4-H shooting sports
Illinois 4-H members competed in National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship in Grand Island, Neb. Illinois teen Ben Snider won reserve champion honors in the recurve bow division of the contest. Photo provided by National 4-H.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – A 16-year-old Mason County 4-H member placed second out of 56 competitors to claim the reserve championship in the recurve archery division of the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship held June 20-25 in Grand Island, Neb. Ben Snider, a seven-year member of the Mason County 4-H Shooting Sports Club, was also selected as the Illinois 4-H team MVP.

Thirty-two states sent 600 youth to the national event, an increase over pre-pandemic attendance. Although in-person events were stalled for much of the year, Illinois youth spent much of the past year practicing and keeping their skills sharp for just this moment.

“These young adults kept focus on mastering their skills throughout the pandemic,” says Curt SinclairUniversity of Illinois Extension 4-H shooting sports specialist. “They kept the faith that they’d get a chance to showcase their skills at this national event, even practicing without their coaches for much of that time.”

Each discipline faced three different days of competition with three different types of shooting, earning individual and team awards. 

“The entire Illinois team is a shining example of what type of personal confidence and self-worth can come from taking one’s passion from a spark to mastery through the 4-H shooting sports program,” says Sinclair.

Michael Perkins of McHenry County placing 25th in recurve archery. 

In the small bore rifle contest, the Illinois team of Morgan Drozs, Dewitt County; Grace Shepard, Will County; Winnie Quiram, McLean County; and Marissa Hughes, McLean County, finished third out of 21 teams in three-position competition. Individually, Morgan placed 36th, Grace 54th, Winnie 59th, and Marissa 60th out of 80 competitors.

The five members of the shotgun team nabbed a top-10 ranking out of the 27 teams present. Of the 108 participants in shotgun, JB Bremer, Madison County, placed 39th; Zachary Skurat, Franklin County, placed 44th; Cole Haynes, LaSalle County, placed 45th; and Derek Sample, Franklin County, placed 57th.

“The Illinois Shotgun team finished 10th in the nation and were consistent performers,” says Sinclair. The small bore team excelled in one of the most difficult competitions of the week, the three-position shoot, and finished third as a team that day.

"So many stories, but the most important is the experience knowing this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them,” Sinclair says.

Two members represented Illinois 4-H in air pistol, with Justin Pierard of McLean County placing 26th out of 54 competitors overall and teammate Collin Haney of Woodford County placing 28th.

“Justin had an incredible day in the slow fire competition of air pistol finishing fifth out of 54 shooters that day,” says Sinclair.

Out of 66 participants in air rifle, the Illinois team had solid middle finishes with Braden May of Massac County placing 31st and Gloria Bremer of Madison County placing 36th.

Youth interested in learning more about Illinois 4-H’s shooting sports programming should contact their local Extension Office.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation and Illinois Farm Bureau provides support for the Illinois 4-H shooting sports program.

SOURCE: Curt Sinclair, Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator, sinclair@illinois.edu
WRITERCarissa 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.