Tom Cowden Youth Shooting Sports
News and Updates
Next 4-H Fun Shoot is June 10th at 10:00am
Next 4-H Meeting is May 23rd at 6:30pm
2023 NC 4-H Hunting Skills Tournament held at TCYSS for 3rd Consecutive Year
The 2023 NC 4-H Hunting Skills Tournament was held at our very own TCYSS Range for the 3rd consecutive year. The Tournament was held at Millstone 4-H Center and the adjacent John Lentz Range from 2016 until 2018 and at Millstone alone in 2019 due to some policy changes with The NC Wildlife Resources Commission. It was moved to our range in 2020 due to Covid Restrictions at Millstone and due to some changes within NC 4-H it has remained at TCYSS since then. It is very convenient for us, and the setup is much easier, but unfortunately it has reduced the number of entrants significantly. Still it is a very fun and challenging event and this year featured 25 competitors from as far East as Pitt and Duplin Counites and as far West as Henderson County.
The Tournament consists of 5 hunting related "Challenges" which includes 3D Archery, Smallbore Rifle at paper small game targets, 5-Stand Clays set up in game style flights, a General Knowledge Trail which included a deer, turkey and small game hunting scene along with demonstrating ability to use a compass and estimate distance and an Game and Fur Bearer ID Challenge with hides, wings, feathers, skulls and bones to identify from game and furbearing animals found in NC.
Our own club only had one competitor, Kenzey Smith who was competing in it for the first time and did an exemplary job. The overall winner for the Tournament was Elijah Green from Pitt County who was in his second NC 4-H HS Tournament and his Pitt County Senior Team also finished with the Team Bronze. The Iredell Senior Team finished second and Duplin Co 1st. Second Place Individual in the Senior Division was Hunter Trivette of Iredell Co. and the bronze was Wyatt Greene from Duplin County.
For the Juniors Henderson Co won both Team Gold and Silver with the Henderson Co-Skillit Lickers finishing first and the Henderson Co Revenuers finishing second. We didn't have a 3rd Junior Team this year. Clay Justice of the Skillit Lickers was the top Junior. Mason Rawls of Pitt County and Bruce Pryor of the Henderson Revenuers both won the Silver. No Bronze was awarded since there was a tie for second individual HOA with the Juniors.
Juniors Shine at 2022 NC 4-H State Shooting Sports Tournament
The 2022 NC 4-H State Shooting Sports Tournament is in the books now after being postponed for 6 weeks due to Hurricane Ian. The original date was October 1st but was finally held on November 12th at DeWitt’s Sports Center and Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe NC. Due to changes in the dates and other factors only 14 of the 17 Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club State qualifiers were able to attend.
Levi Williams had the best day of the group with an HOA and Individual Champion in Shotgun, shooting a 24/25. He he also finished 3rd Overall in Muzzleloader. The Junior Blazers Team including Levi along with Riley Barnes, Connor Mathis and Tyler Nichols won the the Team Gold for Muzzleloader.
The Junior Blazers with Riley, Connor, Levi and Brantlee Evans also finished 2nd in Open-Sight Smallbore Rilfe. And Evan Durham finished second shooting as an Individual in Open-Sight Smallbore Rifle.
Other Junior participants that didn’t make the podium, but had personal bests shooting in their first State Tournament were Oliver Fillmore, Kenzey Smith, Cameron White, Saul Hardy and Lacie Tesnar. So very proud of all of our Juniors!
Our only two Seniors were Rebekah Walker and Ethan Durham, both shooting in their last 4-H Tournament. Rebekah just edged out Ethan for 3rd Overall and Individual in Smallbore Pistol. Both shot awesome 190/200 but Rebekah had one more “x” than Ethan bumping him to 4th and just out of the medals. However, Ethan did strike Silver finishing in Second as an Individual in Air Pistol.
We will miss both of our Seniors as they move on to bigger and better things in their lives. Hopefully they’ll come back and become Instructors for us if their future allows. Rebekah has actually been with us since we began in 2012. She couldn’t compete the first year because she was too young, but was at the inaugural meeting in September of 2012 and first live fire meeting in November of 2012. Hard to believe 10 years had passed since the Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club started! Congratulations to all and thank you Parents and Instructors for making it a great day for our kids!
Left-The Junior Blazers Muzzleloader State Champions.(L-R) Riley Barnes, Connor Mathis, Tyler Nichols, Levi Williams
Left-Jr Sjhotgun State Champion and HOA Levi Williams
Right- Evan Durham Celebrates his 2nd Place finish for OPen-Sight Smallbore Pistol
Brothers competing together, Junior Competitor Evan Durham (left) Shooting Air Pistol next to Senior Competitor and Brother Ethan Durham
The Junior Blazers Team including L to R, Tyler Nichols, Levi Williams, Riley Barnes, Connor Mathis and Brantlee Evans.
While Caleb was the only one to bring home the hardware this year, we still had some great performances by our other team members. We were defending Varsity Champions, but unfortunately, we were not able to field a complete Varsity Team this year or we would have been a strong contender for the Team Championship that went to a strong Forbush Team this year. It would have been close no doubt, but still had strong scores by Varsity Members Gracie Marshall and Naomi Hellard. Charles Whisenhunt competed as a JV in his first Trap State Championship and Connor Mathis had a solid performance in the Intermediate Advanced Division.
Caleb Mathis had a phenomenal day at the NC SCTP State Trap Shoot at the Rockingham Co. Gun Club on May 7th, 2022. Caleb won the State Championship HOA, the Varsity Singles HOA, The Varsity Doubles HOA and HOA for the Shoot. This is the second year in a row that Caleb was Varsity Singles winner, HOA for the entire shoot and Doubles Champion. He just missed winning the State Championship in 2021which went to teammate Gracie Marshall, but he got it this year with a 99/100 score (missed the 97th bird). Caleb's name and TCYSS will be on the Perpetual Trophy displayed at the Rockingham County Gun Club!
TCYSS SCTP TEAM Competes in State Trap Shoot, Caleb Mathis Brings Home the Hardware!
6 TCYSS Members Compete in 2022 4-H National Champioinships, Smallbore Pistol Strikes Gold and Bronze!
Six kids and 2 Coaches associated with TCYSS competed in the 2022 4-H National Shooting Sports National Championships. Four members of the Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club were Naomi Hellard and Dallie Lakey on the Shotgun Team, Rebekah Walker shootng Muzzlelolader and Ethan Durham shooting Smallbore Pistol. The other two associated with TCYSS were Gracie Marshall and Cobe Townsend from the TCYSS-SCTP (Shotgun) Team. Also Representing us were Maurice Walker, Coach of the Smallbore Pistol Team and Jimmy Staley with the Shotgun Team coach.
The Shotgun Team finished in the middle of the pack and unfortunately did not make it to the Stage or Podium this year, but by all accounts had a great time. Shotgun and Compound Archery are the two most competitive events at the National Championships with more competitors than any of the other disciplines. Finishing in the middle is still a major accomplishment! The Muzzleloader team also didn't find the Stage or Podium this year. they also finished near the middle of the pack, but "made a lot of smoke and noise and had a lot of fun" according to their Coach, NC 4-H Shooting Sports Director, Charles Young.
However, Coach Maurice Walker's, Smallbore Pistol Team struck some Gold and Bronze, finishing 1st on Day one's "Slowfire Course", 3rd on Day two for the "Silhouette" Competition and 3rd Overall for the Championships! Davie County 4-H Club member, Ethan Durham also made the Stage as an individual collecting a 7th on Day 1, 9th on Day 2 and a 9th Overall for the Competiton! Great Job Representing Us! Proud of all of you!
NC 4-H Shotgun Team-L-R
Naomi Hellard, Dallie Lakey, Gracie Marshall, Cobe Townsend
Rebekah Walker making Smoke and Noise in the Muzzleloader Competition
Ethan Durham with his "Bling" from the Nationals! Ethan is sporting Team Gold for Day One, Team Bronze from Day 2 and Overall and ribbons for a 7th on Day One's Slow Fire Competiton, 9th for Day Two's Silhouette and a 9th Overall for the Championships!
The 4-H National Championships Overview
The North Carolina 4-H National Team consists or 9 Individual Shooting Sports "Discipline Teams". The 9 Disciplines include Shotgun, Smallbore Rifle, Muzzleloader, Air Rifle, Smallbore Pistol, Hunting Skills, Compound Archery, Air Pistol and Recurve Archery. Each team consists of three or four 4-H Members from clubs across the state. Competitors compete over 3 days with each day being a different aspect of the discipline. For instance, on day one, the Shotgun Teams compete in Sporting Clays, on Day 2 they shoot Skeet and on day 3 they shoot Trap. Hunting Skills actually has 9 different "challenges" 3 each day that include Archery, Shotgun, Rifle, Wildlife ID, Hunting Knowledge, Compass and Map Skills etc. Awards are given for the top competitors and Teams for each day and final Overall Awards for the combined scores of all three days. A complete State Team can consist of as many as 36 (4 per team). States that have a team in every discipline also compete for the "Sweepstakes Award" or Top State Team.
This was the 21st year of the Championships (it was cancelled in 2020) and it has been held in Grand Island Nebraska for the past 9 years. Teams come from all over the Nation. This year there were 33 States represented. There have been as many as 42 in previous years. Covid Restrictions limited the time for many teams to get ready this year, and kept some 4-H Programs from traveling out of state. A complete Team can consist of as many as 36 (4 per team). Although the comradary between kids from different states is obvious and sportsmanship is considered to be the rule. This is not a "Feel Good Everybody gets a Trophy Championship". With Close to or over 1000 competitors, the vast majority of kids finish the week and head back home with nothing but a nice T-Shirt and some fond memories.
The State Teams
Each State decides how and when they choose their teams and how they practice. In North Carolina, we give an invite to competitors that finish in the Top 6 at either the State or a Regional Tournament. Other 4-H Competitors may tryout if they competed in that discipline during either the State of their Regional Tournament. The State Tournament is normally in September and so Tryouts are held in October. Except for Hunting Skills (always has to be different...Lol) The Hunting Skills Team is chosen from a different Hunting Skills Tournament normally held in January. Most teams begin practicing in earnest in January or February. All meet at least monthly. Some teams may get together and shoot other tournaments outside of 4-H such as the CMP Shoots, NSSA, SCTP or 3D Archery. In North Carolina a Team Fundraiser pays for competitors uniforms and Entry fee. Travel and Accommodations are on the shooter's family. Some discipline teams may also do their own fundraisers to help with the travel costs. This year the NC team finished 2nd in the Sweepstakes behind Louisiana. We also finished 2nd behind Lousiana in 2019, the last time the Championships were held. Prior to 2019, Texas or Missouri had won every year with the other finishing second, for 19 years! NC and Louisiana have now moved up with the elite state teams. This year 7 of the 9 Discipline Teams finished in the top 5 and 6 of those made the Podium with Top 3 finishes. Muzzleloader was the only Gold Medal team for NC. It may be due to how are practices and training are structured, but NC Teams seem to be consistently in the Top 5 for the daily competitions, which makes us contenders for Overall Awards. Most other States seem to excel on one day and then drop off on other days. Whatever the case, we are striving for Number 1 in 2022.
Our Davie 4-H Members at the Nationala
Our Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club has been represented at the 4-H Nationals since 2016. Stephen Walker competed in Muzzleloader that year. Stephen had a great experience, but it was a humbling experience as well. It did however, light a fire in him to return and inspired other club members to tryout. In 2017, NC added a Hunting Skills Team for the first time, coached by Nelson Cowden, our founder. It made NC eligible to enter the Sweepstakes by having all teams required to be considered. Zoe Staley was a member on that team and Stephen Walker returned again for Air Pistol. It was a humbling experience once again, but we did manage to make it on the stage for Air Pistol and much to everyone's surprise, the Hunting Skills Team found the podium on day 3 with a
silver by virtue of the fact that all of the live-fire events were counted on the final day. We sure didn't know what to expect as far as tests that year, but we had kids that could shoot! The next year Zoe Staley qualified for the Shotgun Team and Jimmy Staley became the coach for it. Stephen returned once again, this time for Smallbore Pistol and Mattie Clark made the Muzzleloader Team. This time Mattie made the stage and Stephen Walker walked away as Smallbore Pistol National Champion!! Stephen had no first place finishes for the 3 days, but was always in the top 5. When the scores were combined, Stephen won by a fraction and TCYSS had it's first National Champion. Much deserved too! Stephen had practiced literally every day since the Tryouts in October, he even gave up his favorite beverage, Cheerwine, for all of that time because of the caffeine.
In 2019, Davie County had 4 members on the State Team. Stephen returned for his 4th trip, this time for Compund Archery. Mattie returned for Smallbore Rifle and first time competitors Rebekah Walker for Air Pistol and Caleb Mathis for Hunting Skills. Also Maurice Walker became the Smallbore Pistol Coach. The experience began to show itself even more and everyone made the Stage or Podium. Caleb Mathis had the biggest day with a surprise Gold Medal on Day 3 of the competition and led the team to a Silver on Day 3 and Overall. Stephen, who actually competed in Archery with a shoulder injury didn't have the individual success of the year before, but with his help the Compound Archery team finished second. Mattie's Rifle Team finished 3rd Overall and the NC Team itself finished 2nd in the Sweepstakes behind Louisiana breaking the stranglehold that Texas and Missouri had on the Sweepstakes for so many years!
2020-The Year that Wasn't
After the Tryouts and Hunting Skills Tournament, the Davie County 4-H Club had 6 members heading to Nebraska for the 2020 Championships. Rebekah was going back for Smallbore Pistol, the "Family Tradition". Caleb was returning for Muzzleloader and first time National Team members were Jacob Durham and Stephen Timbinaris for Hunting Skills, Chandler Carter for Air Pistol and Samantha Taylor for Muzzleloader with Caleb. Unfortunately, Covid-19 arrived and all was canceled. Unfortunately for Chandler, he would age out and could not return in 2021. The remaining 5 club members were still eligible and planned to return in 2021 if they were going to be held.
2021-One for the Ages!
NC 4-H decided that we would plan for the best and hope for the best, albeit delayed a bit. Tryouts for the teams were held in January. Many teams decided to keep any returning members from 2020 and just add new members and alternates. In Hunting Skills we had lost one team member from 2020 due to age, but had an alternate in the wings, so we were set. We still planned to have the Hunting Skills Tournament although it was moved to February. The top finishers would be given the option to become an Alternate for the 2021 Team and a place on the 2022 Team if they attended the practices as prescribed. Unfortunately, in January, two of the Hunting Skills Team members decided that they did not want to compete in 2021 for personal reasons. We held the Hunting Skills Tournament and Davie County 4-H Member Naomi Hellard won and was offered and accepted one of the remaining two spots. The second place finisher was already committed to a different team and the third place finisher made the Muzzleloader team and decided to go with them. The 4th place finisher took the offer, but left the team in April to pursue other interests. So Hunting Skills was left with just 3 Members. (The format of Hunting Skills requires competitors to take written tests on various hunting related things each day of the competition...it's a deal breaker for some) It was not announced until Mid-April that the Championships would be held and turned out also to be the first National event held by 4-H Since the Pandemic canceled everything the year before. Also, Nelson Cowden had to remain at home due to an illness in the family and Emily Hellard agreed to be the Hunting Skills Coach while in Nebraska.
This time, all of the Davie County 4-H Members made it not just to the stage (Top 10 Individuals and Top 5 Teams) but to the Podium for the first time ever. The Medal and ribbon haul for our kids was enormous. On Day 1 Caleb and Samantha won Silver for the Team and Caleb was 4th. Rebekah placed 9th and her team placed 5th. The Hunting Skills team with Stephen Timbinaris, Jacob and Naomi finished 3rd and Stephen finished 3rd as an individual. Jimmy's Shotgun Team finished 4th, and had a Day 1 Champion! Day 2 saw Caleb and Samantha once again on the podium with a 3rd place finish, Rebekah made the stage with an 8th Individual and the podium with a team Bronze and Hunting Skills made the stage with a team 5th and Stephen once again scored with a 7th place Individual ribbon. The Shotgun Team had yet another 4th. Day 3 was also spectacular with Muzzlelaoder wininning Gold for the day and Caleb finishing 8th, Rebekah's pistol team won Bronze and the Hunting Skills team won Bronze again led by Jacob Durham with our only Member with an Individual Gold and Naomi's 4th place finish. Jimmy's Shotgun Team finished 7th for day 3.
The overall awards were also great with the Muzzloader Team finishing First Overall, Smallbore Pistol 2nd and Hunting Skills 3rd. Rebekah also finished 7th as an Individual as did Stephen and Jacob who hadn't shown up as an individual until day 3 with the big Gold Medal win ended up 4th. Caleb finished 10th Overall and Naomi just missed a top 10 finishing 11th by a fraction of a point. Jimmy's Team finished 4th by less than one target for the highest finish ever by a NC 4-H Shotgun Team. As stated before the NC Team finished 2nd for the second consecutive time behind Lousiana, but once again defeating traditional powerhouses Texas and Missouri.
Rebekah Walker-Smallbore Pistol
Hunting Skills Team with Coach Emily Hellard
Caleb Mathis and Samantha Taylor
Samantha, Jacob, Naomi,Stephen and Caleb