Owen Dye, Mason County 4-H Shotgun member, celebrated his 5th place win at the Illinois 4-H Shotgun Competition, after competing in a tie-breaker round with Fulton County 4-H Shotgun member Carson Stuckel. Photo by Jamie Boas, Illinois Extension

HAVANA, Ill - Over 90 Illinois youth gathered at statewide competitions this fall to exhibit their skill mastery in shooting sports. In addition to skill levels, the competitions focus on building teamwork abilities, camaraderie, and of course fun.

Locally, 10 youth participated from the Fulton 4-H Shooting Sports club, Mason 4-H Shooting Sports club and Peoria 4-H Shooting Sport club with five individual top scores and two team top rankings.

“Owen Dye of Mason County and Carson Stuckel of Fulton County faced off in a tie-breaker round for Shotgun,” explained Joli Pierson, Mason County 4-H program coordinator. “Owen was excited to win the tie-breaker and get 5th place. It was fun to have two of our 4-H members from the unit facing off for top honors. We have very strong shooting sports programs in our counties.”

The Fulton County Shotgun six-member team placed 3rd overall with a score of 266 out of 300 possible hits. In addition to Carson’s 6th place win with a score of 91, Jacob Yaste placed 7th with a score of 90.

The archery competition included Alexa Salverson from Peoria County competing in compound bow and siblings Ben and Eve Snider competing in recurve. Alexa finished 2nd and Ben and Eve took 1st and 2nd places, as well as earned a 2nd place team award. This trio have been invited to begin training for competition at the June National 4-H Shooting Sports competition.

“I know at first it appears odd to have competitions at the start of the program year, but these teens have been mastering their skills for a long time,” says Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H shooting sports state coordinator. “This system gives us a chance to choose our National 4-H teams now as they need to be prepared to shoot against the best of the best from other states in June.”

Youth were excited to be back in person after a year of virtual competition. “It was great to finally be back to the state shoot in person,” says Derek Sample of Franklin County, this year’s state shotgun champion. “I loved getting the chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones at the same time. I could not have asked for a better shoot to be my last with this program.” 

While numbers were a little lower than they have been in the past, the spirit and skill level of the competitors remained mighty.

“There is no denying the pandemic has reduced the amount of participants that were able to meet and practice with their 4-H clubs” says Sinclair. “However, the youth that did stick to it have honed their skills to a level I’ve not seen before.”   

“It was clear that the skill level present was equal to if not greater than it had been before,” echoes Derek. “I definitely looking forward to seeing how much the program grows in the future.”

Top finishers in each discipline will begin training for competition at the June National 4-H Shooting Sports competition.

Top finishers in Small Bore Rifle include: Gloria Bremer, Madison County, first; Braden May, Massac County, second; Benaiah Bremer, Madison County, third.

Top finishers in Air Pistol include: Maurice Quiram, McLean County, first; Collin Haney, Woodford County, second; Brandon Wood, McLean County, third. 

Top finishers in Air Rifle include: Morgan Drosz, DeWitt County, first; Rebecca Perkins, McHenry County, second; Page Martin, McLean County, third.

In Small Bore Pistol, the top places went to: Maurice Quiram, McLean County, first; Morgan Drozs, DeWitt County, second; Justin Pierard, McLean County, third.

Top finishers in Shotgun include: Derek Sample, Franklin County, first; Zachary Skurat, Franklin County, second; JB Bremer, Madison County, third. Top scores by county include: Franklin County, first; Madison County, second; Fulton County, third.

In Compound Archery, the top places went to:  Jacob Nusz, Stark County, first;  Alexa Salverson, Peoria County, second; Ian Sundberg, LaSalle County, third. Top scores by county include: LaSalle County, first; Montgomery County, second; Stark County, third.

In Recurve Archery, the top places went to: Ben Snider, Mason County, first; Eve Snider, Mason County, second; Michelle Wang, Jackson County, third. Top scores by county include:  McHenry County, first; Mason County, second; Jackson County, third.

To learn more about Shooting Sports programming with Illinois 4-H, please visit the Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports website or contact your local Extension office.

SOURCECurt Sinclair, 4-H Shooting Sports and Environmental Ed Specialist, sinclair@illinois.edu
Krista Gray, Fulton 4-H program coordinatorJoli Pierson,
Mason 4-H program coordinator
WRITER:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office, carissa7@illinois.edu

ABOUT ILLINOIS 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

ABOUT EXTENSION:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.