The team from West Virginia University Extension’s 4-H youth development program is returning home to West Virginia with a host of medals from the 2022 National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships held last week in Nebraska.
Jack Hutson (Doddridge County) earned the top spot in the muzzleloader competition and was crowned national champion. Hutson and team members Zane Weaver (both of Doddridge County), Andrew Means (Clay County) and Ethan Fullen (Monroe County) also recorded an historic second-place finish in the muzzleloader team event, which included composite scores from the 50-yard bullseye, 25-yard novelty and silhouettes. Justin Mace, also from Doddridge County, earned second-place honors in 3D compound archery and was ninth overall in the archery discipline.
Hutson, who started participating in the shooting sports program at the age of nine, said it was special representing West Virginia 4-H on a national stage.
“The national shooting sports championship was super fun, and it was great to meet people from all over the country,” he said. “Our team faced tough competition, and we performed really well. To come home with a second-place finish our first time competing in the muzzleloader event is pretty special. I’m super proud of all our teammates, including Justin Mace who picked up a great win in archery. It was an honor for us to represent West Virginia 4-H.”
The focus of all WVU Extension 4-H programming is the development of youths as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program stands out as an example in which youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more.
The national competition, hosted by Nebraska 4-H, had more than 700 4-H’ers from across the country competing in nine different disciplines. Thirteen West Virginia 4-H members traveled to the championship to participate in four disciplines at the national event.
“Muzzleloading is an important part of our Appalachian heritage, and it’s a great way to promote safe firearm use among 4-H youths. But our 4-H Shooting Sports program is so much more. I cannot begin to describe the responsibility, decision-making skills, teamwork and integrity these young men have exhibited,” WVU Extension Clay County Agent and Shooting Sports Instructor Michael Shamblin, who coached the muzzleloader team, said. “They have represented us all in the most positive way.”
Shamblin also noted this was the first time West Virginia has participated in the National 4-H muzzleloading discipline, and it’s taken a community of caring adults to make it happen. In addition to the 4-H instructors, the team’s practices were supported by the West Virginia Muzzleloaders Association.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local WVU Extension office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @WVUExtension.