Not to take anything away from the boys but...no less than four out of 43 teams at the Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match, held in Rogers, Arkansas over the 4th of July weekend were all girl teams. Additionally, the Daisy Junior 3-P Precision & Sporter Air Rifle competition immediately followed the national 5-meter BB competition and some of the same ladies excelled there as well.
The ladies also took home the top three individual awards. The overall individual bronze medal winner was Abigail Keeven from the Washington Missouri Shooting Sports Team in Washington, Missouri; the silver medal winner was Reba Smith with the Penns Valley Shooting Team in Spring Mills, PA and the gold medal winner was a member of an all girl team.
Maybe it was the inspiration from gold medalist Nancy Johnson who delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremonies of the 45th annual event. Johnson won the first gold medal for the USA in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with her win in ladies air rifle. "The best advice I can give these kids this weekend would probably be to give their best and let the rest take care of itself, because they've put in the hard work and they are going to do well," she said.
And do well they did. Hailing from Douglas, Georgia were the Coffee County Center Shots who finished a respectable 21 out of 43. The girls, Nellie Whitley, Danielle Leggett, Hannah Leggett, Summer McKinnon, Loryn Brown, Phaedra Vickers, and Meagan Joiner, also made their presence known with their win in the team colors category. Their coaches, W. B. Merritt and Darren Brown donned tuxedoes and escorted each young lady dressed in full southern bell dress (including parasol's) onto the stage during opening ceremonies on July 2. Team alternate Loryn Brown achieved a Gold Medal in the overall aggregate competition. So we'll be watching out for her next year! The Coffee County Center Shots finished in 5th place at the Georgia 4-H State BB Gun Championships out of a field of 617 of the state's best 5-meter athletes.
The Phillips/Rooks 4-H Shooting Sports Team from Phillipsburg, Kansas coached by Brent Norris and Jay Hofaker finished 15th at the Daisy Nationals and had an eighth place finish for the safety exam. Team members, Faith Hofaker, Kayla Hofaker, Alex Randall and Brianna Shaw congratulated team member Erika Norris on her Bronze medal win in the kneeling position.
The all girl team from Wyandotte County (Kansas City) Kansas made an impressive showing at the Nationals. "I had a feeling they would do well because I watched these young ladies sweep the Kansas State 4-H match" stated Susan Johnston, PR Manager at Daisy Outdoor Products. The team, coached by Ron Paterson and Mike Augustine, competed extremely well in the Daisy National BB Gun Championship with a 6th place team finish. "More importantly they took home the Paul T. Teifer Trophy for their first place finish as a team with the highest combined score on the Daisy Nationals Safety Test portion of the competition," stated Johnston, "often the scores on this test make the difference in the overall aggregate category." The overall aggregate category includes all four shooting positions plus the scores from the safety test (sometimes referred to as the fifth position). The team members were Lydia Paterson, Allison Augustine, Micheala Augustine, Hannah Harrity and Serra Gardner. Going home with two individual gold medals for her first place finish in the overall aggregate category in both 5-meter BB gun and sporter air rifle age group C (under 15) was Lydia Paterson.
Finishing out this amazing weekend of accomplishment was the Marshall County 4-H Sharpshooters from Britton, South Dakota taking home the team gold medal and the team trophy of the traveling Daisy Model 499 Plaque (lovingly referred to as "The Gun"). Coached by Harlan Hilleson and Mike Kraft, these young ladies evidently set their sights on the top spot from day one. "We won the Nationals last year and when we came home with "The Gun", these seven girls (Shayla Olsen, Natasha Albro, Jessie Allcock, Aimee Allcock, Jena Lunzman, Abby Flanery and Lyndsey Effling) were sitting in our club and said "we're going to the nationals", stated Hilleson. "I told them that was great, but, they had to know what they needed to do to get there. We set the standards they had to make and they made them. It was all the girls. We coached them, but it was all the girls who did it in the end" said Hilleson. The win was highlighted by Shayla Olsen's bronze in the standing position.