By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – To say the kids in Houston County can compete with anyone is an understatement. Just look at some of the state championship trophies that adorn the campuses of the five Houston County school districts, both in academics and athletics.
School may be out for summer, but as the temperatures approach the century mark, a competitive fire has been ignited for those youngsters involved with Houston County 4-H Shooting Sports.
According to sponsor Michelle Craven, “Houston County sent 13 shooters to the State Games this past week to compete with 760 other shooters from across Texas, and all the kids did an amazing job representing our county.”
“Three of the shooters – Austin Eberts, Marcus Moore and William Benton – are new to the program this year and did an outstanding job in their first ever state competition,” she continued. “Other shooters experienced many personal bests and Sydney Furrh shot her first ‘straight’ (hitting all 25 clays in one round) in the skeet competition.”
The State Games include a total of 6 disciplines: American Trap, American Skeet, Sporting Clays, Whizbang, and two International events, trap and skeet, where the clays are faster and harder. The following kids placed in the following events:
- Austin Eberts – Junior Lewis B Class 1st place American Trap; Junior B Class 2nd place Sporting Clays.
- William Benton – Intermediate Lewis Class D 3rd place Whizbang.
- Alex Long – Senior 1 Lewis Class C 1st place American Trap.
- Sydnee Craven – Ladies Senior 1 Division 1st place in Skeet, Whizbang, and International Trap; 2nd place in International Skeet; 2nd place Overall International games; 2nd place Overall American games; and Ladies Senior 1 Top Shooter for all 6 disciplines.
- Jamie Welch – Ladies Senior 2 Division 3rd place International Skeet; 3rd place International Trap; 3rd place Overall International games; and 3rd place Top Shooter category for all 6 disciplines.
- Camryn Craven – Ladies Senior 2 Division 2nd place International Skeet; 2nd place Overall International games.
At the state competition, depending on the age division in Skeet and Trap, shooters compete in at least 2 rounds (consisting of 25 shots each) of each discipline while the Senior shooters compete in 4 rounds per discipline (100 shots). Before the State Competition is complete, Junior shooters have shot at 350 targets, Intermediates at 400 targets, and Seniors at 450 clay targets.
“The busiest part of the shooting season is February through July, although a few 4-H county shoots are in the fall,” Craven said.
Held during the third week of July – in San Antonio – at the National Shooting Complex, shooters practice and participate in county shoots all over Texas in preparation for the State Games. Anywhere from 750-1000 shooters will gather together in the Alamo City to compete in the event.
The weekend before the State Games, Comal County hosts its shoot and generally has about 250-300 shooters sign up and Houston County was well-represented here as well.
At the Comal County shoot the weekend before the following kids won the following awards:
Austin Eberts – 1st place Junior Division Skeet – first belt buckle.
Rylee Grossmann – 2nd place Intermediate Ladies Whizbang.
Sydnee Craven – Senior 1 Ladies Division 1st in Skeet; 1st in Whizbang; 3rd in Sporting Clays; and HOA (highest overall score).
Jamie Welch – Senior 2 Ladies Division 1st in Super Sporting; 1st in Trap; 3rd in Skeet; and 3rd in Sporting Clays.
Camryn Craven – Senior 2 Ladies Division 1st in Sporting Clays; 2nd in Skeet; and 3rd in Whizbang.
4-H Shooting Sports are available to all Houston County kids, beginning at age 8 or the third grade. Gun safety is heavily emphasized and expected at all times. New shooters go through a full day of safety training and range etiquette before joining the club. Shooters practice at the Houston County range on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 pm.
4-H Shooting Sports is separated into age divisions: Junior (3rd-5th grade); Intermediate (6th – 8th grades); Senior 1 (9th-10th grades); and Senior II (11th-12th grades). The Ladies’ division is also counted separately in each age division.
New shooter sign ups and safety training and orientation will take place at the end of January or early February 2020. For more information contact Brian Fiolek or Michelle Craven.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.