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Juniors shoot to state’s top prize at Rock Eagle

Screven County’s Junior green team shot the lights out at the 2014Project S.A.F.E. Modified Trap competition in Rock Eagle this past Saturday, taking first place in the junior team category.
Screven sent 10 seniors and 12 juniors to the state competition, with each group having two teams (two teams of five for seniors and two teams of six for juniors). They were joined by more than 1,100 other shooters representing 65 counties across Georgia.
The green team, which consisted of Bradley Martin, Michael Johnston, Griffin Smith, Ethan Bragg, Joey Haigh, and Wilson Boyd shot 118 out of 125 clays. The next few teams were all tied in second with 117 of 125 -- showing how close the contest was.
County Extension Agent Lauren Boykin said she was extremely proud of the 4-H Project S.A.F.E. teams Screven sent.
“We are extremely proud of these boys,” she said. “It’s a big thing, Project S.A.F.E. is more than just how well you can shoot. This group of kids, they really work well as a team together. They understand, no nobody shot a perfect score but they all shot strongly and that, together, put them above everybody else.”
The green team has at least two members who have had at least three years in the program and there will be four juniors going on to the senior division next year (that will lose four members to graduation).
“This team has a long way to go. They can continue growing and building on their skills,” she said. “We have a lot of young talent in our shooting program.”
The junior team winning shows their poise, Boykin said.
“This is just as much mental skill as it is ‘Yeah I can look at a target,’” she said. “It’s a mind game when you are standing on the line and there are 1200 people down that line watching you at some point. It plays with your head.”
Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun, and Education) teaches youth a curriculum in ethics, life-long vocational and avocational activities, and more. Boykin said the team is actually best at the education side of the program, versus the shooting.
Boykin acknowledges the 4-H program is expensive -- $250 per youth, plus the cost of ammunition and machines capable of throwing the clay targets mimicking doves. There are fundraisers constantly for the teams as well as other 4-H programs.
If anyone would like to celebrate Screven County’s success at the state level, Boykin said donations are accepted at the Extension Office on Rocky Ford Road near the Screven County Sheriff’s Office.
Juniors who competed this last weekend minus those already mentioned: Daughson Perkins, Katelyn Alvarez, Gage Reynolds, Justin Rowell, Scott Williamson, and Amanda Lee. Seniors who shot are as follows: Spenser Bennett, Wyatt Beasley, Mikayla Haigh, Bryce Johnson, Lonnie Bailey, Codie Toole, Caleb Weaver, Damon Chase, Stuart Dehoff, and Lucas Boddiford.