May 30, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
JACKSONVILLE – Four teams in the senior division of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program regional tournaments established themselves as solid front-runners for Saturday’s State Championship round. Texarkana Arkansas Razorback Trap Team Red, Bald Knob Bulldog White and the Booneville Bearcats Team 1 each won its respective region by at least eight targets, and Greene County 4-H Team No. 2 outlasted a very strong East Regional by 5 targets over its nearest competitors.
Yet, those teams will know going in Saturday that a solid one-day regional showing with 50 targets per shooter as the goal is far different than the head-to-head, tournament bracket competition that awaits in the State Championship. And, those teams that came close but lost out in the regionals know that solid focus over six head-to-head matches on Saturday can result in the ultimate trophy declaring themselves the best in the state. Even the teams that barely qualified for one of the 64 spots in the state round have a chance for a day they won’t forget June 2 at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex.
Texarkana, with the highest score among all the finalists (241 of 250 targets), and Bald Knob, Booneville and Greene County 4-H (each scoring 240 in their regionals) earned the top four seeds in the 64-team field. The seniors follow Friday’s opening action in the Junior State Championship at the complex, also comprised of 64 teams that qualified through four weeks of regional action.
In head-to-head matchups, the No. 1 seed meets No. 64, No. 2 faces No. 63 and so on in 25-target matches. Winners move on in the bracket until one squad has taken all six matches. Lose and you go home. One caveat: While these matches are head-to-head on the bracket, they aren’t necessarily head-to-head in knowing how one team might be shooting versus the other until the final shotgun is fired. For instance, competing teams will be assigned to different trap stands in different areas of the complex. No doubt there will be some texting going on between fans, family and coaches who will be tracking the action.
Admission to the State Championships is free. Food and clothing vendors will be on hand, and the Family and Community Fishing Program has a stocked pond on-site for competitors and families to fish between matches. There is also a 3-D archery range. The AGFF Shooting Sports Complex is northeast of downtown Jacksonville on Graham Road.
The top four seeds in the Junior division are Russellville Clay Commanders (West), Nashville Team 1 (South), Jonesboro Westside Red (East) and Bald Knob Team 3 (North).
Following the team events each day, perfect shooters from the regional events will meet to determine a Champion of Champions in junior and senior divisions. Perfect scores from juniors were turned in by Elijah Thorne, Clay Blasters; Ethan Simmons, Orange Busters; Botey Teter, Berryville Puff Daddies; Jarrett Woolery, Shiloh Christian Wildcat Trap 1; Tanner Harris of Nashville Team 1; Tyler Parker of the Dust Donkeys; and Connor Nottingham of Westside Red. Each shooter hit 25 of 25 during their regional competition.
The 15 senior shooters who connected on 50 of 50 shots in regional play and who will compete Saturday are Chase Wiggins, Booneville Bearcats 1; Hunter Depew, Berryville Baby Bandits; Corbin Cooper, Mount Ida FFA Bad Company; Gibson Elam, Texarkana Red; Bradley Baltz and Rhet Baxley, Five Rivers Elevenpoint; Chance Welch, Westside Red; Chase Richardson, Greene County 4-H Team 2; Coby Hollis, Big Lake Clay Breakers Busted and Dusted; Chandler Conyers, Corning Gold; John Colbert and Justin Hicks, Calico Rock Pirates Pride; Chandler McAnelly, Bald Knob Red; Chase Martin, Bald Knob White; and Dylan Kirk, Cave City Duck Commanders.
Tournament action both days begins at 9 a.m. For more information, visit the AYSSP page on www.agfc.com.