Four youth from the Bartow County 4-H SAFE Team earned the right to compete in the 4-H National Shooting Sports Invitational in Grand Island, Nebraska on June 26-28 after winning first place at the Georgia 4-H State SAFE Rimfire Team Competition. Team members competed in three separate events over the span of three days. Leah Martin, Sam Payne, Emma Jansson and Maegan Wilson each placed well in the national competition and volunteer Team Coaches Doug Payne and Troy Martin were very pleased with the team’s national success.
“Through participation in competition, 4-H’ers learn responsibility, sound judgment and good sportsmanship. Earlier this year, these 4-H’ers earned Master Status in shooting sports, which is one of the highest awards a 4-H’er can receive in competition,” said Team Coach Doug Payne.
In the national competition, there were 38 teams vying for the top placing in each area. Athletes were given individual and team awards at the conclusion of each day’s competition. The team placed second in the nation in two of the three individual events, the Smallbore Silhouette Rifle and CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle. The third event the 4-H’ers competed in was NRA Three Position Rifle. Individually, Bartow 4-H’ers placed within the top ten for one or more events. Leah Martin placed fourth in CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle and tenth in Smallbore Silhouette Rifle. Meagan Wilson placed sixth in CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle. Emma Jansson placed twelfth in CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle. Sam Payne placed first in the nation in Smallbore Silhouette Rifle and third in CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle. In addition to this, Sam was given a special individual medal to recognize him as the top shooter in the nation. This achievement marks the first time a team from Georgia 4-H has ever placed in the top three overall at the national competition and the first time Georgia 4-H has had the honor of having the top ranked shooter in the nation.
At the final ceremony, all scores for each day of competition were combined to determine the overall winners for the competition. With a combined team score of less than one point separating the first and second place teams, the Bartow SAFE team was recognized with a second place finish overall in the nation.
“I am so proud of these four. They have worked very hard and practiced many hours preparing for this and to end up second in the nation out of all those teams made it all worth it,” said Coach Payne.
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. Rimfire 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.