The Utah Scholastic Clay Target Program wraps up the season with shotguns and awards
The Utah Scholastic Clay Target Program (UTYESS) ended its season this past weekend with the Utah State Youth Championships. Youth competed in Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays. Following the Sporting Clays competition on Sunday, June 3rd, the youth and their families gathered for free lunch, and then over 280 year-end awards were handed out totaling more than $8,000. During the 2018 target year, UTYESS saw participation from more than 160 student-athletes from all over the state ranging from fifth grade to college senior. In Utah, there are 7 official UTYESS teams supported by 10 Utah Gun Clubs from Logan to Saint George. UTYESS also invites teams from surrounding states to come and compete with Utah for Out-of- State awards.
Twenty-six High School Letters representing 16 Utah High Schools were awarded as part of the USAYESS independent lettering program. To earn a letter, athletes need to maintain a pre-determined GPA in high school, maintain attendance at practices and competitions, achieve the required scores in shooting, and earn the NRA Distinguished Expert award. One-hundred-thirty-nine of the awards were part of the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. The courses of fire in the qualification program are designed to take shooters from beginning skill levels (Pro-Marksman and Marksman) through intermediate levels (Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, and Expert) up to the nationally recognized skill level and pinnacle of the program, Distinguished Expert. Jim Reardon, Utah’s Field Representative for the NRA Foundation was on hand to announce the awards and pass out various items donated by Friends of NRA. “This is why many of us support the Friends of NRA, this the future of shooting sports,” Neldon Groo, Chairman for Utah Valley Friends of NRA speaking about the number of NRA Marksmanship Qualification awards that were awarded on Sunday.
UTYESS is funded in large by fundraising efforts conducted by the teams throughout the year. Perpetual funding is also available through the MidwayUSA Foundation’s Team Endowment Program. The MidwayUSA Foundation Team Endowment Program gives a community the ability to financially support a competitive youth shooting sports program. Teams grow their Team Endowment through fundraisers and donations. Thanks to generous donations from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, 100 percent of each donation goes to team endowment of a donor’s choice. Each team can then request a grant of 5 percent of their endowment balance once each year. Currently, UTYESS teams have $1.1 million in endowment accounts held at MidwayUSA Foundation, providing an annual grant of nearly $54,000.00 for Utah’s youth shooters in the UTYESS program.
Additional support comes from the Friends of NRA and the NRA Foundation. Nearly $13,000 was provided to the state and the Skyline X team in Spanish Fork from the NRA Foundation in 2018. This money was used by Skyline X to purchase shotgun ammunition. Each participant on the team had shotgun shells provided to them in competitions and were awarded shells when meeting fundraising goals. This is a huge cost reducing benefit to the families on the team.
For more information on how you or your student-athlete can get involved in a youth shotgun shooting team in the UTYESS program, visit utsctp.org/teams or call (385) 323-0815.
NRA_Awards: Cache Valley Crushers team recipients of NRA Marksmanship Qualification awards stand for photos by an NRA banner with their certificates during the awards ceremony on June 3, 2018.
Heads or Tails: Wasatch Wing & Clay coach Kirk Horinek lead the athletes in a game to determine who wins a shotgun during an awards ceremony on June 3, 2018.