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News and Updates

Next Davie Co 4-H Shooting Sports Club Meeting-May 28th - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Next Fun Shoot-June 8th -10:00am to Noon 


Tom Cowden Youth Shooting Sports hosted the 2024 North Carolina 4-H Hunting Skills Tournament on Jan. 27, the fourth year the Davie group has hosted.  This eighth year of the tournament had the biggest turnout since pre-Covid. Participants representing counties and 4H clubs across the state – from as far east as Pitt and as far west as Madison counties. This year also featured a partnership with NRA YHEC (Youth Hunter Education Challenge) and was a “Local YHEC Event as well as 4-H.

The kids competed in six hunting related challenges including 3D Archery where they shot from an elevated stand, a blind and from the ground at life-size 3D Targets.  In rifle competition, participants shot .22 rifles at life-size paper targets of small game animals at distances out to 75 yards.  For the shotgun challenge, they shot 5-Stand using multiple traps set up to throw targets that represent upland birds, waterfowl and rabbits.  They also had a Wildlife ID Challenge using skulls, hides, wings etc. from game and fur bearing animals found in NC.  On a Hunting Knowledge and Skills trail, they were required to use a compass, estimate distance and answer questions about deer, turkey, small game, waterfowl, predator and varmint hunting in NC and a Hunter Decision Making Challenge where they were shown pictures of hunting scenes and had to decide quickly whether they should “Shoot” or “Don’t Shoot” and if it was Don’t Shoot” they had to explain why based on game laws, safety or ethics.

There were two divisions, Juniors (ages 8-13) and Seniors (ages 14-18).  In the Junior Division, the top team was the Henderson County “Skillet Likkers” with Connor Smith, Sadie Eatmon, Zane Capps and Isaac Wilkie. The Randolph “Snipers” finished second, with Blake Hinshaw, Elijah Kidd, Eli Garner and Nate Price. The Bronze Medal Team was The Davie. “Junior Hunters” with Peter Redelsheimer, Brendon Myers and Colton Lockard.  The Junior Individual Medalists (HOAs) were: Clay Justice with Gold, Isaac Wilkie with Silver, both from Henderson County. Elijah Kidd from Randolph finished third. Clay Justice had the second highest overall score for either division. He also had the top shotgun score and tied for the top archery score for the day.


 In the Senior Division, The Davie “Senior Hunters” took top honors with members Riley Barnes, Brantlee Evans, Reece Long and Maddox Nifong. The Randolph “Sharpshooters” finished second with Riley Clapp, Carissa Gaines and JJ Foland. Third place was Pitt County with Elijah Green, Declan Mullen and Gabe Stiles.  All three Senior HOA medalists were from the Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club, with Reece Long winning gold, Brook Lockard, silver and Maddox Nifong with the bronze. Reece had a overall score of 553 points out of a possible 600, one of the top scores over the past eight years. He also had a perfect score of 10/10 in 3D Archery as well as wildlife ID and Hunter Decision Making as did Brook Lockard. Brook also had the top Rifle score with 14/15, which is as high of a rifle score of any Davie participant in eight years.


It was a great turnout,. The kids had a lot of fun and made new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. We’re very proud of our kids from Davie County 4-H. Every Davie kid that competed placed. We have never had all of our kids medal and it’s been since 2021 since we won gold in this tournament. I don’t think we ever won both the team and individual gold.  This is the best overall performance we have had in NC 4-H Hunting Skills to date. The North Carolina 4-H Hunting Skills Team that will compete in the National Championships in Nebraska this coming June will be selected from the top finishers in this contest. Another added bonus, we had five kids compete as Seniors for the first time at a state level tournament, so those 5 will receive a 4-H Embroidered Letter.

Read more at:

Davie Co. Seniors Win Big and Juniors Medal at 2024 NC 4-H Hunting Skills Tournament


2023 Pumpkin Apocalypse is an Absolute Blast!

2024 DC 4-H Hunting Skills Team:
Left to Right-Colton Lockard(Jr Team Bronze), Brook Lockard (Sr Silver HOA), Reece Long (Sr Gold HOA, Sr Gold Team), Maddox Nifong (Sr Bronze HOA, Sr Gold Team), Brantlee Evans (Sr Gold Team), Riley Barnes (Sr Gold Team), Brenden Myers (Jr Bronze Team) and Peter Redelsheimer (Jr Bronze Team).

Juniors Do Well at 2023 NC 4-H State Tournament

The Pumpkin Apocalypse is our Annual Celebration of the founding of Tom Cowden Youth Shooting Sports and the Davie Co 4-H Shooting Spots Club. We came into existence officially in November of 2012 and we have held this event evey year except 2020. The biggest concern going into the Pumpkin Apocalypse every year is the weather. The middle of November in Piedmont NC is notoriously fickle. Last year we had overcast skies and highs in the 40s...still we had a great turnout. This year, November 28th, 2023 was nothing short of SPECTACULAR as far as the weather and the turnout! The pictures above are juist a small sample of the day. We had Hotdogs and Brunswick Stew as well as lots of goodies to eat. We had a 5-Stand Shotgun shoot that was open to eveyone...Normally Adults don't get the opportunity to shoot much at TCYSS Range, since we are based around youth programs. The Pumpkin Apocalypse is one of the few days that parents and adults get to participate. We had Rifle Plinking and Archery for kids and of course, about every half hour we sent a group of pumpkins to a terrible and sudden end by blowing them up with Tannerite. The first Pumpkin Apocalypse came about back in 2012. We were getting ready to hold our very first Davie Co 4-H Meeting and the day before I (Nelson Cowden) was in a classroom at the school where I worked as an Assistant Principal. The Teacher had about 20 Pumpkins in the back of her classroom that had been painted by her students and jokingly said something about having to get rid of them...I told her to have them loaded in the back of my truck before the end of the day and I would take care of them...I took the pumpkins to our very first meeting. We had about 6 kids and parents and we filled some of the pumpkins with water and shot them with a high powered rifle to demonstrate hydrostatic pressure...the rest we just shot with .22 rilfe, but the idea was born when someone said..."This is like the apocalypse if you are a pumpkin..." The Pumpkin Apocalypse was born! We added Tannerite the next year*. The event really took off by about 2017 when we decided to invite the public to join us. Now we have in excess of 200 people come see us and join us for food, fun and fellowship. 

*4-H Does not allow the use of Tannerite or other explosives at their meetings. The Pumpkin Apocalypse is a TCYSS Event and while TCYSS supports the Davie Co 4-HShooting Sports Club in all aspects, the Pumpkin Apocalypse itself is not a 4-H Function.

We had 16 Members of the Davie County 4-H Shooting Sports Club compete in the 2023 NC 4-H State Tournament. We only had 3 Senior (ages 14-18) competitors and our Senior team had a rough day and didn’t reach the podium…The good news is that it was all of their first year as Seniors and they’ll be back. In shooting sports, some days are just like that…We took 3 Junior teams (Ages 8-13) plus Individuals and our Juniors did bring home quite a bit of hardware. Evan Durham had quite a haul with Individual Gold in Telescopic Rifle and Air Rifle, Individual Silver in Open-Sight Rifle and Air Pistol and Silver High Overall (HOA) for Telescopic Rifle! Our Junior Blaze Team also struck Gold for Muzzleloader with an amazing Team Average Score of 44.2/50. The Blaze consisted of Riley Barnes, Brantlee Evans, Tyler Nichols, Cameron White and Dakota Wilkinson-Hofh. Tyler Nichols was also Muzzleloader HOA with a 48/50 and Brantlee was 3rd HOA with a 46/50. Peter Redelaheimer brought home a Bronze Medal for Recurve Archery with a new personal best score of 186/200 and our Jr Green Arrows Team of Elliot Crandall, Adelaine Fillmore and Jacob Fillmore won Team Bronze in Recurve Archery.

So proud of all of our kids! Thanks to all of our parents for getting their kids to and from practices and the Regional and State Tournaments, bringing the food and drinks etc…Thanks to our Coaches, Steve Carson our Archery Guru, newcomer Em Cheramie, who really showed her expertise advocating for our kids and checking those targets with and expert eye. Jimmy Staley for always being there and keeping TCYSS going! Matt Evans for all of his help…can’t do this without our parents and instructors!

All Team Members Qualify to go to State Tournament

ML HOA Award.jpg
Tyler C and Cameron W.jpg

Results for the 2023 NC 4-H Central Regional tournament from Saturday August 19th. Starting with our Seniors. We only had 3 Seniors this year, and the Team consisted of Kenzie Smith, Levi Williams and Oliver Fillmore. As a Team they won Silver in Muzzleloader with Levi also taking second place HOA in Muzzleloader, missing first place by one point. Levi also qualified for the State Tournament in Smallbore Pistol andOpen sight Rifle.

Our Junior DC Blaze Team racked up some hardware finishing first in Muzzleloader and Smallbore Open Sight Rifle as well as 3rd in Shotgun and Air Rifle. Team members for Muzzleloader and Shotgun included Riley Barnes, Cameron White, Brantlee Evans, Dakota Hofh-Wilkinson and Tyler Nichols. The Open-Sight Rifle and Air Rifle Teams were Riley Barnes, Cameron White, Brantlee Evans and Dakota Hofh-Wilkinson. Riley also qualified for the state in Telescopic Rifle. Brantlee qualified in Compound Archery, along with Dakota and Tyler Nichols. Brantlee also scored a sweet Gold Medal as HOA for Muzzleloader with an impressive 48/50.

The Davie Junior DC Flash Team consisting of Cooper Rogers, Porter James and Tyler Crandall won bronze in Muzzleloader and DC Flash Team member Peter Redelsheimer won Silver in Recurve Archery missing first by one point. Porter also qualified for the state in Compound Archery and Cooper in Open-sight Rifle.

The Davie Junior DC Supers won Silver on Open-sight Rifle with Team members Evan Durham, Cameron Hamner and Saul Hardy. Veteran member Evan Durham was second HOA for Open-Sight Rifle, 3rd for Telescopic Rifle, 2nd Individual for Compound Archery and struck Gold twice for Air Pistol with HOA and High Individual. Evan also just missed the medals in Air Rifle by a couple of "Xs". Saul Hardy also qualified to go to the State for Air Rifle.

The Davie Junior-DC Green Arrows brought home the Gold in Recurve Archery. the Green Arrows consists of Adelaine Fillmore, Jacob Fillmore and Elliot Crandall.

The Top 3 Teams, the top 5 competitors registered as Individuals and the top 5 "At Large" competitiors qualify for the State Tournament.


4-H Summer Fun Days and Davie Co Rec and Parks Clinics are Success

TCYSS has been hosting 4-H Summer Fun Day Camps since 2013 and we added Davie County Recreation and Parks Department Shooting Sports Clinics in 2021. Basically the same things, just on different days. We offer opportunities for area youth to particiapte and learn firearms safety and new skills to keep them active and outdoors and give something they can do for the rest of their lives. We have Basic Firearms Safety/Rifle Shooting, Basic Shotgun, Advanced Shotgun, Hunting Skills for ages 10-18 and this year we added a extra for the DC R&P for older kids with Basic Smallbore Pistol for ages 14-18. We had some of the largest groups with the 4-H Summer Fun Days we have had. Great turnouts also lead to new club members. We added at least 5 new 4-H Club members from the ranks of those that found us through the Summer Fun Days and Recreation Dept "Clinics".


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

IMG_2591 (4).JPG

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'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

Thanks to Community Support, TCYSS wins Major Grant!!! 

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