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SK teen has a shot at Olympics

South Kitsap High School junior John Mullins grew up around guns — both his parents were trapshooters.

So it’s no surprise that Mullins’ dream is to compete as a member of the U.S. Olympic Shotgun Team in Bejing, China, in 2008.

He’s been working toward it his whole life, and as a member of the USA National Shotgun Development Team — only two steps below the Olympics — the goal is well within his grasp.

This month, Mullins will represent the U.S. at the World Clay Target Championships in Lanoto, Italy, after placing second in a juniors competition during which he hit 446 of 500 targets.

Mullins shoots a 12-gauge Perazzi, an Italian-made shotgun he bought two years ago. He said he usually competes two weekends a month, shooting at clay targets that move anywhere from 45 to 75 miles per hour.

According to Mullins, shooters get from 100 to 500 shots, depending on the competition. The most accurate shooter wins. At a recent competition, the soft-spoken Mullins hit 99 of 100 shots he fired.

“I just relax and put it out of my mind,” Mullins said of his ability to concentrate.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Mullins said of his competitors. He competes against current National team members, Air Force and Army shooters. He said in order to get to Beijing, he must place first or second in the Olympic Trials. But he has some time — the trials aren’t for another three years.

Mullins is an avid hunter and fisherman and he practices at the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club. He has several upcoming competitions, including Nationals in July.

“You can’t really make a living shooting — it’s almost impossible,” said Mullins, who was born and raised in Port Orchard. He said he’s not sure what he will do when he graduates, but he’s interested in engineering.

Godfather’s Pizza in the former South Kitsap Mall will be hosting a fundraiser today from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help Mullins with his travel expenses.

For more information, visit the Godfather’s branch.

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