Garfield County shooters take aim at state competition
Garfield County qualified 37 youth to the Colorado 4-H State Shooting Sports Contest in a variety of events – .22 small bore rifle, air rifle, air pistol, archery and shotgun.
The competition features kids from all over the state who have qualified through their individual counties and consists of more than 2,300 entries. It is one of the largest shooting sports events in the nation.
Last weekend, the state shoot took place at various venues in Pueblo. The competition continues Sept. 1-3 at Pikes Peak Gun Club in Colorado Springs.
In action so far, Garfield County’s qualifiers placed high across the board.
The junior .22 hunt team (consists of a cumulative score of four participants) won state reserve champion, while the junior .22 scope team won state reserve champion and the junior air rifle team took third overall.
Andrew Kingen, William Shaner, Terran Hurst-Farnham, Jarod Radel, Donovan Hill and Joshua Balderston are members of the hunt team. Hurst-Farnham, Shaner, Radel, Tucker Ryan, Garrett Jenkins and Klayton Jenkins compete on the scope team and Shaner, Kingen, Hill, Hurst-Farnum, Klayton Jenkins and Austin Herrick made up the air rifle squad.
The .22 rifle division featured more than 550 entries, and Shaner, the junior state champion from Garfield County, beat out more than 150 entries in the .22 hunt class to win it.
Shaner chipped in a number of other high finishes, taking the championship in air rifle Olympic offhand and air rifle precision and winning the reserve championship for .22 sporter. He also placed in the top 10 in .22 scope (third), air rifle utility (sixth), air rifle sporter (sixth), air pistol (seventh) and archery compound traditional (ninth).
Elsewhere in junior competition, Brianna Shaner took sixth in archery recurve traditional and 10th in muzzleloading.
Balderston was fourth in archery compound limited, Hurst-Farnham ninth in .22 rifle scope, Emma Thate ninth in archery compound unlimited and Kingen 10th in .22 sporter.
Senior air rifle shooter Joe Kingen qualified for the Colorado State Air Rifle Team (as an aggregate of his two air rifle utility and air rifle sporter scores). He’ll represent Colorado in air rifle at the 2013 National Shooting Sports Contest held in Nebraska.
Atop his top-10 showings in air rifle utility and air rifle sporter, Kingen also finished in the top 10 in both air precision and air Olympic offhand.
Also in senior competition, Mark Collins finished fourth in archery compound limited.
Colorado 4-H is active in supporting the shooting sports programs, not just as a competitive sport but also as a learning tool to educate youth through the use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
While the goal for these youth is to make it through the year, compete in independent county competitions throughout the state, qualify through the county-sanctioned state qualifier and make it to state, the overall aim is to give kids the tools to be responsible individuals on the firing line.
“This is a major reason why the shooting sports program is the safest in the nation,” said Gregory Shaner, one of Garfield County program’s coaches. “With the Olympics this year, we have had kids spurred on even further and several are working in crossover programs with entities such as USA Shooting to further their shooting careers and opportunities. Our kids know that they are not only competitors but are also ambassadors for the shooting sports program, which adds to their integrity.”
Garfield County’s shooting sports program gets a big boost from the community.
“Our local [Garfield County] shooting sports program could not exist without the endless dedication of our leaders and parents, and the financial support we have received through the Friends of the NRA, and local businesses,” Shaner said.
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