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4-H Shooting Sports off to strong start

The Marengo County 4-H Shooting Sports Archery Team placed fourth in the state at a March competition in Cullman. Shown are team members Taylor Kirkham, Lizzie Cannon, Cade Kirkham and Will Yates.

The Marengo County 4-H Shooting Sports Archery Team placed fourth in the state at a March competition in Cullman. Shown are team members Taylor Kirkham, Lizzie Cannon, Cade Kirkham and Will Yates.

Marengo County’s youth have a new option for extracurricular activities.

The Marengo County 4-H Shooting Sports teams have started in full swing, just competing in their first two competitions in March. Currently, there is an archery team and a BB gun team.

Both teams competed in state competitions and fared well, despite being short on team members.

“We finished fourth in the state at the archery competition in Cullman,” said Beth Yates, the county extension agent over the teams. “Our kids really competed. Three of them had sighted compound bows, and one was using one of our stock bows, and we came in fourth in the state.”

The BB gun team finished third in the state at a competition in Anniston, and earned a spot in the Daisy National BB Gun Competition in Rogers, Ark.

The Marengo County 4-H Shooting Sports BB gun team placed third in the state competition will compete in the Daisy National BB Gun Competition in Rogers, Ark. Shown are team members Will Yates, Jordan Sturdivant and Lizzie Cannon.

The Marengo County 4-H Shooting Sports BB gun team placed third in the state competition will compete in the Daisy National BB Gun Competition in Rogers, Ark. Shown are team members Will Yates, Jordan Sturdivant and Lizzie Cannon.

“The top three teams from each division qualified for the Daisy competition, and we did it with three team members,” Yates said. “You can have up to five on a competition team.”

Yates said the 4-H programs are free for children ages 9-18.

“We want to continue to grow this program,” she said. “To be on a competition team, you have to participate in practices and be active in 4-H for three months leading up to a competition. This is a nice alternative to traditional sports. Everything is free to join. We have bows for those that don’t have them.”

She added that the team members in fourth through sixth grade meet once a month, usually on the second Monday of the month, and the team members in seventh through twelfth grade meet once a month, usually on the third Thursday.

Practices are held at the Marengo County Extension Office in Linden, which is in the former National Guard Armory building.

“There’s a large room that we’re able to shoot from 10 and 20 meters,” Yates said. “It’s a great space for us to practice.”

She added that the goal for the program is to continue to grow and add not just members, but also more shooting teams.

“Right now, we have a grant that will allow us to buy more bows, targets and a ballistic net,” she said. “We have to get funding for it, but we want to add a pellet team and a .22 rifle team as well. We have the facility, and we have people signed up to be trained as volunteers.”

Yates said anyone interested in joining or volunteering can come to the Extension Office at 2400 East Coats Ave. in Linden to sign up. To be a volunteer, one must pass an extensive background check through Auburn University and go through some paperwork to become a trained 4-H volunteer.

The teams are open to anyone ages 9-18.

For more information on the teams, contact Yates at (334) 295-5959.