They did it! We’ve mentioned the CZ-USA Guinness World Record attempt since June, when they first made the announcement. David Miller, the Shotgun Product and Special Event Manager for CZ-USA, wanted to elevate youth from both the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and A.I.M. by choosing his team from their national events.
Sponsored by CZ-USA Field Sports
Leading up to the event, the media had a chance to meet with the shooters and spend time with them on the range. Words can’t convey how amazing these kids are; however, hopefully through their quotes you will understand their passion and drive for the shotgun sports.
Levi Henrichs of Sibley, Iowa, spent his summer working construction to pay for his love of the sport. When not working, he spends his time practicing his shotgun skills. He works hard because as he mentioned, “You have to want it, no one is going to give it to you. You have to want it 100%.” It’s quite obvious his hard work is paying off.
Makayla Scott, a teen columnist at The WON, lives in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. She said, “That first broken clay changed my life,” reffering to when her father and older brother introduced her to the shotgun sports. Her goal is for other kids to find their passion and let them know, “You can reach your dreams through the shooting sports.”
Jessica Strasser of Waterford, Wisconsin, had tried many other sports, but finally found her passion in the shooting sports. She fell in love with the dynamics of competing as an individual and trying to increase her scores each time. She mentioned that in the shooting sports, “Everybody wants to be the best, yet doesn’t want others to fail.” When asked what else she enjoys doing, she said, “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than shooting.”
Weston Zolk, from Herman, Nebraska, gained confidence through the shooting sports. He mentioned, “It’s one sport where you can be competitive without being aggressive like other sports.” Weston watches golf videos to help him with the mental aspect of shooting. He said, “My mind is completely blank when I’m shooting.” Perhaps that’s how he broke 50 out of 50 clays the first and only time he shot the qualifier.
For the event, all team members used CZ-USA 1012 shotguns, which feature a gas-less operating system. Sponsors also stepped up with some very generous donations. Aguila donated more than 20,00 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition for both practice and the event. White Flyer donated the clays that were thrown by 10 MEC Outdoors 400E Chandelle Clay Target Machines. While Wild Hare sent customized jackets, shooting vests and more, The Risher Companies covered the cost of getting the 2 Guinness World Record adjudicators to Kansas from New York. This event also couldn’t have happened without the help of Powder Creek Shooting Park, SCTP, A.I.M and more than 30 volunteers.
For more than 10 months, David Miller and his team worked on planning the Guinness World Record event. From figuring out the exact timing of the clays being thrown (The machines needed 1.5 seconds to recock.) to the amount of time it would take for the entire team to shoot. (On the command of “pull” each shooter was presented with 2 targets, and on report, 2 more clays were thrown. This was repeated all the way down the line. The entire process of throwing 20 clays took about 35 seconds.) The team enjoyed several break times, expertly figured into the grueling schedule of being on the shooting line for so long. Since there are 720-minutes in 12-hours, the team planned on shooting for 530 minutes, which is almost 9 hours. They averaged 35 minutes of shooting with 10-minute breaks in between throughout the day.
Weston fired the first shots at exactly 10:12 am at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa, Kansas. Shooters each had 6 shotguns available at their stand. They were the only ones allowed to touch the guns and the ammunition. Each stand had a secure rest for the guns, a trough for the shot shells and a stool, should any of them need to sit for a bit.
After just a little past 4-hours of shooting, the team broke the original Guinness World Record of 4,602. But that announcement never slowed the team down. They had 8 more hours of shooting to go. Even with the constant wind and rather chilly weather throughout the day, they persevered. With taped fingers and bandaged thumbs, the shooters switched to their weak hand to load the shells, without losing their rhythm. Actually, they shot just as strong during their final hour of shooting.
When the horn blew at 10:12 pm, ending 12 hours of shooting, a roar rang out among the spectators. Fireworks started going off behind the wall, high-fives and hugs happened and huge smiles could be seen from all the shooters’ faces. After a few minutes, an adjudicator announced the final tally: a new Guinness World Record of 14,167 clays broken during the 12-hour period.
The evening before the event, I asked David Miller why he went through all this trouble and why make it a youth team when he could have easily handpicked a team of pro-shotgun shooters. “This Guinness World Record will never go away for these kids, and I’m proud to be part of giving it to them,” he said. “The future of our sport is very well represented … they are the ones that will help me make CZ a household name.”