June 3, 2023
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
JACKSONVILLE — The Five Rivers Trap Club team from Pocahontas worked their way through a grueling competition in today’s heat at today’s senior division state championship event of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Shooting Sports Program at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Jacksonville Shooting Sports Complex.
Five Rivers head coach, Jeff Dalton was not able to attend the championship meet, as his duties as a Sergeant for the AGFC’s Enforcement Division required him to patrol the water in his region to promote safe boating and compliance with fishing regulations during the first weekend of summer vacation for many schools.
The team may have felt the pressure of not having their head coach during their opening round, where they posted 115 out of a possible 125 clay targets hit. That was enough, however, to scratch out a win against the Magnolia Panthers White Team in the opening round. It would be the lowest score they would post for the entire day of competition as well.
Five Rivers continued through their bracket, outshooting the Westside Warriors White Squad from Jonesboro, Corning Trap Team and Harrisburg on their way to their final round matchup against Lamar.
Five Rivers’ final round score of 120 broken clay targets was anchored by a perfect round of 25 by senior Jonathon Bailey. Team captain Jayden Dalton Brayden Tarantino and Hannah Sullivan all posted scores of 24, followed by Gunner Williams who shot an impressive 23 out of 24 clay targets to finish the year.
Desirae Bailey, who helped fill the head coach role for Five Rivers during the day’s competition, both said the team had worked extremely hard this year, thanks to the addition of the new shooting range developed at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.
“We practiced a lot more this year with the new range that was available, Bailey said. “We started back in January when we got our paperwork in and tried to get as many practices in as possible before regional competition.”
The championship meet was the culmination of this year’s program competition, which began in April with nearly 5,400 boys and girls statewide signed up to compete. Teams of five shot rounds of trap at four regional events to determine the best 16 squads from each region of the state in both the Junior Division (fifth-eighth grade) and the Senior Division (ninth-12th grade).
The top three teams each received scholarship money for their shooters headed to college. Five Rivers received $7,500, Lamar took home $5,000 and Harrisburg earned $2,500 derived through the AGFC’s Conservation License Plate sales.
Seth Smith of Corning received $2,500 in college scholarship money after beating Reed Proctor of Foreman and Konnor Fulbright of Batesville in today’s Champion of Champions shoot. Each participant had shot perfect scores of 50 broken clay targets during their respective regional qualifier. Each took turns shooting at single targets with a miss meaning elimination. After 11 rounds, Smith remained the only perfect shooter left in the event. The $2,500 for the Champion of Champions scholarship is derived from a $100,000 endowment set up by Dr. Doyne and Nancy Williams of Little Rock.
Visit the AGFC’s Facebook Page for a live stream broadcast of today’s final round and the Champion of Champions shootout.
Youth Shooting Sports is an AGFC program that began in 2007 to increase conservation education, firearms safety and participation in shooting sports, which help fund vital conservation efforts through the sales of firearms and ammunition throughout the United States. Events include regional and state tournaments held annually from April through June. Funding for the program is made possible with the help of grant funds through the Wildlife Restoration Program.
Complete team and individual scores are available at https://apps.agfc.com/ayssp.