Whenever I was little, I admired the people who got in the Guinness World Records book. Every time a new one would come out for the year, it was a race to see who could get to the elementary school library first, to get the coveted book and see all the latest oddities and champions of the year.
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As a child, I had nobody to look up to. I’ve always loved to read, so I would spend hours with my nose in a book full of conquerors and not-so-likely heroes. I would always imagine myself in their positions, but although I dreamed big, I would always feel disappointed. I didn’t feel I could ever live up to be like all these amazing people.
So … whenever I achieved a World Record, my child-self emerged.
Ever since I heard about the Guinness World Record that CZ-USA wanted to break, I wanted so bad to be on the team. The world record they were wanting to break was the most clay targets broken in 12 hours, by a team. To get on the team, you had to earn your way there. First, you had to attend 1 of 2 events and shoot a 50-target qualifying round. The 2 events included the AIM Grands (July 26 to 31, 2019) or the SCTP Nationals (July 13 to 20, 2019). I attended the SCTP Nationals this year. I was so nervous. I have never been this nervous for any event I’ve ever competed in.
For the second part of the qualifier, you had to write an essay to be looked over by a team of judges at CZ-USA and graded by a number out of 50. Whoever got the best combination of both scores got a place on the world record team. They chose a girl and a guy from each program, and with CZ-USA’s Shotgun manager David Miller, they had their team of 5.
After a few weeks of waiting, CZ-USA announced the team: Levi Henrichs from Sibley, Iowa; Jessica Strasser, from Waterford, Wisconsin; Weston Zolck from Herman, Nebraska; and me – Makayala Scott from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
When I found out that I had made the team, I jumped up and down screaming. But, I knew a vigorous training schedule lay ahead of me.
I started my training the very next day. I started by running, doing sit ups, jumping jacks and anything to strengthen myself. The most rigorous training for me came with my gun lifts. I used my gun as you would use a barbell and brought it up, down, up, down, for what seemed like hours on end. I made sure everything I was doing was getting me improvement. Even the gun I lifted with, compared to the gun we used in the world record attempt, was helping me improve. The world record attempt gun, the brand-new CZ 1012, weighed 6.5 pounds, and my own gun I was lifting, the CZ All-American, weighed 8.5 pounds. I was super attentive to each of my workouts and made sure I got the most out of every single one.
After about 1-1/2-months of waiting, it came time. We left a few days before the Oct. 12, to get settled in and to have time for interviews and pictures. When we left our West Virginia home, I could hardly wait.
Once my father and I arrived on October 9, in the Lenexa, Kansas, area, there were already so many writers and sponsors there to greet us. I also finally got to meet my awesome boss here at The WON, Barbara Baird, for the first time ever. I also met my incredible teammates from across the U.S.
On October 10, we focused on meeting the sponsors and a bit of practice with our new CZ 1012s. It was so amazing getting to meet so many new people and getting to see old friends, too. It was great to meet so many people and companies that support the youth in shooting sports. I personally tried my best to talk to every person there, and by the end of the night I was nicknamed “The Energizer Bunny.”
On October 11, we focused on interviews, photos and a bit more practice. I fell in love with my guns immediately. CZ-USA supplied us with our guns before we got to the event, and I loved every single one of them. My team and I each got 6; guns in green, gold, dark blue, bronze and black. CZ-USA also ordered custom-made, moveable stands for us.
The interviews were fun, too. I admit, it is a bit strange to have people asking you so many questions, taking videos and so many photos. But it’s so fun to interact with many important people in the shooting sports industry. I felt extremely fortunate to get to meet these people. I even met lifelong friends during this awesome event, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
It also was great to get to meet the people behind the scenes of this amazing event. We had so many sponsors, including CZ-USA, Aguila Ammunition, MEC Machines, Powder Creek Shooting Park, White Flyer Targets, Wild Hare Shooting Gear, Scholastic Clay Target Program, Amateur Trapshooting Association and Risher Fitness Equipment.
The next morning, October 12, was the day. I felt so ready to start shooting. I felt nervous. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about anything in my entire life. So many thoughts ran through my head, such as, “Just imagine, Makayla, how many people you can reach out to through this. You can give so many people so much hope.”
Before I went into my stand, my dad, Telford Scott, reassured me I could do it. He reassured me I could do anything … and that I was doing something truly amazing. And with that, we started the long day. We all started exactly at 10:12 a.m., and would shoot for 12 hours with breaks. Everybody was there – friends and family of the shooters, tons of writers, interviewers, and photographers and 2 Guinness World Record adjudicators.
After only 4 hours of shooting, we broke the record. It was an amazing feeling. I felt I had finally achieved a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl – to be something. I wanted somehow, some way, to reach out to kids like me in that situation and show those kids you can be so much. I felt like I had finally reached the top of the mountain. But it wasn’t over yet. We still had 8 hours left to set our record. I felt we could go above and beyond.
Throughout the day, even though with so many clays and so many shots being fired, we had no problems. The guns, machines and the shooters never stopped, except for sanctioned quick breaks. Of the 6 different CZ 1012s, I rotated through 3 – but, not because I had any problems. I rotated because I wanted to try the pretty colors. My teammate, Wes, didn’t even switch guns throughout the entire 12 hours. The 10 Mec Machines never faltered. We all shot more than 20,000 Aguila Shotshells, of which never even misfired. Everything was so well planned so that we had absolutely no worries, and we all performed as diligently as possible.
Everything went perfectly, and we ended with an astonishing 14,167 clays broken. Never would I ever thought we could reach such an amazing goal. In the end, I learned something about myself I would’ve never learned any other way: Just because you aren’t like “everyone else,” just because you don’t fit in, does not mean you will never be happy or successful. The key to success doesn’t come automatically. It isn’t achieved by being the best or by being popular, and it isn’t just given to you. Once you find something you are passionate about, something that truly drives you, darling, you’ve found your key, or as I call it, “my glass slipper.” When I was that little hopeful girl, little did I know my glass slipper was a shotgun.
In fact, you don’t always need a glass slipper to make your dreams come true. You can make your glass slipper. Have hope. Follow your heart. And most of all, work hard.
Makayla Scott is a 16-year-old shotgun enthusiast from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and a brand ambassador for CZ-USA. View all posts by Makayla Scott