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How a Passion for Hunting Leads to Team USA

A passion for hunting began a journey that would lead all the way to a three consecutive National Titles and a two-time member of the USA Sporting Clay Team.  Dalton Kirchhoefer’s shooting journey began with an 8-year-old boy constantly pestering his father to take him pheasant hunting.
Dalton after pheasant hunting with his dog Jessie in Indiana 2011
After trips walking in the field with his father and carrying the birds weren’t enough to quench his thirst at age 10, his dad finally relented on one condition.  Dalton had to go down to the local range and demonstrate he could be safe and responsible first. 
Dalton and his dad goose hunting in Arkansas 2012
Almost as fate were leading the way, at the local range Dalton met local pro and MEC Outdoors sponsored shooter Bob Self.  Figuring it’s always best to learn the proper techniques, his father signed him up for a lesson.  Being the first time Dalton had ever fired a shotgun, the goal was just to learn the proper stance and other basic techniques involved in sporting clay shooting.  This is where fate took over, during the first lesson after breaking 37 out of the first 42 targets over 4 stations, Bob Self turned and ask his father “He’s really never shot a shotgun before?”.  Bob went on to comment that he sees around 100 kids each year and is really impressed with maybe 2, of which Dalton would be one. 
Shortly thereafter, Bob invited Dalton to join the local SCTP team he coached. In addition to being his coach a bond developed between the two of them that has only gotten stronger in the 9 years since. A few months later Dalton won his first State Sporting Clays Rookie Competition. 
Dalton and Bob Self June 2011
Later that year he would go on to finish in the top 6 at the SCTP Nationals. Over the next 6 years this 6th place would prove to be his lowest finish in the 7 years competing at the SCTP Nationals.  While experiencing instant success, Dalton was focused on climbing the mountain from finishing near the top to finishing at the top.  After two years of honing his skills with a 20-gauge O/U, he moved up to a 12-gauge Caesar Guerini Summit Ascent.  With Bob’s help the 70-pound young boy learned to master the heavier and longer gun and the following year, Dalton stood upon the top of the podium receiving his first National Title.

That same year, Dalton and his family moved to Colorado where with Bob Self’s help, he hooked up with his next coach, Jon Kruger.  Dalton continued to thrive under Jon’s tutelage, winning 2 more consecutive National Titles, the final one winning the Varsity Title in his first year of eligibility as well as beating the entire field over 900 hundred competitors including college shooters as well with rounds of 98 & 97 earning him HOA.  During his time in Colorado, Dalton was invited to shoot at the Olympic Training Center where he met and trained with famed USA Olympic Coach Lloyd Woodhouse focusing on Olympic Double Trap and Bunker Trap.  
Dalton with Olympic Coach Lloyd Woodhouse June 2013
Once double trap was dropped from the Olympics, Dalton turned his focus full time to NSCA Sporting Clays with the goal of being the Captain of the Sub-Junior All American Team.  It was with a huge smile later that a year Dalton returned to the Olympic Training Center and Lloyd Woodhouse wearing his Caesar Guerini ProStaff vest with 3 Sub Junior All-American Captain Patches proudly displayed on the back.  
That same year one of the more special moments in Dalton’s career occurred.  With targets set by Jon Kruger and Bob Self shooting in his group, Dalton won the Colorado State Sporting Clay Championship Overall title at the age of 16 becoming the youngest champion in Colorado history by over 15 years.  In addition to the state title, Dalton also was HOA and HAA that year.  Continuing what was a truly successful year, Dalton tied for 5th overall in 5-Stand at the World English in San Antonio. 
Along the way, Dalton has been fortunate to make some key partnerships with Caesar Guerini as a ProStaff shooter for over 5 years which involved upgrading his gun a couple years ago to the Caesar Guerini Invictus Ascent as well as becoming a MEC Outdoors Sponsored Shooter.  
2018 Rocky Mountain Classic: Simon Hurley (MEC), Bob Self, Dalton and Any Perkins (MEC)
The versatility of these top-notch companies and the products they make has been a key element in Dalton’s continued development.  At his new home in Wyoming, Dalton now has the ability to leverage 7 MEC 300E series machines (4 Standards, battue, Chandelle and 70MM) combined with the elevation changes of the mountains, so there isn’t a target that Dalton doesn’t have the capability to throw and practice.  It is his passion and drive to be the best that pushes Dalton in practice (at times along his development shooting the same target 250 straight times until what was a weakness become a strength). 
The ultimate accomplishment happened in 2019 when Dalton earned a spot on the NSCA USA Sporting Clay Junior Team.  The moment brought back the memory of a 14-year-old boy at the Olympic Training Center, seeing shooters with Red, White and Blue USA vests walking by, asking his father if he could buy him one.  Lloyd Woodhouse even said they sold replicas nearby, but his father said no (to Dalton’s dismay), saying you can’t buy those colors, they can only be earned.  While Dalton didn’t have a smile on his face upon hearing his father’s words, Lloyd sure did.  Four years later, upon earning that Red, White and Blue USA vest there were smiles all around (mom, dad and Dalton).
Dalton 2019 Team USA

Dalton soon will be completing his sophomore year at the University of Wyoming, Majoring in Petroleum Engineering, and earned a position on the 2020 USA Sporting Clay Junior Team.
When not shooting, Dalton likes to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and ski which the stunningly beautiful state of Wyoming provides ample opportunity for all. 

Disciplines: Sporting Clays, FITASC, 5-Stand, Super Sporting, and International Bunker Trap. Years Shooting: Dalton has been shooting for 9 years. NSCA Junior; Master Class 
Recent Accomplishments: 
2020 USA Sporting Clays Junior Team
2019 USA Sporting Clays Junior Team
2019 NSCA Junior All-American Teams:

Krieghoff 1st Team; Perazzi 12 Gauge 1st Team; Blaser FITASC 1st Team

2019 NSCA Open All-American Teams:
Briley 20 Gauge 2nd Team
Krieghoff 1st Team; 12 Gauge 1st Team; Blaser FITASC 1st Team; Briley 28 Gauge 2nd Team
2018 NSCA Open All-American Teams:
Briley 20 Gauge 3rd Team
2018 MEC Rocky Mountain Classic 
Main Event HOA
2017 NSCA Sub Junior All-American Teams:
Krieghoff 1st Team Captain; 12 Gauge 1st Team Captain; Blaser 12 Gauge FITASC 1st Team; Briley 28 Gauge 1st Team
2016 NSCA Sub Junior All-American Teams: Sporting Clays Team; 
Sporting Clays 28 Gauge Team; FITASC 12 Gauge Team; 
Sporting Clays 12 Gauge Team
Sporting Clays 28 Gauge Team; FITASC 12 Gauge Team; 
Sporting Clays 12 Gauge Team  
High Over All (HOA), & High All Around (HAA) Champion
(Youngest in Colorado History)
Sub Jr CH: Pre-Lim, Main, 5-Stand, Super Sporting, 20 ga; 28 ga; 410.
2015 Colorado State Sub Junior Champion:
Pre-Lim; Main; 5-Stand; Super Sporting; 28 ga, 410 ga, & 12 ga 
2014 Colorado State Sub Junior Champion:
Pre-Lim; Main; FITASC; 5 stand; 20 ga, 28 ga, & 12 ga Sub Courses
2013 NSCA Colorado State Sub Junior and Class Champion:
Main Event & 12 gauge sub
2016 – Varsity/Sporting Clay HOA
2015 – Junior Varsity
2014 – Intermediate Advanced
SCTP/NRA All-Scholastic Team Member
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Magazine Articles
   Local Heroes by Dana Farrell
Clay Target Nation; November 2016. 
   Shooter Profile by Jarrod Spilger

2018 PSCA Tour Member
2018 NSCA Junior All-American Teams:
2018 NSCA Wyoming State Sporting Clay Champion

2016 NSCA Colorado State Main Event Champion,
2015 K-Kup Sub Junior Champion at NSCA National Championship
2014 NSCA All-Region Team, West Region
2013 NSCA Colorado All-State Team

3-Time SCTP Sporting Clay National Champion

Clay Shooting USA; January – February 2018


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