Montana State University

Montana 4-H shooting sports teams place at national competition

July 9, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Montana 4-H shooting sports teams recently won top places in the National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational Tournament in Grand Island, Neb.

The Montana 4-H delegation consisted of 27 competitors and 8 coaches in the shooting disciplines of air rifle, air pistol, small bore rifle, small bore pistol, recurve archery, compound archery, shotgun and muzzle loading. 

Members compete at the national level in teams, which are made up of the top four individuals from state qualifying tournaments in each discipline. Competitors must be 14-19 years old and may not compete in the same discipline twice. The three-day national competition at the end of June included 540 participants representing 33 states.

The Montana 4-H Shooting Sports Project is the second largest project in Montana 4-H with more than 3,000 members.

The goal of the 4-H project is to teach safe handling of firearms and bow equipment while instilling life skills of responsibility, critical thinking, sportsmanship, team building and ethical behavior. For more information about 4-H and the shooting sports project, contact your local county MSU Extension agent. Results of the national competition are as follows:

The Montana 4-H air rifle team took second place behind Kansas. Team members include: Sam Peterson and Darby Peterson of Beaverhead County; Miranda Nelson, Madison Korthas and Lee Nelson (coach), Gallatin County.

The Montana 4-H recurve archery team placed third behind Missouri and Georgia respectively. Team members include: Danny McLain, Lewis and Clark County; Colter Zimmerman, Ravalli County; Levi Pfingsten, Stillwater County; Josh Nye, Madison County; coaches Susan Mitchell, Lewis and Clark County, and Tanya Engle, Madison County.

The Montana 4-H muzzle loading team placed fourth in the target competition. It was the first time a Montana 4-H muzzle loading team placed in the top five in any of the three days of competition. Team members include: Gus Thompson, Truman Thompson and Jim Sykes (coach), Park County; Christian Vestal, Flathead County; and Johnny Parisi, Gallatin County.

Another first for Montana 4-H came from Wesley Mack of Lewis and Clark County. Coached by Kim Mack, Wesley Mack took second in the nation in shotgun trap with a score of 97 of 100 in clay targets.

Other national-level competitors included:

  • Air pistol: Lillian Gribbons and Dundee Gribbons (coach), Lewis and Clark County; small bore rifle, Megan Sweeney, Shawn Sweeney (coach), Carbon County; and Carlie Rembold, Sweet Grass County.
  • Small bore pistol: Rachel Cloninger and Skylar Smith, Flathead County; David McGuffey, Mineral County; Kayla Polillo and Roger Polillo (coach), Park County.
  • Shotgun: Cody Grant, Lake County; Wesley Mack, Shannara McDunn, Rex Chapman and Kim Mack (coach), Lewis and Clark County.
  • Compound archery; Wyatt Merkel, Silver Bow County; Jacob Palmer, Stillwater County; Cody Popelka, Glacier County; Tyler Volkman, Flathead County; Terry Maninger (coach), Gallatin County.

Since the program was created in the 1980s, Montana 4-H teams have won several national championships.

Contact: Todd Kesner, (406) 994-6816 or