Moffat County 4-H rifle team scoping out state | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County 4-H rifle team scoping out state

Minutes of preparation and concentration go into shot, only for the person pulling the trigger having to reload a few seconds later and start the process all over, but if there's one thing Moffat County 4-H kids know, it's how to be patient.

The first of the completion shoot rounds for Colorado shooting sports competition began Saturday as Moffat County's rifle teams took to the range at Bears Ears Sportsman Club to test their aim and accuracy.

Angela Hill emerged as the top shooter among seniors in each category, including the four-position, three-position, hunt and scope for smallbore rifle.

She will be joined at state by fellow senior team members Gabrielle Ellis, Donovan Converse and Kelton Villard, the four of whom make up the entirety of the older group this season.

Angela recently returned from a week in Grand Island, Nebraska, where she shot at the 4-H national level, placing eighth overall in the air rifle.

Also shooting at nationals was Eli Ellis in his final year of eligibility for 4-H competition.

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In the .22 category at Grand Island, he was 40th overall, though the numbers didn't mean as much to him as the prestige of finally being at the top tier.

"It was so much fun down there, just the difference in the competition," he said. "Shooting targets here, it's fun, but down there with the silhouettes and rapid-fire and the longer distance, it just brings a whole new aspect to shooting."

Eli was also present at the range this weekend to support his sister, Gabrielle, in her first year as a senior.

With 21 total shooters Saturday, the majority were at the junior level, with Logan Blackwell and Joey Gates battling it out for the best score. Each placed first in two contests, though Gates' showing in the hunt category was the best of either age group.

Blake Hill, Chloe Villard, Forrest Siminoe, Elias Browning and Abbie Blackwell were among those who made the state team for the juniors, either in the top four of the four categories or as an alternate in fifth or sixth place.

"There was lot of effort put in this season by everybody," said Alvin Luker, who coaches the rifle group along with Jody and Red Lee.

A mixture of experienced shooters and first-timers were taking aim at state, and among the novices were Cayden King and Taelee Knez.

The two are divided on their favorite way to shoot — King likes being flat on her belly in prone position, Knez a seated stance — though they have both enjoyed the start to the sport through many hours of practice.

"I really like the silhouettes, and I think I've improved a lot so that I can hit the target a lot better," Knez said.

Moffat County teams will also host their completion shoot events for .22 pistol, muzzleloader, air rifle and air pistol in the coming week at Bears Ears.

Additional qualifiers for archery and shotgun teams will also take place July 22 at Wyman Living History Museum and July 29 at Craig Trap Club, respectively, for local marksmen.

State events will take place Aug. 19 and 20 in Pueblo and Sept. 2 to 4 in Colorado Springs.

While coaches will continue to work with those bound for state, shooters also receive a great deal of support among themselves. Older competitors are quick to instruct the younger on their technique.

"Really, 4-H is about helping out other kids," Angela Hill said. "It teaches a lot of discipline and self-respect."

Participating in the sport has changed his life, Eli Ellis noted.

"Before shooting for 4-H, I didn't have a whole lot of discipline to follow through on anything, I'd start something and then quit," he said. "After 4-H, with the coaches, especially Jody, preaching being respectful, 'yes, sir, yes, ma'am,' it's just given me a lot better attitude on life, and it gives young kids a lot of life skills beyond shooting."

4-H smallbore rifle state shooting teams

• Senior

3-P

1. Angela Hill

2. Gabrielle Ellis

3. Donovan Converse

4. Kelton Villard

4-P

1. Angela Hill

2. Gabrielle Ellis

3. Donovan Converse

4. Kelton Villard

Hunt

1. Angela Hill

2. Gabrielle Ellis

3. Kelton Villard

4. Donovan Converse

Scope

1. Angela Hill

2. Gabrielle Ellis

3. Kelton Villard

4. Donovan Converse

• Junior

3-P

1. Logan Blackwell

2. Joey Gates

3. Blake Hill

4. Chloe Villard

5. Forrest Siminoe

6. Elias Browning

4-P

1. Logan Blackwell

2. Joey Gates

3. Chloe Villard

4. Forrest Siminoe

5. Blake Hill

6. Abbie Blackwell

Hunt

1. Joey Gates

2. Forrest Siminoe

3. Logan Blackwell

4. Blake Hill

5. Elias Browning

6. Chloe Villard

Scope

1. Joey Gates

2. Chloe Villard

3. Forrest Siminoe

4. Logan Blackwell

5. Blake Hill

6. Elias Browning