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Franklin County 4-H Archery, Shotgun Clubs shine at state competition

The Franklin County 4-H program had two clubs compete at state competitions in April, performing well at their respective events and winning multiple honors.

 

In early April, the Archery Club traveled to Columbiana to compete in the state contest. Later that month, the Shotgun Club was a part of a three-day competition at Selwood Farms in Alpine and Red Eagle Skeet and Trap Club in Childersburg.

 

On Saturday, April 13 the 4-H Archery Club had a number of individuals place high in multiple events at the state meet. Whitley Radford was the top individual in FITA junior compound with sights, took second in the 3-D compound with sights, and was the overall first individual in junior compound with sights. Radford was also a member of the team that took first place in junior compound with sight, alongside team members AnnaClair Borden, Jayden Weeks, and Willow Crosier. Crosier finished third in FITA junior compound with sights.

 

Radford, Borden, and Crosier were also invited to compete in the Buckmaster’s Shoot Off in Montgomery in June. Other competing members were Farrah Proctor, Grayson Templeton, Madelyn Long, Rayme Spiegle, Xander Cantrell, Zachary May, and Freya Cantrell.

 

The 4-H Archery Club coach, Dwight McCay, explained the differences between the two types of events at the state tournament.

 

We have what is called field archery and field archery is where they shoot so many arrows at 10 meters and then so many arrows at 25 meters and so many at 30 meters,” McCay said. “3-D is where you shoot animal targets set up at different distances. With 3-D the distance isn’t marked so they basically have to judge each target. They have to figure out how far the target is before they draw back to shoot it, so it’s a little bit harder and the targets are a little bit different.”

 

McCay said the 4-H Archery Club and archery itself are important because it teaches youth about focus and preparation.

 

Archery is something you can use all the way through life,” he said. “Every time you come out of practice with archery you learn something different, something a little bit new. It teaches you to focus on a target, how to mentally prepare for every shot, and basically everything you do daily in archery you have to come up with a plan.”

 

Apart from the intangible benefits of archery, McCay said there are tangible benefits for young people to take up archery, such as scholarships. And unlike many other high school sports, McCay said, archery is one you can practice throughout life and become a professional in, no matter your age.

 

What I like about archery is that no matter how old you are, you can actually work your way up all the way up to what you call pro level, and that’s something you can do after high school,” he said. “I’ve been shooting archery for 25 years now and I’ve won my way up to pro level. So once you get out of school it's something you can keep doing and keep working on. You can always get a little better, go a little higher.”

 

The 4-H Shotgun Club had several members take part in the three-day state tournament Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28.

 

The participants competed in three different events: sporting clays, skeet, and trap.

 

In the junior division, which comprises ages 9-13, Rhodes Berryman, Alex Gray, Lucas Burchfield, and Jeremiah Wilson ranked third in team trap shooting competition. In the senior division, ages 14-18, Nathan Richardson was the first place trap individual and also the highest overall individual. Richardson was also a part of the first place trap team which also included Kade LeMay, Davis Lindsey, and Colton Martin. Richardson, LeMay, Lindsey, and Martin were the second highest overall scoring team in the tournament.

 

Of all the teams that competed in the event, coach Wade Willingham said his team finished second overall in points.

 

I was very proud of them,” Willingham said. “The highest team down there had 388 and we had 385. They beat us by just three targets.”

 

Like McCay said of the Archery Club, Willingham said there are practical benefits of being in the Shotgun Club.

 

It gets the kids used to firearms and teaches them safety on firearms, and it’s all around just a good sport,” he said.

 

Kade LeMay, 17, who competed in the tournament, said he’s been involved for around three years and he’s glad there’s a program that allows students to get involved in competitive shooting.

 

I think it’s nice that the state still has something to do with encouraging the youth in hunting and the firearms aspect, instead of drawing away from it,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people.”

 

Other competing members of the Shotgun Club were Logan Burchfield, Joshua Spiegle, Dixie Hester, Tristan Hamm, and Jonathan Miller.

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