Young marksman unloads at state

At last, some good news about a youngster with a gun.

Madison Aaberg may be just 13 years old, but he's already a straight shooter.

Aaberg is a soft-spoken, intelligent youngster who has already transformed his quiet focus into championship results.

Aaberg claimed first place at the Colorado State Fair junior target shooting competition.

"He's got some good natural attributes," said Robert Aaberg, Madison's grandfather and coach of the junior and senior 4-H shooting teams. "He has great coordination and eyesight, and he also works real hard at it."

Robert was proud of the entire team's performance, as Zach Pierson claimed second place in the individual junior shoot and second place team honors.

The seniors also performed very well, according to Robert.

The competition tests each shooter's skills in four different shooting positions prone, sitting, kneeling and standing.

Out of a possible 200 points, Madison scored 170 with his .22 caliber long rifle to win the competition by 15 points over Pierson.

"That was my goal all year, to score 170, and this was my first time to hit it," Aaberg said.

Aaberg feels the standing position is the key to success.

"You really have to work on your standing position," he said. "Once you get the hang of that, you can do really good that's what really brings your scores in."

It was a good time to reach his scoring goal, because Madison faces a new set of challenges next year.

"Next year he's got to compete in seniors," Robert said. "He's got to work harder if he's going to be a champion again, but I think he can do that. All these kids can perform real well. They do real well under pressure."

Pressure is not in Madison's vocabulary, and he understands the important lessons competition shooting teaches.

Those lessons range from safety to concentration and teamwork.

"I learned about gun safety," he emphasized. "It also teaches you to stay focused. Shooting is mostly mental the mental part is more important than the skills."

The safety lessons alone are worth the time and work he has put into the 4-H project, Madison said.

"If everybody learns gun safety, there won't be very many accidental gun problems," the young marksman said.

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