Fair displays 4-H shooting sports results for first time

The Clark County Fair is in full swing and many local residents are making the annual pilgrimage for their favorite events and fair foods.

The fair is a great time for area 4-H members to share what they’ve learned over this past year.

We’re all familiar with the livestock, farming, cooking, sewing and artistic projects of 4-H, but there’s another area in 4-H that doesn’t get much attention. Until this year, participants in that area didn’t even have a place to display their work.

For the first time, the results of judging for 4-H shooting sports will be displayed in the Youth Building at the 2013 Clark County Fair.

Most people are unaware that shooting sports is also a 4-H skill.

Safety is the primary goal of the projects where 4-H members must display their skill in knowledge, control, maintenance, and demonstrate safe use of the firearm. Members may choose to learn about shotgun, rifle, pistol or archery. Theory-based learning projects are also available.

The judging of 4-H projects related to shooting took place before the fair at the New Carlisle Sportsmen’s Club.

On July 13, more than 130 local members of 4-H and their families and leaders were scheduled to gather at the club located in Eastern Bethel Twp. at 1475 Folk Ream Road.

“The New Carlisle Sportsmen’s Club works with us on so many things,” said Jon Webb, a 4-H member and a junior at Greenon and JVS. As a junior leader in shotgun, Webb is able to teach with an instructor present.

Judging stations were set up at three different ranges at the club — shotgun, rifle and pistol, and archery, which was located mercifully in the shade. Webb pointed out the new archery backstop which 4-H members had constructed for the club.

At the trap range, a range officer, an instructor and a judge worked with each student. The student was judged on knowledge of the firearm, proper handling and safety. Accuracy was not as important as demonstrating control. Everyone, including me, wore eye and ear protection.

It was a pleasant afternoon and I noticed a group of Canada geese nearby who were not too concerned as they cruised across the pond past the fountain.

Meanwhile in the clubhouse, judges held interviews with each student to look over the workbook that each student had to complete. It wasn’t a grilling, but in a friendly business-like way judges made sure that the students remembered what they had done in the book. In an adjacent room parents or friends quizzed the 4-H member as they prepared for the interviews.

4-H leader and Enon resident Paul Webb hopes that Clark County fairgoers will take the time to look for the display in the Youth Building. The display will include project posters, booklets, and judging scores from the July 13 event. Two local 4-H shooters will be selected to represent Clark County at the Ohio State Fair.

New at this year’s Clark County Fair will be a special tent set up near the Youth Building to focus on this growing skill area in the 4-H world. New Carlisle Sportsmen’s Club, Ducks Unlimited, Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio Fish and Game, and 4-H will have displays and information tables and activities.

Young people interested in taking part in the 4-H shooting sports program next year need to contact the 4-H Extension office to find out which clubs will be offering these projects. They may visit http://clark.osu.edu or call 937-521-3860 after the fair, of course.

For more information on activities at the New Carlisle Sportsmen’s Club visit www.ncsportsmansclub.com.

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