Will Howard, a local 4H Marksman and current member of Logan County Long Shots 4H shooting team recently competed in the USAS Junior Olympic qualifying shooting competition at the Arkansas 4H C.A. Vines Center in Little Rock.
The Nov. 19 competition consisted of 24 of Arkansas’s best shooters, ages 15-19, from nine different counties from across the state. The teen shooters competed in 10-meter air pistol and .22 sport pistol during the competition.
The 10-meter air pistol portion consisted of three 20-minute timed rounds of 20 shots each round for a total of 60 shots.
The .22 Sport pistol portion consisted of two different stages of shooting, slow fire & rapid fire. The first stage being slow fire, consisting of six rounds of five shots, each with a time limit of five minutes for each round of five shots totaling 30 shots and the second stage being a rapid fire round. In the rapid fire round, the shooters must stand at attention, unsupported, waiting on the command to shoot. Each shooter gets three seconds to raise their firearm and shoot their target with seven seconds to rest and wait for the next command to fire. This continues for six rounds of five shots totaling 30 shots.
Howard started the morning out early, shooting in the 10-meter air pistol event. He shot well with a score of 446/600, but fell just short of the bronze medal in this event. He went on to shoot in the .22 sport pistol event just after lunch. Although he started out a little sluggish, not shooting his best in the slow fire portion, he came back and shot very well in the rapid fire portion of the event with the total of 459/600, earning him the gold medal.
The day ended with an award ceremony awarding the shooters for their outstanding marksmanship in their events. With receiving the gold medal in the .22 sport pistol event, this qualifies him to go on to take part in the National USAS Junior Olympic Shooting competition in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the Olympic Training Facility in April 2017.
Howard has been a member of the Logan County Long Shots shooting team for four years and has competed at the state level of 4H shooting sports each of those. He and his teammates have either won first place or second place at the state level competition in air pistol and/or .22 sport pistol the last two years. Doing so, they have qualified to take part in the 4H Shooting Sports National shooting competition in Grand Island, Neb. the past two summers.
Consequently, Howard will be no stranger to the level of competition at the USAS Junior Olympic competition in Colorado Springs.
Howard is a senior at Paris High School and the 18-year old son of Wes & Lori Howard of Paris. He is coached by pistol coaches, Michael and Clycia Hammonds of Magazine.