ELLERBE, N.C. (May 2, 2012) — Gray Stone Day School and Park Ridge Christian School, both from Stanly County, won team championship honors at the 2012 Youth Hunter Skills Tournament State Championship, a pre-collegiate shooting sports competition annually held by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The championship was held April 28 at Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe.
About 600 students from 54 schools participated in this year’s tournament, which determined state champions in team and individual categories for rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship. Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.
Gray Stone Day School, in Misenheimer, won the senior division with a score of 3,798. Park Ridge Christian School, in Albemarle, won the junior division with a score of 3,597. Individuals who posted high scores to lead their teams included Hunter Efird, of Gray Stone in the senior division, with a score of 779, and Shannon Efird of Park Ridge in the junior division, with 759.
First place finishers in senior division individual events were Nicolas Forbes with a score of 199 in rifle; Tyler Webb with 200 and 7 x’s at 25 yards in archery; Shannon Inman after a tie-breaker elimination round in shotgun; and Hunter Efird with 187 in hunter skills. First place finishers in junior division individual events were Shannon Efird with a score of 192 in rifle; Cole Allen with 200 and 6 x’s at 25 yards in archery; Reid Marshall after tie-breaker elimination round in shotgun; and Shannon Efird with 189 in hunter skills.
The Fred Rorrer Trophy, recognizing sportsmanship among competitors, was presented to Piedmont High School, in Monroe. The annual award is named in memory of a longtime hunting education instructor, mentor and sportsman.
Overall attendance, including spectators, staff and competitors was estimated to be nearly 3,100. The Commission’s Hunter Education Program holds the tournaments as an opportunity to showcase outdoor skills and demonstrate safety. Teams are organized within public and private schools, while home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.
Teams and individuals qualified for the championship by competing in nine district-level tournaments held across the state in March. Of the 311 schools offering hunting education in North Carolina, 227 field a Hunter Education Program youth team.
“Everyone attending the 34th annual tournament should feel a sense of achievement,” said Travis Casper, the state hunting education coordinator and tournament director. “These youth are a good reflection of conservation, hunting and the outdoors community. As a single-day event that takes weeks, months and even years of preparation, the tournament championship could not have gone any better.”
Hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. For more information on free hunter education courses, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign or youth programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031 or go to www.ncwildlife.org.
Tournament results here.