LONOKE (AGFC) – For a taste of one of the most highly-competitive sporting events in the state, look no further than the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program state championship. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission program winds down with the state championship June 1-2 at the Remington firing range in Lonoke. What started in 2006 with just over 900 kids has blossomed into a statewide phenomenon with over 6,000 youngsters competing across the state. On Friday, the top 64 junior squads will compete followed by the top 64 senior teams on Saturday - a total of 320 shooters each day will be competing. Competition begins each day at 8 a.m.
Through this competitive trap-shooting league, high-school-aged children have experienced the excitement of real-world shooting without the need for expensive hunting leases or equipment.
Young hunters have sharpened their skills and children who have no desire to pursue ducks, doves or other game still get to enjoy the challenge of shooting clay targets as they streak away. The program teaches safe gun-handling skills to children and gives kids from all backgrounds the chance to learn how much fun waits for them beyond the video screen.
Each team consists of at least five high-school-age members and a coach who has attended certification training through the AGFC. Teams can be all boys, all girls or a mixture of both. The junior division will compete on Friday, June 1 followed by the senior division on Saturday, June 2.
We have two classifications based on age, but that's the only thing we separate shooters by, AYSSP coordinator Chuck Woodson said. "Shooting a shotgun isn't a feat of strength. It's about coordination and concentration. In fact, we have many girls who can outshoot the boys," he said.
For more information on the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program and the state tournament, contact program coordinator Chuck Woodson, 501-978-7326 or visit Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program.