This year’s annual Buckeye Firearms Youth Shoot saw record breaking numbers with twice as many youth and volunteers in attendance.

Ninety-four youth spent the second weekend in September at Dillon Sportsman’s Complex in Nashport, Ohio earning various qualifications and learning the basics of firearm safety. In addition to the youth, over 30 adult volunteers and families participated.

The first youth shoot began several years ago as a Boy Scout activity, but with the support of BFA, it has opened enrollment to anyone 15-years-old and younger.

“We have scouts out here camping, we have 4-H groups camping, and we have kids who have just been brought out here by their families,” said Aaron Kirgingburg, BFA volunteer and coordinator of the event.

Student’s came to the weekend event with a wide variety of shooting experiences. Some had never handled a firearm, while others who had attended in previous years had acquired more advanced shooting skills. To accommodate these experiences, a few new shooting options were added this year.

On Saturday everyone who attended spent some time in the classroom learning about the proper use and handling of firearms.  From there they moved to the ranges where they could shoot trap or rifle. Those students who had more advanced firearms skills were also able to practice shooting skeet and handguns.

Youth earned several awards including NRA Winchester Marksmanship shields and rockers, and shotgun and rifle Boy Scout merit badges. In addition, first, second and third place trophies were awarded to those who excelled in their various shooting disciplines.

Most who attended the event chose to camp out at the complex and take advantage of a warm bonfire and a chance to participate in nighttime trap and skeet shoots. Several families attended the event, and said that they wanted to use the opportunity to help their children become more comfortable around fire arms.

One attendee, Mande Perkins spent the weekend with her son Jarrod and said that as a gun owner, she felt it was important for her son learn all he could.

“My favorite was definitely watching how proud he was when he got everything in the bull’s eye,” Perkins said. “It’s got to be every mom’s dream seeing how proud her child is in achieving things like that.”

For another parent, Bill Rutter, the weekend was not only a chance to work with his son on shooting skills but an opportunity to teach his children to value the Second Amendment.

“I wanted to learn a little bit more about firearms safety with my son, and also I’m recently a concealed carry holder, and I believe in supporting the Second Amendment,” Rutter said.

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Photos by Andrea Jolley

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