Locals members of the Chickasaw County 4-H Shooting Sports team participated in the district competition May 3 and five have qualified to compete at the State event in July.
Youth from age 8 through 18 may join the Shooting Sports clubs although some disciplines are limited to older shooters. Extension agent, Scott Cagle, said the team has grown in number, various ages and diversity in recent years.
“We’ve got kids from all over Chickasaw County of all ages,” Cagle said.
For junior level shooter, the district meet is the final event of the season, but five senior shooters will advance to the next round of competition.
Cassie Earnest qualified in 22 rifle and archery, while James Ingram, Chase Huey and Ramsey Earnest all qualified in 22 rifle. Jenna Claire Spratlin also qualified in archery.
Cagle said the increase in membership is due directly to the participation the team’s coaches, many of whom are members of local and county law enforcement.
From their end, the coaches say there is more to shooting than picking up a gun or bow.
“I really don’t know where to start with how proud we are of the kids in the 4-H Shooting Sports,” said Regional Jail Warden Brand Huffman. “Over the last year they have improved so much. Shooting sports is not just about shooting. It is about learning life skills and discipline.”
County Coroner and Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Harmon agreed.
“I believe in the motto of 4-H to make the best better,” Harmon said. “We want to give our future generations positive role models and give them ideas to help them think and plan.”
Harmon said the main life lesson the club teaches is respect.
“First respect for each other and others,” Harmon said, adding that safety is also a key component. “A firearm could be dangerous if handled the wrong way. They can develop skills they can use. It’s no different from any other sport.They have to practice, score and qualify to make it to the next level.”
Harmon also feels the presence of law enforcement personnel on the shooting range can be a long-range deterrent to crime.
“Law enforcement is always looking for opportunities to interact with youth and develop a rapport,” Harmon said. “If you keep kids in nature, where they’re supposed to be, it keeps them off the streets, whether it be at horse shows, shooting, showing cows or whatever. They’re less likely to get in trouble.”
And he handed compliments back to Cagle and others who are in supportive roles for 4-H.
“Scott has done a wonderful job,” Harmon said. “When we need something, he has it for us. The board of supervisors have good to support us, too.”
For more information about the programs offered by Chickasaw County 4-H and the MSU Extension Service, call 456-4269 or stop by the office on Lee Horn Drive in Houston.
5M Air Rifle Pellet, Junior 11
MaKinley Huey, Expert (161)
22 Rifle, LR Optical Sights, Junior 11
MaKinley Huey, Sharpshooter (168, 1x)
22 Rifle, LR Open Sights, Junior 111
Stevie Peel, Sharpshooter (185
22 Rifle, LR Optical Sights, Junior 111
Mackenzie Huffman, Expert (202)
Hunner Edington, Distinguished Expert (260, 3x)
Noah Arvin, Marksman (118)
22 Rifle, LR Optical Sights, Senior 1
Casie Earnest, Expert (247)
James Ingram, Expert (211)
Jasmine Gladney, Sharpshooter (165)
22 Rifle, LR Open Sights, Senior 11
Matthew Gladney, Marksman (120)
.22 Pistol, Two Handed, Senior 1
Chase Huey, Sharpshooter (139)
.22 Pistol, Two Handed, Senior 11
Ramsey Earnest, Sharpshooter (160)
Archery, Standard Compound, Junior 11
Connor Spratlin, Archer (122, 1x)
Archery, Bar Bow, Junior 111
Stevie Peel, Archer (127)
Archery, Recurve, Junior 111
Cortney Earnest, Archer (118, 1x)
Archery, Standard Compound, Junior 111
Mackenzie Huffman, Archer (134, 1x)
Logan Fowler, Archer (131, 1x)
Archery, Standard Compound, Senior 1
Cassie Earnest, Archer (112, 2x)
Jenna Claire Spratlin, Archer (109, 1x)
Shotgun, Junior 111
Hunner Edington, Sharpshooter (9)
Palmer Earnest, Sharpshooter (8)
John Russell Linley, Marksman (5)