State 4-H games host 1,000 shooters

More than 1,000 shotgunners participated in the 2014 Texas 4-H Shooting Sports State Games held at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.

Shooters in four different age groups competed in Modified Trap, International Skeet, American Skeet, American Trap, Sporting Clays and Whiz Bang (five-stand) Sporting Clays.

“We had 1,044 shooters, which is up 150 shooters from last year,” said Jack Burch, founder of the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center, who volunteers at the games. “And we had a 30- to 40-percent increase in the number of kids that decided to shoot the international events.”

The top overall award is the Gunsmike Award, given to the high shooter in all rounds of all of the shooting disciplines. This year, Baylor Brooks of Stephenville topped the field with 420 total targets.

Heston Graves and Konor Smith of Floydada topped the field of 35 teams in the 2-man team in American Trap. Both shot 97 of 100 targets and tied for first place, then headed to a shoot-off where both shot 100 percent to take the title.

Burch said the success of local shooters in the Olympics and World Cup events is a reason for the increased participation, especially in the International events.

“Those shooters were 4-H kids to begin with, and the International events are the next step for those who want to shoot after 4-H is over.”

In the overall awards, female shooters were right up there with the boys, Burch said.

“It was impressive how much higher up the girls shot than in previous years,” he said. “There were a number of them in shoot-offs in the overall awards — those aren’t gender specific.”