Air Rifle team hits their mark in recent competition


Daetwyler sets her sights on national shooting contest

TAYLOR COUNTY—Taylor County 4-Her’s made their mark on the West Virginia 4-H Air Rifle competition, as the team claimed a top spot and a member of the team reigned supreme over the contest.

It all started during regional qualifiers held in January, when a group of six members of the air rifle team, under the leadership of certified WV 4-H Shooting Sports Air Rifle Coaches Lauri Daetwyler, Dave Shaver and Corey Himes, put their skills to the test. 

The members who participated in the event included Kristi Daetwyler, Olivia Shaver, John Culp and James Culp, who competed in the senior class, while Emily Himes and Rowan Pace contended in the junior class.

The six shooters placed well during the day. Daetwyler was named the top shooter of the senior class, Shaver took home a fourth-place finish, closely followed by John Culp, who placed sixth. James Culp earned a ninth-place finish in the senior category.

Meanwhile, Himes earned third in the junior division, and Pace followed suit with a fourth-place finish.

“Taylor County, you were represented extremely well in the Regional State Air Rifle Championships,” voiced Air Rifle Coach Lauri Daetwyler. “Our seniors all improved their scores from last year.”

The top 20 shooters from the senior qualifier were then invited to compete in the WV State 4-H Championship, held on February 15, at West Virginia University. Daetwyler and Shaver are no strangers to the state competition, having competed there for the last two years.

The team was recognized for their outstanding performance, earning them a second-place team finish, based on their scores from the qualifying round.

After an impressive performance, Daetwyler earned the first-place finish and will move on to compete on a national level. The Culps placed respectively at 10th (James) and 11th (John), and Shaver brought home a 12th place finish.

Daetwyler, who has been shooting for the club for the last eight years, will represent the county and state as a member of the WV 4-H Air Rifle Team at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships. The event will take place in Grand Island Nebraska on June 21-26.

There, she will participate in air rifle, archery, muzzleloader and shotgun competitions, but she is sure to do well, as this is a sport that she holds close to her heart.

“I was the youngest shooter when we started this team several years ago, and I have learned a lot over the years from the older shooters,” she commented. “I hope to pass along my knowledge to the younger kids.”

Shooting is more than just a passion for Daetwyler, it is a way for her to connect with her family.

“We are a hunting family,” she shared. “I have learned from my parents over the years to love and respect the sport.”

There are currently fundraising efforts to help the 4-H Air Rifle team with their travel expenses. For those who would like to contribute to the cause, the WVU Taylor County Extension Office can provide more information on how you can help.

For those who are interested in becoming part of the Taylor County 4-H Air Rifle program, or those wishing to obtain more information about the county’s 4-H program, please contact the Extension Office by phone at 304-265-3303. 

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