June 30, 2011

Shooting Sports to Take Aim at Fair

By Hannah Kiddoo

A collaboration of FFA and 4-H teams will bring a rifle and trap shooting competition to the fair Thursday, July 7.

According to 4-H rifle instructor Sarah McSparren, shooting sports is the number one 4-H project in Missouri, with the most kids enrolled and beating out beef, swine, photography and woodworking activities. She explained that this is the first year a shooting event has been hosted by the 4-H and FFA groups at the fair.

Through its shooting sports program, Missouri 4-H aims to promote safe and ethical use of firearms while enhancing the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of youth.

The program was also created for the purpose of having fun. Missouri 4-H officials note that hunting and shooting are American traditions and include the involvement of the total family. Shooting sports, they say, promote that tradition and allow for social activity between youth and coaches.

Competitors are grouped by age and performance level. During rifle competition, contestants shoot at both paper targets and silhouettes and are scored according to rings around a bull's-eye and how many silhouette boards are knocked down, respectively. Trap shooting is scored by hit or miss and lasts two rounds.

FFA and 4-H members will be participating in the competition after diligent practicing.

"4-Her's start with classroom work in April and then begin shooting on the range in May. They keep practicing right up to the State 4-H shoot in September," said McSparren. FFA members are joining the contest fresh from state competition in May where they placed 7th and 12th out of 40 teams.

McSparren said that many participants will also have display posters, notebooks and targets in the art hall that exhibit the shooting sports project.

"This is an event the kids would like to share with the community and they encourage anyone who might be interested to come and check out it out," stated McSparren. Competition begins at 2 p.m. on the southwest corner of the fairgrounds.

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