UPTON - Of all high school state championships – football, golf, soccer, speech/debate, track and field, etc. – none are more “Wyoming” than the state hunting championships.
The seventh annual Youth Hunter Education Challenge, as it is officially called, will be held May 31 at the Upton Gun Club. Young hunters do not need to qualify in a regional or district tournament to compete. All Wyoming youth 18 and under who have passed hunter education are eligible to showcase their hunting skills, while having a lot of fun.
The challenge tests youngsters in sporting clays style trap shooting, .22, muzzleloader and archery marksmanship, wildlife identification, orienteering and hunter safety judgments.
“The challenge is designed to be a fun event for all participants – not just the winners,” said Jim Dawson, Game and Fish hunter education coordinator. “Every year there’s more young Wyoming hunters participating.”
Since it started in 2008, the challenge has been hosted by the Upton Gun Club and officially sanctioned by the National Rifle Association. Participants in both age categories – 15-18 and 14 and under – are eligible to advance to the international competition to be held July 20-25 in Mansfield, Pa. Wyoming youngsters have competed in the international since 2009, including Wyoming’s first official team last year.
In addition to the Wyoming Game and Fish and the gun club, the challenge is sponsored by the Wyoming Friends of the NRA, Cabela’s and a variety of Wyoming businesses. All participants receive a prize for competing.
To participate, youngsters need to submit copies of their hunter education card, birth certificate, photo and pay a $10 entry fee. Entry forms are available on the Game and Fish website or at Game and Fish offices.
“The members of the Upton Gun Club do yeoman’s work making this a fun, memorable event for the youngsters involved,” Dawson added.
(Contact: Jim Dawson (307) 473-3439 or Rick Rothleutner of the Upton Gun Club (307) 281-9980)