GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – Nearly 700 4-H youth from across the country gathered in Grand Island, Neb., on June 26 to show off their marksmanship skills during a National 4-H Sports and Wildlife Shooting Championship of a week.
Five participants from Beltrami County were selected to represent Minnesota through an application process after competing in the 2021 National Tournament. The team joined 18 others from around the state, making up seven discipline teams from the Minnesota.
“4-H is a youth development program at the University of Minnesota Extension where ages ranging from kindergarten to one year after high school participate in hands-on learning experiences in STEM, citizenship, leadership, science animals, creative arts and much more,” a statement said. “Through 4-H, young people learn essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communication that help them succeed in school, college, in the community and in their career.”
Athletes from 39 states competed in nine disciplines including air pistol, air rifle, .22 pistol, .22 rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery recurve bow, compound archery and wildlife techniques. Each discipline’s competition consisted of three different events during the week-long competition.
To qualify for the national competition, participants had to participate in the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational in the discipline of their choice.
Beltrami County entrant Henry Sewall competed with three other Minnesota youths to make the air rifle team. The three events for the air rifle discipline include three-position silhouette targets and slow-fire targets. Overall, Sewall finished in the top half of all air rifle competitors.
Others included Kaytlin Haiby, Evan Langerak, Dalton Gjovik and Saige Gjovik, who made up the airgun team for Minnesota. The three events for the air pistol discipline include Rapid Fire Targets, Silhouette Targets, and Slow Fire Targets. The team placed first in rapid fire, second in slow fire and third in silhouettes.
Overall, the Minnesota airgun team placed second in the nation for the all-around and the four young airguns finished eight times in the top 10 between the three events.
The 2022 Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational takes place September 9-11 in Alexandria, Minnesota as they hone their skills in practice and look forward to upcoming competition in which they could qualify for the national championship next year.
According to the release, the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program began in the 1980s and has more than 5,000 4-H members and 900 trained adult leaders.
Adults can become Certified Discipline Instructors by attending a weekend workshop and teaching youth in their county. To learn more about the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program, visit extension.umn.edu/projects-and-more/4-h-shooting-sports-project.