These four 4-H members qualified to attend the National 4-H Shooting Sports Contest based on their scores at the 2016 State 4-H Shotgun Shoot held Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill. Pictured, left to right are Trent Finchum, Edgar County; Brandon Batchelder, Logan County; Jacob Maschino, Edgar County; and Brent Alman, Rock Island County. The national contest will be held in June 2017 in Grand Island, Neb.


Elite marksmen compete in State 4-H Shoot

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[October 14, 2016]    LINCOLN - Any better and he would have been perfect.

Jacob Maschino, the youngest competitor at the Illinois 4-H State Shotgun Shoot, missed one shot all day; one shot out of 100, and it came in the very first round. After that, he was perfect.

The 14-year-old 4-H member from Edgar County had stiff competition all day, though.

Second place finisher, Brandon Batchelder from Logan County, scored a 98 out of 100, one shot behind the leader. Batchelder said the misty rain in the morning forced the competitors to concentrate and adjust their shooting to compensate for the weather.

The next three competitors tied for third with each only missing four shots on the day. A 25-round shoot off determined the final placings; Trent Finchum of Edgar County, third; Brent Alman of Rock Island County, fourth; and Darren Hawkins of Grundy County, fifth.

The contest was held Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill.

Each competitor enters the day with an idea of what “a good day” means to them. For the young team from Mason County, they wanted to “hit at least half of what they shot,” said Brayden Leamon and Jamie Wilcoxen. The final count showed both young men beating that goal.

Fellow Mason County member Dalton Powell said he tries not to think about how many targets he will hit. “It’s about having fun and beating what I did last year,” he said.

It’s the same advice one heard his coach, Steve Hilgers, say over and over. As he rounded up his team of 10 competitors for one last pep talk, the words were simple, “Have a vision, and make it happen. Have fun, and support your teammates.”

Hilgers’ advice is the foundation of all 4-H youth development work where young people are encouraged to set goals and work as a team to accomplish those goals, regardless if they’re on the shooting range, on a stage, or in a 4-H community garden.

As a volunteer 4-H shooting sports club leader, Hilgers offers fundamentals needed for youth to improve their target shooting, such as the quiet mantra “Pull – One – Shoot” which reminds the young people to slow down and wait one second after they call for the clay target to be released before they shoot.

Regardless of the hours of practice the competitors put in, each competition brings its own set of variables. On Saturday, the wind and rain were major obstacles. Logan County member Maison Sherman, who finished tied for 17th out of 68 competitors with a score of 88, said it was tough to try to “figure out how the target was moving around.”

The Logan County team was on the hunt of its third straight team championship which it won with a combined score of 374 out of 400 points. In addition to Batchelder and Alcorn, the team included Seth Gleason and Brayden Rohlfs.

For Scott Wheat of Sangamon-Menard counties, the challenge was getting used to the way the machine threw the clay targets in the air. Each machine is different; for Wheat, his answer was to aim high.

Will County 4-H member Nick Morris said his challenge was seeing the clay target against the foggy, overcast sky. The first-year member shot an 86 on the day at his first state meet. Had it not been for Grundy County 4-H member Samantha Bachara, Morris said he would not have joined the shooting sports club. “It’s something you have to experience to really get it,” he said. “You don’t want to do it until you’ve done it.”

Bachara finished just out of the top finishers with a 90. Always up for a challenge, she said her goal is always to “run them” by hitting each and every target thrown.

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Other top finishers on the day included Hayden Hemrich of Richland County, sixth; Naythen Jones of Rock Island County, seventh; Landen Alcorn of Logan County, eighth; Dakota Larimore-Lamb of Piatt County, ninth; and Seth Gleason of Logan County, tenth. The top 10 finishers all scored 93 or above out of 100 possible points.

The top 10 finishers in the 2016 State 4-H Shotgun Shoot held Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill all scored 93 and above out of 100 possible points to claim the top prizes. They include (back, left to right) Jacob Maschino, Edgar County, first; Brandon Batchelder, Logan County, second; Trent Finchum, Edgar County, third; and Brent Alman, Rock Island, fourth; (front) Hayden Hemrich, Richland County, sixth; Landon Alcorn, Logan County, eighth; and Dakota Larimore-Lamb, Piatt County, ninth. Not present for the photo were Darren Hawkins, Grundy County, fifth; Naythen Jones, Rock Island County, seventh; and Seth Gleason, Logan County; tenth.

For the third year in a row, a team from Logan County 4-H won the team division of the State 4-H Shotgun Shoot. The event was held Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill. Pictured, left to right, are Volunteer Leader William Kennett, Brandon Batchelder, Brayden Rohlfs, and Landon Alcorn. The fourth member of the team, Seth Gleason, was not present for the photo.

The top five teams included Logan County, first; Rock Island County, second; Edgar County, third; Fulton County, fourth; and Mason County, fifth.

For 20-year-old Alex Moore, the draw of the shotgun competition is strong. Even though he is past the age of 4-H membership, the Sangamon County alum was on the range supporting the program as a volunteer. More than 850 adults have completed the required 18 hours of certification; many repeating the instruction for more than one of the six areas of involvement.

Illinois’ national 4-H shooting sports team will be determined from results of this competition. Support for the national team is provided by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

[Amy L. Hyde, Ag in the Classroom
Program Coordinator 4-H Youth Development & Master Gardeners
Logan County University of Illinois Extension]



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