Jacob Tucker of Booneville signed a national letter of intent with the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville for clay trap shooting last week.
UofO head coach Caleb Hemphill was on hand for the signing in the high school library last Tuesday.
Tucker said he selected UofO because of the coaches, including Lance Brown of Booneville, who also helps with the BHS team for which Tucker shoots.
“Watching Tuck shoot over the last two years of my coaching career — he came out and shot last year in our Eagle Shootout and did really well — that’s really what turned me on to him,” said Hemphill. “And coach Brown has coached him his entire career, and when he says you’ve got to go get this kid (you’ve got to.)
“He is a well rounded shooter,” said Brown, who also coached Hemphill when he was at UofO as a student.
By that, Brown means there are seven different disciplines — wing plate, American trap, international bunker, international skeet, American skeet, international wobble and super sporting — and Tucker is accomplished at all of them.
Tucker, who has been a member of Booneville’s school shooting team since sixth grade, will be the second BHS graduate to shoot for the Eagles.
Before him was Grace Brown, the daughter of Lance and Thresa Brown, who won an individual national title with UofO.
“He has the capability of doing the exact same thing,” Lance Brown said. “If he listens to his training.”
In addition to shooting trap at BHS, Tucker also played football.
Tucker is the son of Kimberly and Artie Tucker. He is the older brother of Makynlee.“I’m glad he’s leaving the nest,” Artie Tucker said. “Experience the world a little bit. It’s not far away but it’s enough to be on his own, and he’s still just a phone call away.”
“I’m glad he’s doing something that he loves,” Kimberly Tucker adds. “That’s the main thing.”
Considering the journey shooting has taken the Tuckers, Clarksville is not much of a trip really.
They’ve been all over the state to shoot, including to Colorado Springs, Colorado for Junior Olympic shooting trials.
Last June Tucker was tied for second in the national competition in Colorado Springs. He won his division in a Junior Olympic shoot in Arkansas last year as well.
As a freshman at Booneville in 2015 Tucker was on the state championship squad at the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports competition in Jacksonville. That earned Tucker a $1500 scholarship through the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and other prizes.
Tucker has also won other tournaments.