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Illinois 4-H State Shoot hits target with 100 competitors

Any better, and he'd been perfect. Darren Hawkins of Grundy County missed only one clay target throughout a full day of shotgun trap competition at the Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports State Shoot held Saturday, May 31 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill. Hawkins hit 74 of his 75 targets to take first place in the shotgun division. The competition was the first state contest held since the shooting sports program began in Illinois in 2009. Dan Dawson, state Extension educator, said the meet followed the strict guidelines established by the National 4-H Shooting Sports program. Shooting sports is one of the fastest growing project areas for Illinois 4-H and includes small bore rifle, air rifle, shotgun, compound bow archery, and recurve bow archery. More than 100 youth and 75 volunteers participated in the all-day event.

"Success in shooting sports is 90 percent mental discipline," said Don Wulf, one of the state's nationally-certified rifle instructors and range master for the contest. "You have to forget what you just did and think of every shot as your first shot of the day."

"I just think learning to handle a gun is something everyone should know how to do," said Cally Diss, a 14-year-old 4-H member from LaSalle County who has been in the program for two years. In addition to rifle, Diss competes in archery and shows poultry and cows in her local 4-H program. 

Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.