Head, heart, hands and health are what the four H’s in 4-H stand for. And the 4-H clubs in Goliad county have activities that embrace each of these concepts. One of them being the 4-H Rifle Shooting Sports Program which is open to all members of a Goliad county 4-H club.
The purpose of the program is to teach firearms responsibility while strengthening families through participation in a life-long recreational sport. The 4-H rifle program and all 4-H shooting sports help to enhance character development and personal growth in shooting activities.
Under the 4-H rifle program, the 4-H rifle club has been active in Goliad county for more than 40 years, with much growth in the last two years. In that time, the program has progressed from practicing in a caliche pit outside of town to currently having a newly remodeled building to utilize. The new and improved facility is a result of some very generous sponsors.
The cost of new equipment, guns and ammunition is defrayed, in part, by grants from the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the club applies for each year.
Rifle club practices are held weekly. During each practice the words “steady, breathe, squeeze” can be heard from the coaches as the shooters practice. That is because it is essential that each shooter remember to breathe correctly and exercise trigger control with every shot.
“I enjoy how I can see myself improving every time I shoot, and how important it is to make every shot count,” said junior shooter Lyla Myers.
The local club is coached by John Frederick, Jerrett Yendrey and Cassie Mangum. However, Yendrey expressed, “Coaches are all 4-H trained; but, parents are their kid’s true coach. They are positive motivation behind their child’s success.”
The program depends on the willingness of parents and other volunteers to become certified to coach.
The young marksmen shoot from January through April of each year, competing in more than eight matches during that time. They compete on teams, as well, as individually. Annually, the final match of the season is the district 11 match which is held in Victoria.
Senior shooter Abby Fagg explained, “The hardest thing about shooting at a senior level is the standing position and putting all the techniques together to score the perfect shot.”
“Self discipline is more important than the shooting,” said Mangum. “All their hard work pays off when these kids get that shot they are working for.
Team members have done well at each competition this season. Their last match was the district match held on April 23 and 24 in Victoria.
Junior team members Myers, Allie Tuttle, Carson Carter, Brady Fagg and Kace Blaschke finished in sixth place. Both Abby Fagg and Jenna WeWe competed individually at the intermediate level and placed in the top 20.
The junior intermediate team of Reese Mangum, Addison Yendrey, Keagan Kramer, Natalie Lill and Rose Moses placed fourth.
Other club members include DaNyah Johnson, Joshua Kutz, John Paul Pilkinton, Alexis Byrd and Gianna Pilkington.