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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Local Youth Among Perfect Shooters

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Corning, a perennial contender for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Shooting Sports state championship, led 63 other senior squads in qualifying for the state tourney, set for Saturday, June 1, at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex here.

But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Corning’s Squad 1 was tied for East Region honors on a soggy Saturday in early May when the shooting ended with Cabot’s Red team and Jonesboro Trap Team’s Uncoachables 2.0 matching Corning’s 238 clay targets out of 250 total. But in a “card off” of best individual shooters among the five-team members of each tied squad, Corning won out as the region champion.

Cabot and Jonesboro, though, will have a great chance to take the overall prize June 1 with the 64 qualifying senior shooting teams meeting in head-to-head bracket play. The draw of higher seeds vs. lower seeds will pit two teams, with each shooting 25 shots and the winner moving on to the next round, like the NCAA basketball tournament, though teams will shoot at different stands and compare scores. The state champion will have to win six matches.

Joining Corning as region winners were Bald Knob Red in the North, taking its region by 5 clays over Searcy Shooting Sports, 234-229; Greenwood Bulldogs Locked & Loaded, 4 points ahead of Berryville Road Kill Grillers, 233-229; and Smackover Shooting Sports’ Bucks Black, which like Corning needed a three-way “card off” to win the South Region over Nashville Scrappers Orange and Ashdown Shooting Sports 1 after the trio all recorded 230 targets. Two clays separated seven teams at the top of the South Region.

Corning’s Junior No. 1 squad also won its regional, hitting 114 out of 125 targets, but it was Bald Knob Bulldogs Trap Red in the North that had the top score among the 64 qualifying junior teams. Bald Knob Red, paced by two shooters who hit all 25 shots, coasted over Salem No. 1, 120-113, though Salem had three shooters have perfect shooting days.

Ozark Youth Shooting Team 1 took the West Region on May 17, the final weekend of regional action, while Magnolia Panther Trap Team Red claimed the South when the YSS regionals began April 26 here.

The Junior State Championship will be contested with the same format as the seniors but a day earlier, on May 31. Action on both days begins at 9 a.m. Admission is free, and food vendors will be available on-site. Participants and visitors can participate in fishing and archery during the day with stations set up on the east end of the complex.

The top 16 teams in each region advance to the state tournaments. Results of each region can be found here.

Four weeks of regional competition attracted 473 teams in the Senior Division and 414 for the juniors. About 5,400 shooters signed up for YSS this year, according to Jimmy Self, the AGFC’s coordinator of the program, part of the agency’s new Recreation Shooting Division.

Shooters who hit all of their targets during the qualifying rounds advance to the Tournament of Champions in both junior and senior divisions. A shoot-off among the qualifiers will be held after their respective state tournaments to determine a Champion of Champions. Junior Tournament of Champion qualifiers, who hit all 25 shots, are Stanley Andreski, Berryville Shooting Sports Toad Ala Mode; Asher Hale and Jameson Glaze, Bald Knob Red; Conley Tyler, Hoyt Smith and Levi Foster of Salem 1; Christopher Scrogin, Corning 1; and Reece Cash, Hazen Shooters A.

Eight perfect shooters in the Senior Division, hitting 50 out of 50 targets, came from the same region, the East. Advancing to the Senior Tournament of Champions are Caleb Richardson, Booneville Bearcats Gold; Donald W. Stephens, Greenwood Bulldogs Trap Locked & Loaded; Cole Cureton and Jackson Parks, Jonesboro Westside Red; Ellisa Vaughn, Greene County Tech Pigeon Pounders; Gage Stamper, Cabot Red; Hayden Whitlock, Brookland Bearcats Black; Jordan Miller, Harrisburg Hornets 2; Levi Adams, Corning Senior 1; and Gunner Bour, Indians Shooting Club 1.

College scholarship money totaling about $17,000 will be divvied up among the top three finishing senior teams, including $2,500 to the Champion of Champions Senior Division winner. The Doyne and Nancy Williams Endowment funds the Champion of Champions scholarship. The Williamses, 2014 inductees into the Arkansas Outdoors Hall of Fame, have been longtime supporters of recreational shooting sports, traveling the country to compete in events.

Visit www.agfc.com/yss for more information on the AGFC’s Recreational Shooting Division and Youth Shooting Sports Program.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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