Six members of the Goliad High School FFA Shotgun Team competed in the TPWD Ag Clays State FFA Shotgun Championship held June 6 to June 8 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.
Those participating included Matthew Kutz, Ashton Perry, RaLeigh Friedrichs, Riley Bohl, Kade Irwin and Cavan Rains.
The competition consisted of two categories, American Trap and Sporting Clays. At this event shooters compete as four-man teams with awards being given for first through fifth place per category.
However, individual awards can be earned for sporting clays champion, trap champion and high overall champion.
Each team is made up of all males, all females or mixed gender shooters.
Goliad FFA competed with an all-male trap team and an all-male sporting clays team consisting of Kutz, Perry, Irwin and Rains. In addition, Kutz, Perry, Friedrichs and Bohl competed as a mixed gender trap team, as well as a mixed gender sporting clays team.
When asked what it meant to her to be able to compete on the state level Friedrichs expressed, “You get to meet a lot of new people and the uniqueness of the sport is awesome!”
Goliad’s All-Male Trap Team earned the distinction of being the state champions. Individually, Kutz came out on top as the state champion in the sporting clays category. He also tied for the state champion high over all for his scores received during the competition.
Kutz has been on the FFA shotgun team since his freshman year. During that time he has helped his teammates bring home several state championships and received numerous individual accolades.
He stated, “Participating at the State FFA event has always meant a lot to me because it’s mainly a team event and I get to shoot with fellow students.
“Going into this shoot my goal was to repeat as state champions and personally to lead my team.”
Kutz will not be retiring his gun anytime soon. He recently signed with Schreiner University in Kerrville after earning a scholarship to be on the school’s shotgun team.
The team is coached by GHS Ag teacher, Nathan Hammack. He said, “ This is my first year being coach for this team and I have enjoyed every second of it. To see these students compete at such a high level and succeed is just a wonderful thing to watch.
“It’s always amazing to see students compete in something they’re passionate about, and it’s amazing to see the growth and pride that they have while doing it.
“It has been an honor to help these young men and women and I’m looking forward to growing this team and continuing our tradition of success.
To qualify to be a member of the shotgun team a student must be a member, in good standing, of the FFA who has taken the Wildlife Ecology course. The course is offered through the ag department and includes a hunter education certificate.
The entry fees for shoots are paid by Midway Foundation grants. The Midway account is funded through awards won by past GHS FFA shooters who placed at the state Ag Clays Shoot.
In the last four years, the Goliad FFA has had at least one state championship team along with banners for finishing in the top five.
Additional expenses such as guns, ammunition, practice rounds, travel expenses, lodging and meals are paid for by the team members’ parents.
“This year the team was fortunate that Backwoods & Bling sponsored our team shirts. team shirts,” a spokesperson said.