May 17, 2017
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
After battling springtime elements and heavy wind during the first two regionals, plus being lightly rained on for 20 minutes last Friday for the junior division in the South Regional, the weather finally cleared up nicely for the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program’s regional competition Saturday at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex in Jacksonville.
The wind had died down to a light breeze for most of Saturday’s senior division of the South Region and the sun shined brightly after a huge storm blew through following Friday’s junior competition. Occasional gusts may have hampered a few shots, but the three top finishers in the senior division had strong performances throughout their lineups. Crossett’s Eagle Eyes No. 1 team edged the Magnolia Cat Squirrels by one target, 235-234, to take the South Region title. The Bulldog Trap Team Trap Daddies of White Hall were just three targets behind, scoring 232.
Three of Crossett’s shooters hit 48 of 50 targets: Chance Martin, Bryce Young and Tyler White. White Hall’s team pulled off the same feat with Garrett Green, Buck Horton and Michael Kalkbrenner each missing just two of 50 birds. Magnolia had two shooters, Jesse Snider and John Sanders, connected on all but two traps, and two others hits 47 of 50.
Those three teams and 13 others advanced out of a field of 144 teams, the largest regional to date, to compete in the state senior finals June 3 at Jacksonville. In the finals, teams will be seeded 1 through 64 (16 teams qualify from each of four regions) and will be pitted in one-on-one team matches, with the winning team needing to win six matches, 250 traps per match, for the championship.
Chuck Woodson, the AYSSP director, said of the wind that had hampered shooting the first two weekends, “It picked up in a few gusts at times today, but most of them shot their way through it OK.”
In the junior division, in which competitors fire at 25 traps each and the maximum team score is 125, the Hamburg Lions No. 1 slipped past the Texarkana Razorback Trap Team Red in a “card-off” after both teams totaled 110 traps. Jaylon Johnson of Hamburg and Jagger East of Texarkana Red had perfect 25-for-25 rounds, so the tie-breaker then went to the second-best shooters between those teams, and Kaleb Nichols’ 24 of 25 bested any Texarkana score to put Hamburg on top.
Ashdown Shooting Sports Jr. Team No. 1 was a mere one trap behind at 109 for third. Those three teams and 13 others from Friday’s competition of 119 South Region teams will return Friday, June 2, for the junior division state finals. Like the senior division, the teams will compete one-on-one through six rounds before a champion is determined.
While no one managed a perfect score in Saturday’s competition, five other juniors joined Hamburg Lions No. 1’s Johnson and Texarkana Red’s East in posting perfect 25-for-25 scores Friday: Thomas Roland, Mt. Ida FFA Angry Birds; Dawson Ladd, Hamburg Lions No. 2; Jacob Word, Fouke Jr. No. 2; Darby Sawyer, Texarkana Razorback Trap White; and Parker Bennett, Texarkana Razorback Trap Blue.
Regional competition wraps up May 19-20 with the East Region. Junior division (grades 6-8) compete on Friday and the senior division (grades 9-12) shoot Saturday. Action begins at 9 a.m. both days.
The following teams have qualified for state finals out of the South Region, and finished in this order in regional competition:
Crossett Eagle Eyes No. 1
Magnolia Cat Squirrels
Bulldog Trap Team Trap Daddies (White Hall)
Ashdown Shooting Sports Sr. No. 1
Smackover Shooting Sports Sr. No. 1
SWARK Shooting Sports Death Punch
Mt. Ida FFA Bad Company
Stuttgart Ricebird Dusters
Texarkana Razorback Dusters
DeWitt Trap Club Dusters
Lakeside Angry Birds Black Birds
Ashdown Shooting Sport Senior No. 2
Indians No. 1
Hampton High School A Team
Spring Hill Bears Sr. No. 1
Hamburg Lions No. 1
Texarkana Razorback Trap Team Red
Ashdown Shooting Sports Team No. 1
Texarkana Razorback Trap Team White
Fouke No. 1
Bradley County Skeet Busters No. 1
Smackover Shooting Sports No. 1
Mt. Ida FFA Angry Birds
Hamburg Lions No. 2
Fouke No. 2
Scrapper Trap Clay Crushers
Stuttgart Youth Shooting Sports Ricebird No. 1
Texarkana Razorback Trap Team Blue
Bulldog Trap Team Junk Yard Dogs (White Hall)