AMES, Iowa – One hundred thirty-two youth from 23 counties participated in the Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports State Shooting Competition on Saturday, Aug. 26, at Brownell’s Big Springs Shooting Complex in Searsboro, Iowa.
Iowa 4-H members competed at the state level in five disciplines: air rifle, shotgun, smallbore rifle, muzzleloader and archery. Youth can compete in compound archery, recurve archery and Genesis archery subcategories. Youth can compete in Junior (fourth to sixth grade), Intermediate (seventh and eighth grade), and Senior (ninth through 12th grade) age divisions for awards. Sponsors for the event included Brownell’s 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, planned for June 22-28, 2024, in Grand Island, Nebraska. Participants can only attend a 4-H National Shooting Sports Championship Invitational once for each discipline and can only compete in one discipline per year.
The Iowa 4-H Shooting Sports State Competition showcases the hard work of youth learning and practicing with their local county shooting sports 4-H clubs. Iowa 4-H SESS ambassador Lauren Keller explained, “At the beginning of each new club year, youth are encouraged to set goals. Youth work hard all year long to achieve those goals and learn new skills before the annual state match. When 4-H members get to the state match, they are excited because they have been practicing and improving all year. After they have competed, you can really see how much more confident they have become. It is fun to see the youth in my 4-H club compete again year after year. Watching them grow in their skills and become more confident and successful is great.”
Another youth shared, “I enjoyed attending the SESS state match this year because of the people. Not only did I get to see some of my friends again from other parts of Iowa, but I also got to work with new people, such as Dean Muller. Dean is the chief range officer for shotgun. Dean answered my questions so well. I appreciated getting to learn from him, and he helped me have a good experience. The number of people you meet from all over Iowa is one of the best experiences. If you are just starting out, this is the perfect place to learn from experts and fellow 4-H members interested in the same thing you are.”
Ryan Mace, an Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports volunteer instructor, stated, “This was my first year coaching and attending the state match. It was a great opportunity for the kids to experience a match in a bigger setting with a wide range of competition. The larger setting is a confidence builder for many of them. From a coaching standpoint, it was a great opportunity to observe other kids and competition levels to gauge what we are doing right as a club and what we can improve on as coaches. The 4-H shooting sports are a great opportunity to teach kids firearm safety and marksmanship. In the process, they learn to respect firearms and a great deal of responsibility. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the volunteers and facilities provided by Brownell’s. It is a wonderful facility, and the event was very professionally operated.”
For more information about 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 SESS project area webpage.
Shareable photos courtesy of 4-H volunteers Janis Hochstetler and Mike Kloth
- An archery competitor shows excellent form at the 2023 Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports State Competition.
- Youth check their scores with help from their coaches at the Smallbore Rifle range during the 2023 Iowa 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports State Competition.