AUBURN, Ala.—For the first time in Alabama 4-H history, four teams from the state are attending the shooting sports National Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska June 25-30.
Shooting Sports Teams Attend Nationals
The shotgun, air rifle, archery and .22 smallbore rifle teams representing the Alabama 4-H Shooting, Awareness, Fun and Education (S.A.F.E.) Shooting Sports project are slated to compete in the national championships in Nebraska during the week-long championships.
Alabama 4-H S.A.F.E. Coordinator Shannon Andress is delighted that four teams have the opportunity to represent Alabama in a national competition. She said it takes a tremendous amount of planning and work to get an Alabama 4-H S.A.F.E. team to the National Championships.
“Alabama 4-H has never before had four teams attend nationals,” Andress said. “Our teams forgo the convenience of air travel to Nebraska, due to the need to transport their shooting sports equipment. Funding for this trip is thanks, in great part, to the Alabama 4-H Foundation’s generous $2,000 sponsorship of each team.”
Andress said this resource, in combination with sponsorship from each team’s County Extension office, and diligent fundraising efforts by members, works together to provide travel, lodging and meal expenses for the teams and coaches.
Alabama 4-H Foundation Sponsorship
Alabama 4-H Foundation development officer Seth Tuttle, said the primary mission of the Alabama 4-H Foundation is to provide statewide support for 4-H youth education programs. He said when youth have the opportunity to travel and participate in national competitions such as the 4-H SAFE shooting sports event, it takes learning to an entirely different level for the students.
“These 4-H’ers have earned a spot to compete in a skill that they’ve worked hard to master,” Tuttle said. “Through positive interactions between coaches and volunteers, these 4-H’ers have demonstrated the disciplines of safe shooting and responsible firearm ownership.”
Tuttle said being surrounded by your peers throughout Alabama is one thing, but surrounding yourself with peers from 49 other states allows an entirely different level of learning to take place.
Teams Participating in National Competitions
Members of the shotgun, air rifle, archery and .22 smallbore rifle teams will showcase their talents in Nebraska.
The Lee County 4-H .22 smallbore rifle team includes Elijah Smith, Luke Christian, Moriah Christian and Silas Frick. This team is coached by Bryant Christian.
The Coosa County 4-H archery team includes Zack Buttram, Harley Adams and David Adams. This team is coached by Thomas Reichart.
The Morgan County 4-H ‘Bama Clay Busters’ shotgun team includes Landon Sims, Noah Felong, Dustin Randolph and Zachery Benefield. This team is coached by Scott Boyd.
The Montgomery County 4-H American Legion Post 133 rifle team includes Taylor Cowan, Brianne Staton, Jackson Umlauf and Dawson Kissik. This team is coached by Anthony Kissik.
Montgomery County team member Dawson Kissik is also a National 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador. He said he has been practicing for the national championships with his team two to three days per week, and he and many teammates practice additionally on their own.
“The best part about attending the national championships is meeting people who have similar interests,” Kissik said. “I still talk to the friends I met at the National Ambassador Training I attended in Minnesota last year.”
He said he is thankful for the support of the Alabama 4-H Foundation and his county Extension office.
“I think it is great to have organizations who are willing to support this sport,” Kissik said. “If we did not have the support, there would be no shooting sport.”
The Alabama 4-H Foundation is committed to the youth of 4-H and this commitment is echoed throughout the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
“We value the hard work of 4-H’ers,” Tuttle said. “It is their leadership that will inspire the next generation of great social responsibility.”