Craig Another year and another dominant performance from the Moffat County 4-H rifle and pistol team.
The county’s best attended the Colorado 4-H Shooting Sports State Shoot for air rifle, air pistol and .22 rifle in Pueblo, coming away with three state championships, a state runner-up and four qualifiers to next year’s national 4-H shoot. They continued a five-year run of dominance in .22 rifle, making Moffat County a name to be reckoned with across the state when it comes to strong shooting.
With a slight drop back in the .22 competition, Moffat County still emerged victorious in three of the four events as a team, placing second behind Weld County in the 4-P class. They placed second by 21 points and had three more firsts for the senior team, which was nothing to be ashamed of.
“They’re right there at the top of the state every year,” coach Jody Lee said about the Moffat County shooters’ performance. “We lost our sweep, but you can’t be disappointed in second place in the state.”
Teammates Dakota Lee, Dylan Villa, Hunter Rummel, Eli Ellis, Couri Blevins and Austin Luker combined for three firsts in the hunt, 3-P and scope classes of the .22 contest. Lee, Villa and Ellis all qualified for nationals.
Moffat County was excellent across the other events, as well. In the air pistol competition, Rummel took second place after losing on the third tiebreaker to the defending state champion. Rummmel earned the top spot on the national qualifying team and was joined in the top 10 by Villa and Lee.
The seniors also were good in air rifle, taking fourth place as a team in the Olympic offhand class, with Villa qualifying for nationals.
In the junior division, the team scores weren’t as gaudy, but the shooters are significantly less experienced. Moffat County has several shooters 10 and younger who were competing against children as old as 13.
The coaches were pleased with the way they handled themselves.
“Our junior team has a lot of real young kids and a lot of first-time shooters,” Jody Lee said. “The conditions were very hard. Pueblo was hot and windy, and the kids bucked up and did a very good job.”
As they gain experience, coach Alvin Luker is confident they will become forces in the competitive shooting circuit.
“We’ve got some good up-and-coming juniors,” Luker said. “They just need time and experience.”
Still, the juniors made their presence known. Christopher Hill, Lane Tuck and Kaitlyn Ahlstrom all posted top-20 finishes in the 3-P and 4-P classes.
The coaches are most proud of the way their success has been achieved. Many 4-H participants come out initially to learn proper gun safety and how to conduct themselves on a range. That’s what the coaches have taught, and the success has come as a result of a group of kids with the right attitudes.
“It’s not just about shooting,” Luker said. “It’s about personal responsibility and discipline. It’s not about winning, winning, winning. That’s happened as an awesome byproduct for us, though.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com