HOUSTON – Austin Reeves hasn’t been shooting competitively for long, but he’s been doing it well enough to claim a spot at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Invitational contest at the end of this month.
“I started shooting competitively last year,” Reeves said. “I went to State last year in .22 (rifle).”
His placement of eighth at the State competition was good enough to earn him an invitation to the National meet June 23-28 in Grand Island, Neb.
Reeves has been soliciting donations from businesses, civic organizations and individuals to help fund the trip on which he will be accompanied by his coach, Brand Huffman, his father and a family friend.
A 4-H member can only compete once at the national level so sponsors would make a one-time, tax deductible donation to support him in competition.
County Extension Director Scott Cagle said the opportunity to compete in the National meet doesn’t come around very often.
“He qualified last year at the State meet,” Cagle said. “National is always a year later. This is the first time in several years we’ve had someone qualify for National.”
Reeves will leave June 21 and will compete the next week.
“It’s a five-day event,” Cagle said. “He’ll be shooting every day.”
Reeves won’t have much of a break when he returns. The 2013 State meet will be held in July and he has entered the shotgun competition. He also won’t be traveling to the State meet alone.
“Cassidy Earnest is going to State, too,” Cagle said. “She’ll compete in .22 rifle and Austin is going to compete in shotgun.”
Cagle said the 4-H Shooting Sports program has grown tremendously in the last few years and he credits the partnership of volunteers from the Regional Jail, Sheriff’s Department and Police Department.
“Andy Harmon and Dustin Dendy are the shotgun coaches,” Cagle said. “Amanda Huffman coaches air rifle and Michael Fowler coaches archery. We had about 40 kids involved last year and 22 went to competition. It’s really grown over the past four years.”
The regular season for shooting sports will resume in September, but Cagle said interested youth can sign up anytime.
“Any youth from eight to 18 can come by the Extension Office and sign up with Angie (Abrams, Program Associate),” Cagle said. “It’s growing and there’s more interest. We’ll start up again after school starts.”
As for Reeves, he’s looking forward to his trip to Nebraska and to competing at State once again.
“I’m very excited,” Reeves said.