The arrows were flying and guns were blazing as six Sabine Parish 4H-ers attended the National Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska. A total of 635 of the top shots in the nation gathered to showcase their skills while they competed in various disciplines. Sabine youth represented the parish well and were able to bring home the ribbons. These top competitors worked their way through the ranks by competing first at the regional level and then on to the state level in order to gain their spot on the Louisiana State teams. Untold hours are spent practicing by the youth, their agents, and volunteer coaches in order to get them ready either just for fun or for competition. 4-H Shooting Sports has over 635,000 members nationwide. There are over 50,000 adult coaches, which are certified to keep this sport fun and educational, as well as safe, which is the most important goal.
The four-man Hunting Skills Team represented Louisiana with 3 of the 4 residing in Sabine Parish. Morgan Manuel and Klein Pearce, both from Florien High School, and Trevor Watson from Negreet High School ended the week with a 4th place overall team win. The other team member was Dillion Benson of St. Mary's Parish. Pearce also finished with a 10th place high individual score. These young men were required to shoot shotguns, rifles, and archery as well as being tested on their general hunting knowledge, land navigation, wildlife identification, first aid, hunter decision making, and rules & regulations.
The four-man Muzzleloader Team also fared well with three of the four being from Sabine Parish. Justin Bass, Ethan Ebarb, and Joseph Smith all hail from Ebarb High School. Their well-coached team placed 5th overall in the nation. These young men were scored on their ability to accurately shoot three separate types of targets.
These young men could not have made it without the help of several people in our community. Thanks need to be extended to the Sabine coaches who are Chris Adair, Benny Bell, Rusty Britt, Ricky Harrell, Chris Pearce, Steve Pearce, Jaime Smith, and Gerald Watson. Practice facilities were also provided by Chris & Nicki Gentry of Sky-Bombers Shooting Range and also Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronnie Richardson. Donations for equipment and ammunitions purchases were provided by Pete Abington, John Byrd, Bo Chevallier, Tommy Dahlem, Robert Dale Geohagan, Andy Payne, Chris Pearce, and Chuck Soileau.