Shulind named to shooting sports Hall of Fame
Longtime Grand Forks hunter education instructor and youth trapshooting coach Jim Shulind has been inducted into the North Dakota Shooting Sports Association Hall of Fame.
Shulind was inducted Saturday, Jan. 27 during the association's annual awards banquet in Grand Forks.
"Totally unexpected—I wasn't anticipating anything like this," Shulind said. "Like I told my wife (Joan), you get involved with the kids year after year, it's just fun. And I enjoy doing it.
"But this just totally caught me off-guard."
Shulind's involvement with youth shooting sports dates to the mid-'70s, when he joined the Grand Forks Gun Club. Within three years, Shulind says, he was overseeing the youth trapshooting program.
A lifelong hunter and shooting enthusiast, Shulind in 1977 became an instructor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's hunter education program. North Dakota state law requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1961 to complete hunter education before they can buy a hunting license.
More than 40 years later, Shulind figures he's guided nearly 4,000 students through the hunter education program, a number that continues to build.
Shulind also remains active in the Grand Forks Gun Club, coaching Central High School's trapshooting team and young shooters who participate in AIM—Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship—the official youth program of the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
Planning for Central's spring trapshooting season already is underway, Shulind says, and he's expecting nearly 100 Grand Forks students will participate this year between the Central and Red River programs.
The High School Clay Target League is the fastest-growing student extracurricular activity in North Dakota as well as neighboring Minnesota. The Grand Forks program, which also is open to students from East Grand Forks Sacred Heart, Thompson and Manvel, N.D., has been a boon for the Grand Forks Gun Club, Shulind says.
"It's introducing a lifetime sport to the kids," Shulind said. "It's kind of a niche sport for those kids who might not be athletically inclined to get involved in a team sport. It's kind of like golf or tennis, you're maybe on a team, but you're competing individually."
The growth of Grand Forks' youth shooting sports programs is the result of several people's efforts, Shulind says.
"It's not just one individual," he said. "I stuck with it because I enjoy it and was interested in it, and you need to be. But now, it's grown to where you need a bunch of people, and we're very fortunate to have those people" helping with the program.
Central's trapshooting squad has placed first and second in the state the past two years. At the AIM Grand Nationals Championships last summer, Erik Argall of Thompson, N.D., was the top junior shooter in the nation, and the Grand Forks Gun Club's squad tied with the first-place team but ended up placing second in the tie-breaking process.
The shooting sports have been a family affair and now span three generations with grandson Ethan, Shulind says. The hall of fame recognition was "quite an honor," but that's not why he remains involved, he says.
"You do it for the sport and for the kids, and you want everybody to enjoy it as much as you do," Shulind said. "The hunter ed part of it, that's just been a way of giving back for the last 40 years. The trapshooting part of it, to me, it's just been fantastic to work with the kids and see their enjoyment and pass on a lifetime sport that I've gotten so much out of with my kids."
Previous Grand Forks-area inductees into the North Dakota Shooting Sports Association Hall of Fame include Steve Martin in 2015, Jimmy Barner in 2011, Tom Reiten in 2004, and Dennis Coulter, William Coulter and Phillip Johnston in 1992.
The Hall of Fame is in Jamestown, N.D., along with the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.
More info: ndssa.org.