August is National Shooting Sports Month. This month I’ll be focusing on introducing people, especially women and youth, to shooting sports.
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Be sure to take the time to introduce someone new to shooting sports this month. I was introduced to shotgun 3 years ago and it absolutely changed my life. I would’ve never guessed 1 broken clay could’ve changed my future.
On the first week of August, I – along with teens from 30 other states – took a trip to Texas A&M University to learn how to become Teen 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassadors. I am one of West Virginia’s first shooting sports ambassadors. Throughout the trip, we learned etiquette, the important skills to become a successful leader and public speaking. During the public speaking course, our group shared our stories of how we got into shooting sports. Although each of us had differences in our stories, we each had at least 1 thing in common: our driving force, from the very beginning. For some, it was their friends, peers, or coaches. For others, it was their family members. One young man’s driving force was his grandfather, who had bought him his first rifle and thought him to shoot. One girl made it her sole reason to inspire physically challenged people in shooting sports, being challenged herself. My personal driving force is my father, who has believed in me even before I discovered shooting sports. This meaning and dedication to shooting sports is not only limited to 1 discipline or even 1 age. These young men and women are truly our future in a changing world. It’s our job to be the next generation to take these amazing sports to the next generation.
For every youth, each discipline means a lot to them in some way. Some kids favor Air Rifle over Shotgun because of the focus and quiet it requires to shoot, apart from shotgun, where it requires both focus and physical strength. Some women love shooting tactical competitions instead of archery, because of the self-protection methods it teaches, or just for the fun of it.
Every discipline is not without competition. When you’re competing in shotgun, every different shotgun discipline has a different level system that you can constantly improve in and dozens of different organizations you can join, such as the NSCA or USA Shooting, depending on what you like to shoot. In archery, you have a number of different types of targets, from the regular bullseye targets to realistic 3-dimensional (3D) targets. In most rifle competitions, you have 3 positions: prone, kneeling and standing. There are also disciplines in all shooting sports that can be shot in the Olympics. I’ve competed in several Olympic (or Bunker) trap events in my life, and they require so much more mental focus and physical strength than many other shotgun disciplines. Every discipline has many different levels and ways you can get involved. In shooting sports, nobody is ever stuck sitting on the bench. Everybody gets a fair chance at competing.
To celebrate National Shooting Sports month, we took our 4-H club, the Greenbrier County 4-H Shotgun Club, to Lexington, Virginia, to Quail Ridge Sporting Club to shoot sporting clays. Some of our kids had never even shot in a competition before, and we all had so much fun.
I hope whoever reads this article helps someone to experience the wonderful opportunities shooting sports have to offer. It’s truly a wonderful sport and has changed my life for the good forever.
Makayla Scott is a 15-year-old shotgun enthusiast from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and a brand ambassador for CZ-USA. View all posts by Makayla Scott