Local teen takes aim at high achievement

Air pistol shooter targets Olympics

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Ari Osborn practices the piano five hours a day. He composes music and has released a CD called "The Blessing."

But Osborn, 13, wants to be an Olympian and air pistol shooting is the sport he said he hopes will get him there.

"Everything starts with a dream," said Laura Baker, assistant national pistol coach.

Osborn started shooting two and a half years ago when Baker approached him during a dog training class.

"I started out in air rifle but she (Baker) stole me over to air pistol," said Osborn as Baker quips that it was because he had to carry a lot less gear compared to other shooting sports.

Osborn was born in St. Louis, Mo., but moved to Craig when he was two months old.

"We both grew up here and his grandparents are here," his mother, Kathy Osborn, said.

The dedicated athlete, who wakes up at 4 a.m. everyday during the school year, is homeschooled and has been since fifth grade.

"It works out very nice because when he goes to various meets and matches sometimes other kids aren't there and I think that is because

they are in school," said Osborn's mother.

A typical school day for Osborn starts at 4 a.m. when he begins studying, usually for about an hour, then the teen practices piano for the next five hours until about 10 a.m. After which he has school from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then goes out to shoot for the next two hours. At night, Osborn finishes out his day studying, usually going to bed

at 9 or 9:30 p.m.

"We have so much fun no matter what we are studying," Kathy Osborn said.

A usual meet is one hour and 45 minutes with the contestant using 60 rounds. The maximum points for each round is 10 for a shot in the bull's eye.

"I usually shoot fast compared to everyone else," said Osborn, who said he usually finishes in about an hour and 15 minutes. "I am learning to slow down, pace myself and take a few breaks."

To make it into the national development team, which is what he is working toward, Osborn needs to get a score of about 550 or win a National Junior Olympic Championship. Right now he is scoring about 520 or 530.

"It is the difference of turning two 9s into two 10s," Baker said.

"Right now my goal is to keep everything in the eight range and then I will try to keep everything in the nine," Osborn said.

The program that Osborn works on is run out of the Bear Ear's Sportsman Club, which sponsors the shooting programs for youth as a part of the organization's youth development program.

Osborn shows remarkable maturity for someone so young. The athlete has to watch what he eats and is not allowed to eat sugar before a match. He also is involved in a daily regime of running, weightlifting, shooting and dry firing.

"He has to show us that he is committed, consistent, reliable, has good character and good scores," said Baker, who says that so far Osborn has everything but the scores.

The athlete has participated in one shooting meet every month since January and is currently training for a preliminary tryout in Utah for next year's nationals in Georgia.

But Osborn knows that there is always something that will make him grow more, "That is what is going to help me the most is match experience," he said.

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