UPTON - Youngsters from communities from all over Wyoming vied for top honors in the recently completed youth hunter education challenge held May 31-June1 at the Upton Gun Club.
Taking top honors in the Senior (age 15-18) Division was Colton Buckley of Upton. Second place was awarded to Doug Williams, also of Upton while third place honors went to Alex Colson of Torrington. Twenty participants competed in the senior division this year.
In the Junior (14 and under) Division, first place was awarded to Garrett Steele of Wright. Wyatt Fornstrom of Pine Bluffs took second place and Style Thurston of Star Valley Ranch was awarded third place. Twenty-three youth competed in the junior division.
The championships are officially called the National Rifle Association’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge. It has been hosted by the Upton Gun Club since its inception seven years ago.
As in previous years, hunters were tested in sporting clays style trap shooting, .22 rifle, muzzleloader and archery marksmanship, wildlife identification, orienteering, and hunter safety judgments.
“The challenge is designed to be fun for all participants,” said Game and Fish hunter education coordinator, Jim Dawson. “Every year we have interest from youth in communities throughout the state. It is great to see the interest and skills these young hunters possess.”
Dawson said the challenge has many volunteers and sponsors. “There would be no challenge without the Upton Gun Club members and particularly event chairman Rick Rothleutner,” said Dawson. “These are the folks who took the initiative to get it started in 2008 and have kept it going every year since. They put in countless hours in organization and preparation and make improvements for the benefit of the kids every year.”
All youngsters received a prize for their participation and some hunting accessories. The winners also received jackets embroidered with the event and their name.
The prizes were possible thanks to the contributions of many sponsors including the Upton Gun Club, Weston CountySportsman Club, Inyan Kara Bowhunters, Wyoming Friends of the NRA, Cliff and Julie Abbott, B-4 Automotive, , Becky and Brady Morris, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, , B&B Roustabout, Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Scheel’s Outdoor Store of Rapid City, Wyoming Weapon Collectors, Casper Skeet,Trap and Sporting Clays Club, Pheasants on Kara Creek, Heather Shideman , Lowham Walsh Engineering, H2E, Wyoming State ShootersAssociation and Pathfinder Arms.
Young hunters are invited to participate in next year’s challenge. It will again be held at the Upton Gun Club, where the various ranges are nestled into the Black Hill’s sagebrush and ponderosa pine. The June 2015 date will be announced soon.
In accordance with NRA rules, youngsters need to provide a copy of their hunter education card and pay a $10 entry fee to participate.
(Contact: Jim Dawson (307) 473-3439 or Rick Rothleutner (307) 281-9980)