Moffat County’s Carlin King aims for shotgun greatness after performance at nationals
Moffat County’s Carlin King keeps shooting for the big time.
The Northwest Colorado teen competed alongside the Colorado team at 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships June 24 to 29 in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Carlin was part of the Centennial State group’s third-place team finish in the shotgun discipline’s in trap shooting, as well as third overall in total targets completed at 810 behind Georgia and Texas.
Colorado was also fifth in both sporting clays and skeet.
“It was a lot of tough competition, I’ve never been at something so big,” Carlin said. “I was the only one from the Western Slope, but together we all made a really good team.”
Individually, Carlin was 23rd in total points across the three categories, shooting 78 out of 100 in clays, 91 in skeet and 94 in trap, taking his highest placement in the latter, tying for 14th of 114.
“The rest of the team was more skeet and sporting clays and I was more trap, so we were really well-rounded,” he said.
Carlin noted that he wasn’t surprised his strongest finish was in trap, which he usually excels at during practices. As far as skeet and sporting clays, adjusting to the differences in the range at Grand Island took some work.
“We do have a skeet range here at the Trap Club, but it’s not quite at ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association) standards, and when you go to nationals, skeet is a lot faster,” Carlin said. “Whenever I shoot in Steamboat, they’re set to those standards, so it’s just perfect.”
His grandfather, Dick King, has been shooting competitively since the 1970s and was also inducted into the Colorado State Trapshooting Association Hall of Fame in 2012.
“I really look up to him and want to be like him,” Carlin said.
A week before nationals, Carlin also was involved in Colorado ATA State Trap singles competition in Grand Junction, scoring 198 out of 200 rounds, including 100 in a row to tie for first place in the junior division. He nailed 150 more targets in the shoot-off round before a miss that gave him reserve champion.
An incoming senior at Moffat County High School, the 17-year-old has been perfecting his shotgun skills since age 5, joining the 4-H program four years ago, qualifying for state each time.
His ultimate goal is to shoot in Olympic competition.
His first time at nationals will also be his last time, since competitors are allowed only one turn at the big round in each discipline.
Even so, with the state completion shoots coming up this month, he can still qualify for state once more, hopefully placing or even winning the contest outright.
“It takes a lot of hard work to get good and a lot of practice,” he said.
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