Mike Ishikawa had been an occasional shooter until decided to try his hand at competitive skeet shooting.

Lisa Mayes, the director of the National Skeet Shooting Association,  announced in February that La Habra resident Mike Ishikawa has been selected to the 2012 All American Rookie First Team.

“Your outstanding shooting performance last year has earned you a place in our official records,” she wrote in a congratulatory letter. “Your accomplishment will be listed in the upcoming issue of Skeet Shooting Review for the entire membership to see.”

Ishikawa, a 68-year-old newcomer to competitive skeet shooting, responded to this honor by saying, “I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks.”

Ishikawa took up the sport in 2011, after taking some lessons from legendary skeet shooter Don Ziegler, who teaches fundamental and advanced skeet shooting skills out of the Triple B Shooting Park, located off the Pomona Freeway in El Monte.

“I was a casual, recreational shooter, maybe going out once or twice a year,” Ishikawa said. “I had always been interested in skeet, so after a couple of friends invited me, I decided to give it a try.”

He said the key to his success lies in the quality of instruction he received from Ziegler.

“He taught me to shoot well and to be patient. He said I have good coordination and that I can see the birds well.”

Ishikawa added that it takes a lot of practice and good instruction to excel in the world of competitive skeet shooting. Last year, he registered (shot) over 7,000 targets and an equal amount of practice targets and competed in 12 tournaments, including the World Skeet Shooting Championship Tournament, held in San Antonio, Texas, where skeet shooters from all parts of the world compete over a 2-week period.

“It’s been a heck of a roller coaster ride, but it’s been a lot of fun,” Ishikawa beamed.

Ishikawa was also named to the Zone 7 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico) All Star Rookie First Team by Bill Wright, president of the Zone 7 Skeet Shooting Association.

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