HOUSTON – Austin Reeves heads to Nebraska in June to compete in the National 4-H Shooting Sports competition in .22-caliber and he was on the range in district competition in both .22 and shotgun recently honing his skills
Reeves was one of 27 youngsters from Chickasaw County competing in .22-caliber rifle, air-rifle, shotgun and archery at Saturday’s 4-H Shooting Sports District meet at Whitetail Ridge in Lee County.
“This is my second year and it’s just fun,” said Reeves, who broke 11-of-15 in shotgun at Saturday’s shoot. “I like breaking those clays. I can hit them, unless they get far out there.”
Reeves was up against stiff competition in shotgun with one shooter busting 15 clays and two breaking 14. Shooters were given a left and right shot and a double from three stations. They were also allowed to call a clay at each station.
Mississippi has one of the largest 4-H Shooting Sports programs in the nation in part due to the efforts of MSU professor Dr. John Long, a driving force in the Magnolia State’s youth shooting events.
Saturday’s district meet saw more than 485 shooters, ages 8 to 18, compete in four disciplines. Winners at the district level move on to the state shoot. Winners at the state shoot compete nationally.
Reeves took 8th place in .22-caliber last fall and earned a spot at nationals when several competitors said they could not make it.
4-H has been hosting shooting sports in Chickasaw County for more than 30 years and has seen a revival in the sport.
“I personally want to thank the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors for sponsoring our program and helping these kids practice,” said Scott Cagle, Chickasaw County Agent and Shooting Sports coordinator. “I also want to thank our volunteers who showed up at every practice to help our kids get better.”
Cagle said Shooting Sports is more than country boys with guns.
“We teach gun safety, responsibility, character and discipline,” said Cagle. “We also have girl shooters and some of them are better than the boys.”
The Chickasaw County 4-H Shooting Sports team practices every Saturday in the weeks leading up to competition in the spring. They start the program in the fall, teaching the basics to rookies and honing the skills of veteran shooters.
And Cagle said 4-H Shooting Sports build relationships with kids and adults as the program requires a parent or adult to attend every practice and shoot with their child.
“I just like to shoot,” said Chris Hewitt, of Houston, who was competing in the .22-caliber/scope rifle competition. “My grandfather got me involved. I hit a bulls-eye from the kneeling position today.”
Chase Huey, of Houston, said this was his second year and he felt he was getting better.
“I felt I shot pretty well today,” said Huey. “I need to work on being more accurate in the standing position.”
Like Hewitt, Huey said the competition is great, but shooting is where the fun is.
“Getting to go out to the range every Saturday is something I look forward to,” said Huey. “I can’t wait until we start up again next fall.”
For more information on Chickasaw County 4-H Shooting Sports contact the MSU Extension Service at 456-4269