Lexy Kocsis, of Dowagiac, is raising money to travel to the Grand American Trapshooting competition in August. Kocsis, 17, has won several state awards since she began shooting four years ago. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
Lexy Kocsis, of Dowagiac, is raising money to travel to the Grand American Trapshooting competition in August. Kocsis, 17, has won several state awards since she began shooting four years ago. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Aiming higher: Markswoman raising money for competition

Published 8:44am Monday, July 21, 2014

For the last several years, Lexy Kocsis has had her sights set on a single target — becoming an Olympic trap shooter

With several state championships, awards and accolades already in her possession, it appears the Dowagiac woman already has a good start toward reaching the next level of her sharpshooting career.

She just has to worry about finishing high school at some point between now and then.

Kocsis, a 17-year-old student attending Decatur High School, will be participating in this year’s Grand American Trapshooting, held in Sparta, Illinois in August. The event is billed as the largest shooting competition in the world, attracting as many as 6,000 participants throughout the 13-day event.

Besides giving Kocsis a chance to compete on a national stage, success at the Grand American could attract the attention of sponsors, and perhaps most importantly, scouts for the Jr. Olympic team, said her mother, Vicky Kocsis.

“The Grand American gives her a chance to get recognized,” she said.

There are two methods of earning a spot on the U.S. team: either complete a successful tryout or gain enough points through national competition to get a spot on team, Vicky said.

“We’re trying to earn her way in,” she said.

The costs for ammunition, travel and other fees associated with the competition are placing a strain on Vicky and her husband, PJ, though. In order to cover these expenses, the couple and Lexy are asking the community for support, looking to raise $5,000 over the next several weeks from local donors.

So far, the Kocsises have received support from C. Wimberly Automotive Group, as well as from family members, Vicky said.

The fundraiser is just one way that Lexy’s parents have stepped up to support her dreams over the last several years.

Lexy got into trapshooting, one of the three disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting, in 2010. Her parents encouraged her to sign up for the youth trapshooting team at the Dowagiac Conservation Club in order to help her overcome her fear about using firearms.

Her intial protests evaporated once she took the plunge and fired her first shot.

“She turned around and said to us, ‘say, wasn’t so bad,’” Vikcy said. “Later that year she was a state champion.”

Using her trusted 12-gage Browning Citori shotgun, Lexy has spent the last several years facing off against fellow junior shooters in state competitions, earning several first place finishes in the process. She has also received instruction from one of the top trap shooters in the world, Kay Ohye.

One of the main drives for Lexy’s quest has been to follow in the footsteps of her hero, five-time gold medal winner Kim Rhode.

“I’ve been a fan of hers since I was 12,” she said. “I just want to be like her.”

People interested in donating can contact the family at vickykocsis@live.com or at (269) 783-9719.

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