May 12, 2021
Jeff Williams Editor, Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
JACKSONVILLE – Highland Trap Shooters’ Senior 1 squad withstood steady winds to score 234 points and take first place Saturday in the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program’s North Region senior division competition at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Jacksonville Shooting Sports Complex.
The morning’s cool breeze from the east and southeast gradually shifted and became something between a zephyr and a gale from the south, causing clays to sometimes sail or to drastically drop. Some shooters wisely paused for a brief decrease in wind speed before yelling “pull.” They also had to deal with bright skies and warm temperatures.
The top 16 squads in each of four regions across the state are eligible for the AYSSP Senior State Tournament to be held June 5, also at the Jacksonville range.
Bomb Squad of Mountain Home finished second with 230 points (of a possible 250), followed by Squad No. 1 of Bergman with 227. Last week, Harrisburg won the East Region senior tournament, hitting 246 out of 250 clays.
In individual standings, two shooters fired perfect scores of 50: Christian Hill of Bomb Squad and Isaac Gregory of Highland’s Senior 1 squad. Three scores of 49 were recorded: Anthony Garrett Dixon of Bergman’s Squad No. 1, Darren Terry of Pioneer Holler Boys and Joseph Demers of Bomb Squad.
Fifteen competitors shot 48, and 13 shot 47. Hill and Gregory, with their perfect days, qualified for the Champion of Champions shootoff, to be held immediately following the Senior State Tournament June 5.
Bald Knob’s Junior 1 squad blasted its way to the top spot Friday during the junior division north regional. They hit 110 of a possible 125 clay targets (the same total as East Region winner Corning totaled last week). Pioneer Holler Boys of Batesville won a tie-breaker over Orange Crush of Harrison for second place with 104 points. Friday’s only perfect round of 25 came from Bricen Carter of Nothin’ But Dust.
Bald Knob’s 110 points were bolstered by three shooters who finished with outstanding scores. Austin Anselmi, Cooper Busselle and Michael McCarty each shot 24 – one clay shy of perfect – while teammate Michael Freppon hit 23.
Other competitors who hit 24 of 25 clays were Aiden Garner of Cross Trail Outfitters Junior 2, Cody Kuykendall of South Side Junior 1, Mason Hill of Junior Bomb Squad, R.J. McClelland of Daredevil Junior Squad 3 of Wonderview and Wyatt Drennan of Junior Maroon.
Saturday’s competition concluded the second weekend of regional shooting. The East Region Tournament was April 30-May 1, the West Region Tournament will be May 14-15 and South Region teams will shoot May 21-22. Junior division competition (grades 6-8) is held Fridays; senior division competition (grades 9-12) is held Saturdays.
The state championship will be held at the Jacksonville range June 4 and 5. Juniors will shoot June 4, and Senior Division shooters will take their places June 5.
The final rounds of the state championship and third-place match, as well as the Champion of Champions shootoff to follow, will be carried June 4 and 5 on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission YouTube channel with Trey Reid, host of “Arkansas Wildlife,” handling the “clay-by-clay” commentary.
To see all scores from the tournaments, visit https://apps.agfc.com/ayssp.