May 16, 2018
JACKSONVILLE – Junior Chase Richardson, the youngster among four other seniors making up Greene County 4-H Shooting Sports Team No. 2, had one of six perfect 50-for-50 shooting days on a hot, sunny and breezy Saturday at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex and led his squad to the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program’s East Senior Region championship May 12.
Along with six perfect individuals, the region was packed with outstanding team performances. The 16th and last qualifier from Saturday to move into the June 2 ASSYP State Championship, Pulaski Academy Bruin Gold, had a solid 223-point day, 17 points shy of Greene County 4-H’s winning total of 240, the closest of any region thus far. The top eight teams were separated by 10 targets.
It takes more than one hot shooter to lead a team to a championship, though, and Richardson had plenty of help. Bryce Ratliff missed just one target, while Garret Groves and Callie Newsom missed just two of their 50 shots. Zach Williams contributed a respectable 45 of 50 to round out Greene County 4-H’s winning total. Richardson said it was just his day Saturday in leading the way. "I try not to expect (a perfect score) … I’ve done it before, but not all the time. No one on our team is our No. 1 shooter, it’s all just a combination. It’s a team. We’re not always the top team (among Greene County 4-H’s five teams), but we were today. We were nervous after we posted our score. We’re happy now.”
Second place was decided by a card-off with two teams, Five Rivers Shooting Club Elevenpoint of Pocahontas and the Corning Trap Team Senior Squad Black, both finishing with 235 out of 250 possible points. But because Five Rivers had two perfect shooters, Bradley Baltz and Rhet Baxley, while Corning's best score was a 49, the second-place trophy went to Five Rivers.
Greene County’s Richardson, Five Rivers' Baltz and Baxley, Chance Welch of Jonesboro Westside Red, Coby Hollis of Big Lake Clay Breakers Busted and Dusted and Chandler Conyers of Corning Senior Squad Gold were part of the best day of perfect scoring so far in AYSSP senior regional competition. They will join four other perfect shooters from the West and South regions, and any North qualifiers from this Saturday, in the June 2 Tournament of Champions to determine a Champion of Champions following the 64-team state championship bracket competition.
Greene County 4-H seniors and coaches deferred to their younger teammate, Richardson, to do talking for his team Saturday, saying that they has been participating in the AYSSP for going on five years. They had reached as high as No. 3 in the region tourney, but had never won that level or state, he said. As with many AYSSP programs that don’t have close access to facilities like the AGFF Shooting Sports Complex (Jonesboro is building a shooting sports facility), Richardson says up to 27 4-H shooters from towns such as Paragould and Rector meet two or three times a week at a family farm where the owners allow them to set up trap stands.
Friday’s East Junior Region was won by the Jonesboro Westside Red Trap Team, which won a card-off with Doyle’s Dust Donkeys from Cabot. Both had 113 total points, and Connor Nottingham of Westside and Cabot’s Tyler Parker had both scored perfect 25s. It came down to Mason Buris missing just one shot in 25 for Westside to push it to the win, as Cabot’s best second score was a 23.
Third place in the East juniors was the Jacksonville Youth Shooting Club’s Red squad with 110.
Nottingham and Parker advance to Tournament of Champions round on June 1 here after the junior team state championship is decided.
Complete team and individual scores from all completed regions can be found at apps.agfc.com/ayssp.
The fourth and final region, the North, will be decided this weekend, with the juniors competing Friday and the seniors on Saturday at Jacksonville. There is no admission charge to view the action, which starts at 9 a.m. both days. A 3-D archery station is made available as well as a stocked fishing pond. Food vendors are on hand as well. The complex is at 2800 Graham Road northeast of downtown Jacksonville.