Champion Traps and Targets

Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship

Tom Knapp, Champion® Traps & Targets spokesman and friend, passed away in April 2013. To honor his memory and continue his legacy of stewardship, Champion® Traps and Targets teamed with Federal Premium® Ammunition to create the Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship.

Honoring a Legacy

Often regarded as the finest ambassador that American shooting sports has ever known, Tom Knapp thrilled crowds around the world with seemingly impossible feats with a shotgun. His combination of shooting skills and stage presence inspired an entire generation of new shooters. To honor his memory and continue his legacy of stewardship, Champion® Traps and Targets teamed with Federal Premium Ammunition® to create the Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship. 

For more than a decade, Knapp represented these brands around the world at live exhibitions, on television, and at countless consumer and trade shows. With the support of his wife, Colleen, Champion extended Knapp’s licensed products agreement to fund a scholarship to award $5,000 to one male and one female college-bound student.

The Program
Vista Outdoor has established this scholarship program to assist high school seniors who have actively participated in at least two seasons on a Minnesota State High School Clay Target League team and plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs. Scholarships are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student's choice.

This scholarship program is administered by Scholarship Management Services®, a division of Scholarship America®.

Applicants to the program must -

  • Be high school seniors who have actively participated in at least two seasons on a Minnesota State High School Clay Target League team. (The current season counts.)
  • Have a 20 cumulative average from all clay target competitions.
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the entire upcoming academic year.
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent).

If selected as a recipient, the student will receive a $2,500 award. Up to four awards will be granted each year to two males and two females. Awards are one-time only and are for undergraduate study only.

Interested students must complete the application and mail it along with a current, complete transcript of grades to Scholarship Management Services postmarked no later than May 1. Applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of their application. Applicants are responsible for gathering and submitting all necessary information. Applications are evaluated on the information supplied; therefore, answer all questions as completely as possible. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. All information received is considered confidential and is reviewed only by Scholarship Management Services.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, statement of goals and aspirations, unusual personal or family circumstances, and an outside appraisal. Up to a one-page essay, "What does participation in shooting sports mean to me?" will also be part of the application and used in the evaluation process. Only the recipients' essays will be provided to Vista Outdoor. Financial need is not considered. Selection of recipients is made by Scholarship Management Services. In no instance does any officer or employee of Vista Outdoor play a part in the selection. Applicants will be notified in June.

2014 Winners

The winners of the 2014 Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship are Tyler Koenen of Alden, Minnesota, and Jenna Jahnke of Stillwater, Minnesota. The pair were presented their $5,000 awards at the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Championship, an event that hosted more than 4,000 students June 6 to 10, 2014, in Alexandria, Minnesota.

2014 Winners
Pictured from left to right: Ryan Bronson (Champion® Public Policy and Conservation Manager), Tyler Koenen, Colleen Knapp, Jason Nash (Federal Premium® Marketing Director) and Jenna Jahnke.

Koenen will apply his scholarship to an education in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University, while Jahnke will use her award at Minnesota’s Century College, where she will study accounting. The two scholarship winners were chosen from applicants within the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League.

“Tom Knapp was actually the person who inspired me to get into clay target shooting, so it was a great honor to be one of the recipients of this award,” Koenen said. “Thanks to everyone who made this scholarship possible.”

Jahnke learned about Knapp watching videos of his performances on YouTube. She plans to follow Knapp’s example of passing on the shooting heritage by staying involved with the Stillwater High School trapshooting program she helped launch.

“It’s pretty awesome. I like the routine of shooting and watching the targets break,” she said.

Considering the success of the scholarship, Colleen Knapp has generously agreed to extend the program into 2015 and beyond.

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