4-H Shooting Sports Recap

Brad Gill | June 28, 2023

Cloverleaf Recurve Individual winners from May 6: Gavin Matthews, Morgan County (center); Steel Sanders, Bulloch County (right); Henry Payne, Banks County (left).

If 100 years from now our world is void of shooting sports, it’s not because Georgia shooters sat around and did nothing. You can argue that the most effective way to ensure a shooting sports’ future is to awake the passion inside a kid. How do you do that? Put shooting equipment in their hands and let them fire away. Our 4-H Project S.A.F.E. program does just that, and reaches maybe more kids than any other organized program that I know about. From archery to shotguns and even .22 rifles, kids are introduced to these sports.

Beginning in January and running through May, state 4-H shoots are held, and some of these events draw hundreds of young shooters competing against other top shooters from counties all over Georgia. It teaches them marksmanship, along other things, like how to be a part of a team. On these pages are the results from the 2023 4-H Shooting Sports Recap. Enjoy as we celebrate their good successes and what 4-H is accomplishing.

“Imagine 785 youth in grades 6-12 shooting shotguns in a pasture on the UGA Beef Research Station in Eatonton,” said Craven Hudson, Extension 4-H Specialist who heads up Project S.A.F.E. “It is gratifying to see 63 counties working together to hold an event of this magnitude. Coaches and state instructors manage 20 singles and two doubles stations on a line three-quarters of a mile long. It is something to behold!”

As incredible as this sounds, the future looks to be even brighter, which is great news after COVID hit the pause button on 4-H public shooting events.

“The Georgia 4-H Shooting Sports program is seeing a strong rebound from the pandemic,” said Craven. “Georgia 4-H BB saw a 35% increase in participation at our state match. Certified volunteer coaches are the backbone of our program. We knew the rebound was coming as a near record number of volunteers completed the training in the fall.”

It also takes facilities and a large number of staff members to host these events.

“The Rock Eagle 4-H Center staff does an amazing job of hosting BB, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, 22 Rifle, Archery and Modified Trap. The logistics for hosting six discipline championships is mind-boggling,” said Craven. “We appreciate the Forest City Gun Club in Savannah for hosting our Trap, Skeet & Sporting Clays Match each year. Zac and his team are always on the spot to keep things running smoothly. The cold, stormy weather this year called for real flexibility. Forest City helped us shift schedules so we could hold the entire tournament safely and equitably.”

For more on the 4-H Project S.A.F.E. program or to learn how to get involved in 4-H, call your county extension office, or go to

The top-three Archery Cloverleaf Novice Individuals on May 6 were Lennart Nagel, Morgan County (center); Alice Anderson, Bulloch County (right) and Lizzie Parnell, Warren County (left).

These Morgan County Cloverleaf archery shooters made up the top team at the May 6 Target Challenge Weekend.

Overall BB Individual shooters: Madison Baines, Walton County (top step); Laney Herrin, Pierce County (middle step); Kallie Gaskins, Cook County (bottom step).

Pierce County Team 1 was the best-finishing team at the April 29 State BB Tournament. Team members were Laney Herrin, Gabriela Herrin, Lilah Hall, Greyson Christmas, Nicole Simpson, Devan Turner and Riley Martinez.

The top-two Senior Recurve Archery Individual Winners from May 6 were first-place Jackson Thigpen (left) and Grant English.

The Senior Compound FITA Team Winners on May 6 were from Banks County. Team members were (from left) Cody Ayers, Madison Adams and Reagen Ferguson.

Here’s the top-three State BB Prone Position shooters: Caleb Phelts, Walton County (top step); Taylor McClelland, Coffee County (middle step); Cara Griffis, Coffee County (bottom step).

Walton County Team 1 was the second-best team. Members were Caleb Phelts, Maddie Glaze, Austin Davis, Morgan Abercrombie, Skyler Everett, Violet Combs and Tyler Phelts.


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