GOES LIKE THIS — 4-H air rifle leader Jack Judisch helps Drew Drishinski adjust his gun during a shooting sports session at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex. In addition to instruction, Judisch and his wife Barb, organize the air gun portion of the Pondera Shooting Sports program, with assistance from several other certified leaders, other volunteers and the Pondera Extension Office. Photo Courtesy of MSU – Pondera County Extension
The 4-H Shooting Sports season began the last week in November and shooters are now well on their way into the season that will run through the beginning of March.
Youth, age 9 to 18, shoot air pistol, air rifle and archery at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex on Mondays and Tuesdays each week.
Each week, participants focus on improving their technical skills, practicing good safety and learning more about their discipline through instruction and 4-H curriculum.
While they are learning, they are all participating in a statewide “postal” tournament, which means their scores are sent in over ten weeks to compete with the scores of other 4-H members in their age division.
“Every year, Pondera County has some of the top shooters in the postal, as well as other live tournaments,” commented Adele Stenson from the Extension Office.
Besides the weekly shooting, participants have the opportunity to compete in tournaments at Helena, Kalispell and Bozeman during the season. And each year, either Shelby or Conrad hosts the Marias Fair shooting sports tournaments, so 4-Hers can compete against other youth from the region, with little or no travel expense.
In addition to testing their shooting skill, participants at the Marias Fair tournaments are also interviewed on their shooting sports knowledge and receive ribbon placings for both their interviews and their shooting scores.
The shooters are led by certified 4-H shooting sports instructors, who volunteer their time to be trained at their own expense, and then coach the youth throughout the shooting season.
Besides the certified leaders, other volunteers help out each week by scoring targets, helping youth with their shooting sports books and keeping everyone organized in general.
The MSU – Pondera County Extension Office facilitates the program and works with the Marias Fair Shooting Sports Committee to plan the annual archery, air gun and shotgun tournaments.
If you have questions, need more information or are interested in youth shooting, contact Stenson at the Pondera County Extension office in the courthouse at 271-4054.