LA SALLE COUNTY - More than 3,600 4-H members participated in one of the five 4-H shooting sports disciplines this year. Each fall, the oldest of those members compete in four state contests to determine the state winners and delegates to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition. This year, Cole Haynes, a member of LaSalle County 4-H Shooting Sports, claimed the State 4-H Shotgun Shoot Championship.
The top finishers in the contest have the option to advance to national competition if they have not already attended the national shoot for that discipline, said Curt Sinclair, Extension 4-H shooting sports specialist. Haynes missed only three shots all day to claim the 2019 State Championship, hitting 97 out of 100 targets. The 16-year-old went from an eighth-place finish in 2018 to the top spot by hitting three more targets than he did last year. He continues to progress and involve himself in other competitions by utilizing skills he has acquired.
The 4-H shooting sports project teaches responsible and safe handling of firearms. Members must be involved in a club led by a certified volunteer who has completed the National 4-H Shooting Sports training.
“4-H Shooting Sports Clubs are founded on the principles of positive youth development,” said Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois assistant dean and Illinois Extension 4-H director. “We want our members to feel welcomed in our program, to grow in leadership and independence, and be inspired to be generous in service to others as they master the skills of shooting sports.”
The project teaches responsibility, patience and precision, which are traits that can transfer to other aspects of life. Older members are taught to take time during events to mentor and encourage younger members.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation provides financial support for the national teams.
For more information about this program, contact the Extension’s LaSalle County office at (815) 433-0707.