Kenneth Gautreaux | 4/26/2018 8:00:52 PM
(04/26/18) FRIERSON, La. — More than 700 Louisiana youth participated in the Louisiana 4-H State Shooting Sports competition held April 17 to 21 at three locations in the Shreveport area. The students competed in more than 12 categories involving pistols, rifles, archery, shotguns, muzzleoaders and air-propelled firearms.
In order to be eligible for the state event, participants had to qualify at either the north or south regional competitions held in March. Nearly 1,000 4-H’ers competed in each of the regionals.
4-H is a nation’s largest youth organization and is administered in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter.
According to David Boldt, 4-H shooting sports coordinator, almost 6,000 youth are engaged in the program. He said part of the program’s attraction is it allows most family members to get involved, including parents. Many parents serve as coaches to their parish teams, are officials during the event and provide essential logistical support.
“This program could not exist without our volunteers. Running events like this takes a lot of people. We have a network of volunteers that fulfill crucial roles, and we could not function without them,” Boldt said.
Rodney LaBauve, one of the volunteers, serves as a coach for the West Baton Rouge Parish team, which is in its second year of existence. His team only participates in the modified trap category.
“We wanted to start slowly and see how it went. We have about 40 members, and they had a pretty good showing,” LaBauve said.
LaBauve said that two competitors made it to state last year, but this year seven qualified.
Two of those members were Rafe Hracek, a 15-year-old freshman at Brusly High, and Dylan Eschette, a 13-year-old who attends Brusly Middle School.
Hracek said he believes he has a natural talent for shooting trap, but he did not perform as well as he expected.
“I didn’t shoot as well as I normally do. It was a little bit worse than usual,” he said.
Eschette was the top performer for his parish and said the team is getting bigger.
“We tell people how much fun it is, and we get more people to join,” Eschette said.
Tyler Strickland and Karlie Glascock are on the West Carroll Parish team and had their parents with them for support during the event.
Strickland, 11, is a student at Oak Grove Elementary and is in his second year of participating. His father, Dustin, says shooting sports is a good fit for their family.
“We enjoy the outdoors. We like to hunt and fish, so this is something we can do together,” Dustin Strickland said.
Tyler Strickland felt the butterflies during his first state competition, but he did not let it affect his shooting.
“It was one of the hardest competitions I’ve been in. I was real nervous, but it was the best I ever shot,” Tyler said. He hit 47 of the 50 targets.
Karlie, 13, is in her third year of competition. Her mother, Amber, put her on the team without her approval.
“She didn’t even know she was signed up and wouldn’t get out the truck. After the first day, she was hooked,” Amber Glascock said.
Her mother said that one of the primary motives for getting Karlie to participate in shooting sports was to teach the fundamentals of gun safety, which is one of the primary reasons many parents get their children involved in the program.
Both Tyler and Karlie said the shotgun competition was their favorite.
“I like shotgun. It’s a good practice for bird hunting, doves, ducks and turkey,” Tyler said.
Some of the students are competing for a spot in the National 4-H Shooting Sports event, which is held at the end of June in Grand Island, Nebraska.
One of those who punched his ticket to Nebraska was Jaxson Swanson. The 14-year-old Ascension Parish 4-H’er qualified in the smallbore pistol division.
“I’m excited, and it was unexpected,” Jaxson said. “It’s my first year to shoot this category, and I’m one of the youngest shooters.”
Michele Swanson, Jaxson’s mother, works at the State Police crime lab and enrolled her son in the program to teach him to have respect for a firearm but not to fear it.
“With the proper training, just about anybody can handle it,” Michele Swanson said.
Swanson does not know if she will be making the trip to Nebraska because she is not sure she will have vacation time available. She took time off to attend the state competition with Jaxson and his sister, Katie.
Michelle Swanson said support from 4-H makes it possible for her children to participate. “The equipment we used is borrowed. 4-H is very family friendly, and they are very helpful,” she said.
If she is unable to make the trip to Nebraska with Jaxson, Michele Swanson believes he will be in good hands with the 4-H agents and volunteers who will make the trip.
“Both of my children have made friends with other children from other parishes. The program makes you feel at ease,” she said.
State winners at the competition were:
Hunting (Junior Overall): Joseph Hayes, Avoyelles Parish.
Hunting (Senior Overall): Alicia LaCour, DeSoto Parish.
Air Pistol (Advanced): Remi Vallot, Livingston Parish.
Air Pistol (Basic): Micah Waguespack, St. James Parish.
Air Pistol (One-handed Supported): Christian Bankovic, Tangipahoa Parish.
Air Pistol (One-handed Standing): Phoebe Brandon, Tangipahoa Parish.
Air Pistol (Two-handed): Mallorie Guillot, Franklin Parish.
Smallbore Pistol (National Overall): Jace P. Rowan, Franklin Parish.
Muzzle Loading (Junior Overall): Peyton Tucker, Bossier Parish.
Muzzle Loading (Senior Overall): Colling LeJeune, Acadia Parish.
Shotgun (Junior Modified Trap): Bryce Sanford, Caldwell Parish.
Shotgun (Senior Modified Trap): Tyler Quinn, Caddo Parish.
Shotgun (Junior Advanced): Matthew Lorio, Pointe Coupee Parish.
Shotgun (Senior Advanced): Garrett LeJeune, Jefferson Davis Parish.
Air Rifle (3P): Molly Mattthews, Ascension Parish.
Air Rifle (Precision): Megan Seese, St. Tammany Parish.
Air Rifle (National Overall): Calvin Domangue, St. James Parish.
Smallbore Rifle (Junior CMP, Open Sight): Ashton Cruse, Caldwell Parish.
Smallbore Rifle (Senior CMP, Open Sight): Adam Palmer, Caldwell Parish.
Smallbore Rifle (Junior CMP, Telescopic): Kylie Stokes, Grant Parish.
Smallbore Rifle (Senior CMP, Telescopic): Keaton Nugent, Grant Parish.
Junior NRA: Julia Johnson, Ouachita Parish.
Senior NRA: Charles McLemore, Union Parish.
Junior (Silhouette): Caden Labat, St. James Parish.
Senior (Silhouette): Ashley Morgan, Webster Parish.
National Overall: Austin Martin, St. James Parish.
Archery (Junior Genesis Modified FITA): Tatum Malone, Bossier Parish.
Archery (Senior Genesis Modified FITA): Hayden McBride, Acadia Parish.
Archery (Junior Recurve Bare Bow Modified FITA): Cassidy Walters, Bossier Parish.
Archery (Senior Recurve Bare Bow Modified FITA): Kevin Albritton, West Carroll Parish.
Archery (Junior Recurve Sighted Modified FITA): Angel Self, Caddo Parish.
Archery (Senior Recurve Sighted Modified FITA): Grace Oliver, Jackson Parish.
Archery (Junior Compound Modified FITA, 9-11 years of age): Nadjia Proffitt, St. Martin Parish.
Archery (Junior Compound Modified FITA, 12-13 years of age): Colton Anderson, Natchitoches Parish.
Archery (Senior Compound Modified FITA): Jesse Walker, Tangipahoa Parish.
Archery (Junior 3D Compound, 9-11 years of age): Kody Dennis, Ouachita Parish.
Archery (Junior 3D Compound, 12-13 years of age): Coleton Anderson, Natchitoches Parish.
Archery (Senior 3D Compound): Remy Thompson, Ouachita Parish.
Archery (Junior 3D Recurve Sighted): Blake Gisclair, Iberia Parish.
Archery (Junior 3D Bare Bow/Genesis): Katelyn Baker, Bossier Parish.
Archery (Senior3D Bare Bow/Genesis): Josiah Keith, Calcasieu Parish.
Archery (Senior Field): Bradford Morrison, Natchitoches Parish.
Archery (National Compound): Cameron Escoyne, St. Landry Parish.
Archery (National Recurve): Rosemarie Colley, St. Mary Parish.
BB Gun (Team): Caden Labat, Kristen Constant, Kathryn Constant, Trinity Burgos and Blaze Melancon, St. James Parish.
BB Gun (Individual): Elaine Schomburg, Bossier Parish.
Carlos Butts, right, checks the trigger pull weight of Austin McMillian’s rifle at the Louisiana 4-H State Shooting Sports competition held at the Long Range Alley Gun Club near Frierson. Butts serves as a volunteer range officer, and McMillian was competing in the smallbore rifle division representing Caddo Parish. More than 700 youth competed at the event, which was held at Long Range Alley Gun Club, the Shreveport Gun Club and the DeSoto Parish Extension Office. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter
Ascension Parish 4-H’er Corrie Savoy takes aim at her silhouette target while Amanda Meaux, of St. Tammany Parish, loads her rifle during the air rifle competition at the Louisiana State 4-H Shooting Sports competition held at the DeSoto Parish extension office. Savoy and Meaux were competing for the opportunity to represent Louisiana at the National 4-H Shooting Sports event held in late June in Grand Island, Nebraska. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter
Kayla Beck, a volunteer official for the Louisiana 4-H Shooting Sports program, scores Bossier Parish 4-H’er Elaine Schomburg’s target during the muzzleloader division of the state 4-H Shooting Sports competition held at the Long Range Alley Gun Club near Frierson. More than 700 youth competed at three venues in the Shreveport area for an opportunity to represent Louisiana 4-H at the national competition held in June in Grand Island, Nebraska. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter