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Paola man ready for his shot in Tokyo Olympics

Derrick Mein to compete in trap shooting
KC Olympic shooter.jpeg
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 27, 2021

UPDATE | Derrick Mein finished 24th in the trap shooting finals.

ORIGINAL STORY | There are a lot of hunters in the Kansas City area, and a lot of them might even consider themselves a good shot. But one man takes being a good shot almost to an art form.

Derrick Mein, of Paola, has been waiting a long time for his trip to the Tokyo Olympics. He qualified for the men’s trap shooting team in 2020, but just a couple of weeks later, the Olympic games were delayed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was actually refreshing, to be able to kick back and take a break," Mein said.

Now the break is over. Mein has spent hours on his range at home, and just recently, got a reminder in the mail about the stakes for his next contest -- his official Team USA competition vest.

"It helps kind of make things real,” Mein said. “I kind of wonder if I'm ever going to wake up from the dream, and be let down. Getting stuff like my vest, it kind of helps make it all real."

The official vest, the red, white, and blue shoes he plans to wear, and his shotgun are all with him in Tokyo now.

The game of trap shooting, as Mein explained it, is really about two things: precision and consistency.

"That target is going anywhere from 60-70 miles an hour," Mein said. “You have to come up with a plan, to allow you to be consistent, and read the target properly before you can break it. And all that happens in about three quarters of a second."

That’s a lot faster than bird hunting, although Mein’s pretty good at that, too.

“I'm decent,” Mein said. “I’ve got a lot of friends that don't like to walk next to me when we're hunting pheasants.”

Like most Olympic events, the difference between gold, and fifth or sixth place, is razor thin. So Mein hasn't necessarily set his sights on a medal to add to all his trophies.

"If I go, feel like I performed very well, and don't win a medal, I think that that will be a success,” Mein said.

But if he does win one, he already knows where it's going.

"Probably in the safe," Mein said.

The men’s trap finals will happen at 12:30 a.m. CST on Thursday. Mein also is competing in the team trap competition, and the finals for that event are at 11:30 p.m. CST on Friday.