S.D. 4-H Shooting Sports excel at National Championship

South Dakota youth had a strong showing at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, including third place for the team sweepstakes award.

The 2023 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships were held June 25-30 in Grand Island, Nebraska, and had 718 youth representing 42 states. South Dakota sent 36 youth and nine coaches to this year's competition. Of those 36 youth, 33 placed in the top 10 in their respective events individually or as part of that event's team.

For the 2023 Tom Davison Sweepstakes Award, each state collected points throughout the competition based on individual placings across the divisions. Each day's points were tallied up for the overall score. At the end of the event, South Dakota's team had 273 overall points to claim third place. First place went to Louisiana with 282 points, and second went to Texas with 279 points.

South Dakota youth also won first place in the Shotgun Trap team event, and the Small-bore Rifle CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) and Small-bore Rifle 3-P (three-position) team events; second place in the Air Pistol Rapid Fire and Air Pistol Overall team events, Air Rifle 3-P and Air Rifle Standing team events, Small-bore Rifle Silhouette and Small-bore Rifle Overall team events. Individually, first place in the Hunting Skills Decision Making/Shoot/No Shoot/Compass/Rifle division went to a Beadle County youth, with a Hughes County youth winning first place in the Small-bore Rifle CMP division and a Douglas County youth winning first place in the Small-bore Rifle 3-P division.

John Keimig, SDSU Extension Youth Safety Field Specialist, praised it as one of the best showings for the South Dakota team at the national championships.

"It was a great year, and the youth's placings show how much time, effort and practice they put in to get to nationals," he said. "I congratulate each and every one of them."

South Dakota youth must qualify at one of three competitions to compete at nationals. Competitors can only participate in a division once at nationals but can return to nationals in other divisions.

Through the 4-H Shooting Sports program, youth learn marksmanship skills, how to use firearms safely and responsibly, and the principles of hunting and archery. Local 4-H Shooting Sports clubs are open to all youth ages 8 to 18.

Keimig, who is also on the National 4-H Shooting Sports Committee, said participation in 2023 is the strongest it has been in the last five to six years, both at a state and national level. He said Shooting Sports give youth consistent ways to measure their skill and improvement, and those skills can translate into a lifelong avocation.

"We are so fortunate to be in South Dakota where hunting and outdoor recreation are part of our culture," said Keimig. "Shooting Sports is something you can do for the rest of your life."

For photos and the South Dakota team's full results at this year's 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, visit https://extension.sdstate.edu/shooting-sports-national-championships.

For more information about South Dakota 4-H Shooting Sports, contact John Keimig, SDSU Extension Youth Safety Field Specialist, at 605-688-5575 or [email protected].


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