AMES, Iowa – One hundred thirty-seven youth from 23 counties participated in the Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports State Shooting Competition on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Brownells Big Springs Shooting Range in Searsboro.
Iowa 4-H members competed at the state level in six disciplines: air rifle, shotgun, smallbore rifle, muzzleloader, archery and wildlife. Sponsors for the event included Brownells and the Iowa 4-H Foundation.
Each discipline's four top-scoring individuals will be contacted and invited to compete in the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska, set for June 25-30, 2023. Participants can only attend a National Shooting Sports Championship Invitational once for each discipline and can only compete in one discipline per year.
A youth participating at the State Shoot expressed appreciation for the event partners. “Coming to Brownells Big Springs Shooting Range is a big deal – it's huge, and the new canopies over the range bays were great to keep the sun off the shooters. Thanks, Brownells, for hosting us,” the participant said.
4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports programs are taught under the guidance of certified, knowledgeable and caring instructors. Janis Hochstetler, a Madison County SESS club leader, said, “Our club started attending the State Shoot with six members competing five years ago, and this year we had 17 compete with six competing in two disciplines. We owe it to the support and dedication of our instructors and families. The kids have found something they love and are committed to, all while developing good leadership, citizenship, communication skills – and having fun! These are all part of 4-H developing great kids!”
“Overall, I think my favorite moments of this year's State Shoot were meeting new people, hearing the things they like about shooting sports, and encouraging people to take steps to try new things,” explained SESS ambassador Jocelynn Froah.
Like all 4-H programs, 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports is focused on positive youth development and teaching life skills. Iowa 4-H Program Director Debbie Nistler said, “Education is the foundational priority in shooting sports, to allow young people to explore their interests and passions, to promote positive relationships with peers and adults, and to engage youth in a well-rounded 4-H experience. Competition is an activity that is highly visible and beneficial to helping youth set goals and strive for excellence.”
For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, or shooting sports activities and events, please contact your Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office. Or visit the Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports activities and events webpage or the SESS general project webpage.
Shareable photo: Youth participate in archery during the 2022 Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports State Competition.