May 23, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
JACKSONVILLE – The final senior regional tournament of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program featured some amazing performances – five shooters had perfect, 50-for-50 days, while 10 others missed out on a perfect score by a single trap. And, if a team was to contend for top honors and a trophy Saturday, May 19, at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex, it had to have a perfect shooter among its five competitors.
Chase Martin of the Bald Knob Bulldogs Trap Team White squad led the way with a perfect day as the White team outdistance not only its fellow Bald Knob teammates, the Red squad, but also the Cave City Sharpshooters Duck Commanders. Bald Knob White totaled 241 points to overcome Cave City’s 234 total and the 233 targets hit by the Bald Knob Red. The 241 targets hit among five shooters by Bald Knob White equaled the high score recorded during four weeks of regional competition – Texarkana Arkansas Razorback Trap Team Red won the South Region on May 5 with a 241 as well.
Other senior regional winners were the Booneville Bearcats Trap Team 1 (West Region, 239 total) and Greene County 4-H Team 2 (East Region, 240 total). The four regional winners gain top seeds for the AYSSP State Championship set for June 2 here. While regional competition only required 50 shots by each individual, the State Tournament brings the teams together in a seeded bracket format with head-to-head matches. The title-winning team must win six matches in one day.
Martin’s perfect shooting was backed up by his accurate teammates in giving Bald Knob White the regional crown. Parker Hepner, Paige Hanna and Evan Martin each were 48-for-50 and Hunter Throckmorton was 47-for-50. Meanwhile, Bald Knob’s Red squad needed Chandler McAnelly’s 50-for-50 shooting to take third place in a card-off over Pioneer National Trap Team Orange, whose best scorer turned in a 49. And Dylan Kirk had a perfect 50 to pace the second-place Cave City Duck Commanders.
Amazingly, one team had two perfect shooters but still failed to make the top 10 Saturday. John Colbert and Justin Hicks doubled up with perfect 50-for-50 days for the Calico Rock Pirates Pride to round out the five perfect shooters advancing to determine the Champion of Champions on June 2 following the team competition.
Still, Pirates Pride was inside the Top 16 with a 223 total. The top 16 finishers in Saturday’s competition, which drew 119 teams, advance to the June 2 State Championship.
Saturday’s win for the Bald Knob Bulldogs Trap Team concluding a dominating weekend for the program. The Bald Knob Junior Team 3 hit 114 of 125 shots and won the junior division on Friday by a whopping 10 points. The Beebe Blasters Little Mavericks took second at 104, carding off Highland Trap Shooters Team 1. The tie-breaker went to the third shooters’ scores to decide that matchup.
For the first weekend in junior competition, no shooter had a perfect 25-for-25.
The top 16 teams from the North junior region move on to AYSSP State Championship competition here Friday, June 1.