Some people “cringe” at the thought of young boys and girls handling guns, but not at the 11th Annual Arkansas BB Gun State Championship.
The annual competition was held Feb. 1 in Little Rock, where over 100 youth from across Arkansas competed for top honors and awards.
These youth represent over 15 teams that take gun safety, gun ownership and competitive shooting very seriously.
BB Guns may be considered a toy by some people, but not by these youth.
They apply the same respect, responsibility and knowledge of gun safety that applies to other more powerful firearms.
The competition is taken just as seriously as with any other competitive sport with each youth doing their best to take home top honors from the match.
The BB gun competition is open to any boy or girl under the age of 16 that has a desire to learn about gun safety and competitive shooting.
Youth shoot a “competition grade” BB gun at five meters (16-feet, four and three-fourths inches) at a target whose “bullseye” is the size of a pin point.
Athletes fire 10 shots at four targets utilizing four different shooting positions that include prone, standing, sitting and kneeling.
Each target has a maximum point value of 100 points.
Competitors also take a 50 question safety/responsibility exam which is also worth 100 points. The highest score a competitor can earn is 500 points.
At this event, youth compete for medals and awards valued over $2,500 in awards and prizes.
In the “individual division” Silas Dennett of the Madison County “Bullseye Team,” won first place with an overall score of 479 points.
Michael Haywood and Ellisa Vaughn on the Greene County “Team 1” won second and third place respectfully with a tied score of 468.
Ten Ring/Center shots are used as tie breakers and Michael earned the second-place award with 16 Ten Ring/Center shots whereas Ellisa had 14.
In the “alternates division”, Austin Greene from Greene County, won first place with a score of 454 points.
Ian Fisher also from Greene County won second place with a score of 452 points and Thomas Snider from Madison County, won third place with a score of 417 points.
In the “alumni division,” winners were Caleb Mahan from Madison County, in first place, Justice Mounce from Benton County, in second place and Austin Franklin from Madison County, in third place.
The “individuals” also competed as a member of a five-person team.
Using the same point system but applied as a team, a perfect team score is 2,500 points.
First-place “team” honors went to Greene County “Team 1” with a combined score of 2,270 points.
Team members included Michael Haywood, Ellisa Vaughn, Chace McGrew, Ayden Pollack and Hudson Tritch. Team 1 was coached by Jarrid McGrew.
Second-place “team” honors went to Faulkner County “Blue Team’ with a combined score of 2,252 points.
Team members included Rebekah Faulkner, Luke Ramsey, Kendal Faulkner, Chole Parish and Evan Cox.
Blue Team was coached by Keri Jo Davidson.
Third-place went to Benton County “Ozark Youth Shooting Team 1” with a score of 2,230 points.
Team members included Caroline Epperson, Weston Stewart, Shannon Graham, Ramsey Puryear and Travis Seals.
Ozark Youth Shooting Team 1 was coached by Richard Puryear.
In addition to first, second and third medals, each individual, alternate and alumni winners were presented with a special commemorative Daisy “Red Ryder” BB Gun that was specially engraved for this championship match.
Each gun was engraved with the competition name, year, shooting division and placement of the award.
The first-, second-, and third-place teams will also received a special invitation to attend the Daisy National BB Gun Championship, which will be held in Rogers in July.
Over 60 teams from across the nation will be invited to this annual event, which is in its 57th year.
Each winning team that attends the national match will receive a $700 travel voucher from Daisy.
The Arkansas BB Gun Championship is a program of the Arkansas BB Air Gun Program.
The ARBB/AGP promotes training and competitive matches for youth in Arkansas.
The BB gun program is open to youth under the age of 16 and uses the competition grade Daisy Model 499 BB Gun.
The air rifle program is open to youth under the age of 18, and utilizes competitive grade “.177 caliber pellet rifles”.
The ARBB/AGP is supported in Arkansas by the Arkansas Friend of NRA, Arkansas Rifle and Pistol Association, and the Arkansas Gun and Cartridge Collectors Club.
According to Gary Jobe, program director, programs such as this prove that “kids and guns do go together when provided the proper teaching, training and opportunities”.
For more information on BB, air rifle, and other youth shooting sports opportunities in Arkansas, contact program director Gary Jobe at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit the Arkansas Rifle and Pistol Association’s website.