to continue my family’s legacy,” Trace said. 

This began not just with firearm safety, but also proper gun care and management. From a young age, Trace understood the responsibility that comes with shooting a gun ... which also includes taking care of it, and teaching others to do the same. This gave him something to take pride in. To this day, he keeps his guns in clean, working order largely using American-made products from Otis Technology.

Trace competes in a variety of shotgun disciplines with his Krieghoff K-80 34” Parcours, BAREPELT shooting vest and Pilla glasses. He recently graduated from Lindenwood University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business minor, having competed on the Lindenwood University Shotgun Sports Team. A stellar ending to his college shooting career, Trace and his team claimed high overall team in the Division I 2024 ACUI National Championship.

This wasn’t the first trophy Trace brought home with the team. He helped them win the 2022 trap and super sporting events at ACUI Nationals as well as the 2023 HOA NCSSAA Nationals Division I championship in Las Vegas. Trace has also been named both an ACUI and FITASC All-American athlete.

Shooting is often an individual sport, but it can be even more rewarding as part of a team. Trace explained that one of his favorite things about marksmanship is the relationships he has built.

“I have made many lifelong friends by shooting at the collegiate level at Lindenwood University. I have also started to teach younger shooters the sport. This has become very rewarding to me watching younger shooters grow and watching their passion develop. I think that the very best thing about marksmanship is the people by far.” He cautions others not to get so caught up in their performance that they forget to “enjoy shooting [and] enjoy the people.” The focus should be on having fun, learning from mistakes and finding areas in which to improve.

It has also meant a tremendous amount to Trace to honor his family and those who have helped him along his path. “My shooting mentors have inspired me and continue to increase my passion and drive for this sport every day. I shoot for myself but also to honor my family members who have come before me including my grandfathers, Roy Murphy and Phil Hatfield; my uncle, Perry Hatfield; and my father, Jerry Hatfield.”

The end of his college career doesn’t signal the end of Trace’s shooting career, just the beginning of a new chapter. He plans to continue to train at the Eagles Nest Shooting Grounds in Mount Gilead, Ohio while job hunting and plans to attend the World FITASC competition in Wisconsin in June of 2024. Trace also continues to pursue a childhood dream, winning the Ohio State FITASC event.

 

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