With 16-20 young boys and girls involved, the 4-H Shooting Club meets on a regular basis at their range at the Bee County Expo Center to sharpen their shooting skills and learn a good deal more about themselves and about life.
Sportsmanship, discipline, determination and responsibility were all attributes that were explained as benefits by the club’s coaches.
When asked what her two children receive from the club, Esther McFall (one of the certified instructors) mentioned, “Discipline, very much so. The kids absolutely love it. Hunting is a big part of our family, and we’ve taught the them gun safety from a very early age.”
Everything that is accomplished on the range is done with safety in mind.
“It’s better to know about guns than be afraid of them,” McFall said.
As stated earlier, the club is open for both boys and girls, and one mother mentioned, “The younger girls are actually better shooters than the boys. They have more patience.” She requested anonymity for obvious reasons.
The shooters fire a .22 caliber, single shot, bolt action target rifle at small bull’s-eye targets 50 feet down range. Sights are all “peep” sights and with a post reticle that is of the shooter’s choice.
The shooting is done competitively, and three positions are used in competition. Prone, kneeling and standing make up the three stations of shooting. Each round consists of ten targets, one shot per target; so in competition, the shooters fire a total of 30 shots.
In district competition, the senior division shooters, a four- or three-man team, compete for a chance to advance to the state competition. Only the top three scores of the team are counted. The luxury of that fourth shooter really can help if someone has an off day at the range. The top three teams at district gain the opportunity to shoot at the state meet.
In the last two years, the Bee County contingent of shooters has placed fourth at state and won state back in 2006. The club has a district meet this weekend, beginning on Friday in Victoria. The 4-H shooters in Victoria have an indoor facility in which to practice and compete.
Another young lady shooter, just entering high school last year, had a tough choice to make earlier this year. Having been introduced to the world of target shooting, she had to decide whether to join the 4-H Shooting Club or become a A.C. Jones cheerleader. She became a shooter.
“She chose shooting over cheerleading. It really settles everything for her; it’s relaxing,” said the mother.
Five certified instructors help the club and shooters: Austin Brown, the club manager; Lee Farias, Esther McFall and Charles McCameron, who also lends a helping hand at managing the club and has been involved with the 4-H Shooting Club for many years and newcomer Kenley Rands whose son is active with the club.
The club is open to youngsters 9-10 years old and even 8 years old, if they are in the third grade, can join. The age range is through 19 years of age into the senior division.
For information on the club, call Austin Brown III at (361) 597-0373.