Members of the Bartow County 4-H BB S.A.F.E. Team including Jordan Baldwin, Noah Borgelt, TJ Bosdell, Keaton Centers, Avery Chitwood, Kylie Clay, Gideon Conant, Josh Drexler, Sarah Holman, Garrett Huffman, Emmalie Lovett, Nora Martin, Brayden Mullinax, Grant Payne, Brendan Quillin competed at the Target Challenge Weekend State BB Match in early April. Overall, there were 571 individual competitors.

Volunteer team coaches Troy Martin, Alex Payne and Doug Payne were instrumental in the Bartow team’s success throughout regular season competition. In BB Matches, 4-H’ers shoot BB guns from prone, standing, sitting and kneeling positions at targets five meters down range. Athletes shoot 10 rounds per position for a total of 40 shots. For BB team members, a perfect score is 400 out of 400 possible points in shooting, which translates to 100 points in each of the four positions. In addition to the shooting portion of the competition, 4-H’ers apply what they have learned about gun safety to a written test worth up to 100 points added to their final score. Curriculum is drawn from sports medicine, education, biological and physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and technology. Through participation in competition, 4-H’ers learn responsibility, sound judgment and good sportsmanship.

The top individual shooting scores were awarded to Josh Drexler, who placed 7th in the kneeling position and 20th overall, Nora Martin and Emmalie Lovett. The top four safety test scores were achieved by Brendan Quillin, Josh Drexler, TJ Bosdell and Avery Chitwood. Each of these young men answered all questions perfectly, receiving 100% credit on the test.

The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. The Bartow County 4-H S.A.F.E. program, which stands for shooting awareness, fun and education, is a strong example of this focus. Youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery and much more. The activities of the program and the support of caring adult leaders provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth and appreciation for the environment. The NRA Foundation is a sponsor of the Bartow County S.A.F.E. BB Team for 2014. If you would like to donate to or sponsor any of the Bartow County SAFE Teams, please make checks payable to Bartow County 4-H Club. To obtain more information about the S.A.F.E. program or Bartow County 4-H Club, contact Allison Perkins or Kim Payne at the UGA Cooperative Extension Service at 770-387-5142.