The Northern Stokes 4H shooting club made their first trip to the North Carolina 4-H Shooting Sports State Tournament at Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe after qualifying five to compete at the state level: Jaden Hall (8th grade) in the .22 rifle Sporter Class, Lucas Utt (8th grade) in the .22 rifle Sporter Class, Nick Roscoe (11th grade) in Archery Hunter/Sporter Class, and Michael Lemons (11th grade) in the small bore pistol event.
“Lucas (Utt), Nick (Roscoe) and Michael (Lemons) all had personal bests in competition shooting on Saturday,” said 4H instructor Ben Hall.
Last year the program had eight make it to the regional level and that number doubled to 16 in August.
“We’re seeing a lot more interest from kids that are just finding out about it,” Hall said.
The shooting club is open to 9-18 year olds and serves as an advocate for hunter education and firearm safety.
Hall said he’s seen participants improve their skills and become more consistent over the last year.
“We’re also seeing the kids wanting and getting better equipment. A lot of them have saved up their own money to purchase better quality firearms.”
Hall said he hopes the young men and ladies realize they can be competitive with more experienced programs.
“These kids are very talented; some of them have great potential over the next few years. Consistency is a big focus; they need to continue to practice during the off season to get those scores up,” he said.
The shooting club has been awarded two NRA grants to help fund ammunition and equipment. They’ve also seen local support from small businesses. As the program continues to grow Hall would like to find land in the North Stokes and Piney Grove area to practice.
“We’d really like to get a permanent facility in that area,” Hall said.
For more information about the Northern Stokes 4H shooting club contact Matt Barber with the Cooperative Extension Office at (336) 593-8179.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.