Shootout helps send teens to college

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It's about four months before Colorado's hunting season begins, leaving many residents anxiously awaiting the hunt for this fall's trophy buck.

Sheriff's Deputy Gary Nichols and archery afficionado Bob Knez have the answer to take the edge off the long summer wait.

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Hoop-talk Moffat County High School Bulldog Laurel Mortensen, right, shares some of her court knowledge with the children who attended the Moffat County High School's basketball camp, which started Monday. Mortensen is one of many high school basketball players taking time out of their summer vacation to coach and mentor at the camp.

The Moffat County Sheriff's Department is hosting an archery tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday at Knez's archery range, located at 7037 Moffat County Road 33.

The day was originally established to raise, not just money, but spirits as well.

"It's just a fun day, where the family can get out do some shooting," Nichols said. "And, since all the money raised will go to a general scholarship fund for Moffat County High School students, those who participate will be helping out the community."

The tournament has been a annual fund raiser for the Moffat County Sheriff's Department for the past seven years, with a goal of $1,000 to be reached at each tournament.

In the past, the event has been extremely successful, drawing more than 50 participants and reaching the $1,000 goal the previous six years.

Though the tournament is for a good cause, Nichols says that there are plenty of other reasons to go out and shoot.

"It's not really that competitive, so the atmosphere is relaxed," he said. "The main thing is we want people to have fun."

The course is set up much like a skeet-shooting course, with shots being taken from different angles and different stations.

This year's course will have 40, three-dimensional animal targets, arranged for difficult, yet realistic shots.

"We'll have every kind of target out there from deer to coyote, with a realistic line of shot," Nichols said. "It will be challenging, but that's also part of the fun."

Points are made by hitting the rings on the target. The rings are located in the animal's vital areas. Accuracy is key in the tournament, since competitors are allowed only one arrow, per target.

Trophies are awarded for those who tally the most points by the end of the day, while everyone else must settle for a free lunch.

There are four, different sections that men and women can participate in at the tournament. There are also two divisions for children; a nine-and-under and 10-16 age group.

Interest in archery has kept the annual tournament running, while also raising money for college-bound, high school students, but that isn't the single, driving force.

"Really, the tournament has been successful because of Knez allowing us to use his land, as well as the local merchants who donate all the food and drinks," Nichols said. "If it wasn't for them, we'd never be able to put on the tournament."

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