Local shooters place at nationals
Craig — The steady aim of a marksman is required to qualify for state and national competitions in 4-H shooting, and Moffat County is always well represented in the sport’s final round.
Two Moffat County High School seniors attended the 2007 National 4-H Shooting Sports competition in Rapid City, S.D. in June, making up half of the Colorado shooters.
Seventeen-year-old Kody Fox has been shooting in 4-H competitions for seven years, qualifying for state five times.
“With enough practice, anyone could do it,” he said. “I like to shoot, and this gives me a chance to do more of it.”
Fox got into the sport after seeing a brochure promoting 4-H events, and it was a natural fit for the hunting enthusiast.
Derek Willshire also enjoys hunting, going mostly after bucks each fall.
He has been shooting his entire life, he said, and enjoys being around his friends at the 4-H events.
“I started shooting at about 4 years old,” Willshire said. “By the time I was twelve I was hunting. This is my first time qualifying for nationals.”
The national competitions are once-in-a-lifetime events for shooters. Once you have been to nationals, you are not allowed to return, giving others a chance at a trophy.
The two Craig shooters earned a fifth-place finish in the 3-P, or three position competition. The event involves firing from prone, kneeling and standing positions with the clock running.
Rapid-fire events allow each marksman 25 seconds to put 10 rounds in the target. Slow-fire events offer a minute and 30 seconds for each shot.
Willshire has qualified for state six times, or every year he has been shooting in 4-H events.
“I’ve been shooting pretty good at state,” he said. “We have good instructors here in town.”
The top six shooters in each event keep shooting after the completion round to prepare for the state competition in Pueblo.
The top four shooters at the state level, along with two alternates, proceed to nationals the summer following the state fair.
Contestants must be at least 14 years old to shoot at the national competition.
In June, two Eastern Slope youngsters joined the pair from Craig at the national event in South Dakota to represent Colorado.
Practice rounds were held before each competition, with about 50 rounds being fired, Fox said.
One hundred and ten shots are fired at the targets during each stage of the competition, and when asked how many hit the circle on the target, Fox was quick to reply.
“Hopefully, 110,” he said.
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