Moffat County 4-H shooters sharpen skills at national level
Coach: Team is about building self-reliance, respect
Craig — A trio of Moffat County teenagers recently represented Colorado in the national 4-H shooting competition in Grand Island, Nebraska from June 22 to 26.
Recent MCHS graduate Dylan Villa and teammates Hunter Rummel and Jordan Kainz were among the top finishers in the state competition in August, earning them a spot at nationals.
A three-time nationals participant in the senior division for ages 14 to 18, Villa said the level of competition is fierce and challenges him to step up his game.
“You have people there that practice 24 hours a day to hit perfectly every time. They’re all good, but you definitely know who the high shooters are,” Villa said. “You see the person next to you shooting a perfect score and you want to get a perfect score and beat them.”
Moffat County consistently produces some of the state’s top shooters. Participants qualify by placing in the top four in a particular event at the state competition.
“We’ve been pretty lucky as a county, we send someone to nationals almost every year,” said 4-H shooting coach Alvin Luker. “Last year, the entire .22 team was from Moffat County.”
This year, Villa competed in his last nationals event on the air rifle team after placing first in both air rifle and .22 rifle and second in air pistol at the state competition. He also competed in archery. Students can only attend nationals in one event, and can only attend in that event once in their 4-H careers.
Villa hopes to continue to hone his sharp shooting skills either by shooting in college — he will attend Western State Colorado University in Gunnison in the fall — or as part of the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
Rummel competed in the .22 rifle event after placing second in both .22 rifle and air rifle and third in air pistol at state, while Kainz competed on the compound archery team at nationals after placing fourth in the event at state.
Kainz’s compound archery team placed first in the nation, with Kainz securing a ninth-place individual finish. Though Kainz occasionally hunts with a rifle, he prefers to stick to a compound bow in competition and will not be able to compete again in the same event at nationals. Rather, he said he plans to start competing against the pros for cash prizes.
“That’s also the point is to get kids shooting beyond 4-H,” Luker said. “We’re just setting the stage.”
Rummel’s .22 rifle team placed fifth at the national competition, and Villa wasn’t sure of his place after running into a rifle malfunction.
“Luckily enough, somebody let me borrow their rifle,” Villa said. “I’m still pretty happy considering I never shot that rifle before.”
Luker said the 4-H shooting program is about more than just teaching kids to hit targets.
“We focus on discipline. We shoot two days per week,” Luker said. “It’s more about self-reliance. It’s their job to bring their stuff, and the interactions between them — they respect each other, they respect the competition, they respect the adults. There’s a lot that comes with 4-H.”
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.
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