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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A little slice of 38 acres down near Paola Kansas, you’ll find Derrick Mein. It’s been a long wait, which became an even longer due to COVID, to finally say he is an Olympian.  It’s a labor of love where, he made sure he had a way to keep his skills sharp.

“You have to see the angle, read it, and then read the speed and go break it.  That’s a lot to do in a millisecond,” Mein said.

For Derrick Mein, this is his sanctuary.

“Built all the shooting stands and the little house there I did that all by myself,” Mein said.  “I knew I wasn’t going to get it perfect, and this something I can just work on my basic routine, fundamentals.”

Which came in handy after a year wait.

“I do struggle at times with motivation to get off the couch and train,” Mein said. “If I feel the need, I can come out here and practice anytime I want to.”

We caught up with Derrick last year right at the beginning of the world shutting down due to the pandemic. A few weeks later, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. More time to spend at his home-made practice facility.

“It was kind of a sigh of relief,” Mein said.  “The way everything kind of shut down, allowed me to put my gun in the safe and not touch it for a couple months and kind of get refreshed and re-energized.”

It was also good from a competitive standpoint.

“I felt like I was a little green, a little unsure of my abilities,” Mein said.  “Having an extra year to practice and fine tune my game and work with the US coaches I feel like I’m in a lot more stable place.”

Derrick’s an accomplished shooter in any discipline, winning many trophies in different forms of shooting, in many areas of the world.

“The more I can compete the better prepared I’m going to be,” Mein said.

But the ones he’s the proudest of, is winning the right to represent his country.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, just you mentioning it, brought chills. It’s very humbling to know that I get the opportunity to represent the greatest country on the planet,” Mein said.

As he prepares for Olympics, unlike any other in this post COVID era, in the discipline of trap shooting.  

“Most of our sporting targets are 30 to 50 miles per hour. Bunker targets are anywhere from 58 to 68 miles per hour,” Mein said.  That little eight to 10 mile per hour makes a difference.

“It’s a huge difference. Especially because your targets come at random,” Mein said.

He’ll be busy traveling to Italy and more training camps await before he heads to Tokyo, but in between, he’ll be your friendly neighborhood Olympian shooting for Gold.

“All the people I grew up with around home, this is as much for them as it is for me,” Mein said.

Recently he won the Great American Trap Shoot, along with the Sporting Clays National Championship, won it for a second time over 1800 competitors. The Olympics start July 23rd.