The rain held off until the end of the day, meaning 44 shotgun sports competitors, shooting for more than 60 sponsors, were able to finish the annual Joe Young Memorial Shotgun Tournament, hosted by the Ashe County Wildlife Club on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The number of competitors and sponsors were close to club records, which is considered an achievement in a tough economy. All of the money raised by this year’s tournament goes to completing the clubhouse, in front of which 30 rifle bays will face a new 300-yard rifle range with a high clay backstop.
Tony Johnson was the overall winner with a score of 91 out of 100 skeet and sporting clays. Mike Stephens had the highest score in Men’s Class A (most experienced shooters) with 90 out of 50 skeet and 50 sporting clay. Men’s Class B winner was Curtis May with 77 clays. Arlen Bard was winner of Men’s Class C with 67 clays.
Pat Elliott won the Ladies category with 72 clays. Krystal Foster won the Youth category with 82 clays. Krystal’s score resulted in a lot of good natured grumbling at the club’s monthly meeting as the female teenager beat most of the adult men participating in the shotgun event
“Krystal beat most of us out there. In fact, she placed ninth overall, just eight clays away from the best overall score of Tony Johnson’s 91 clays,” said Danny Laurence, the Ashe County Wildlife Club’s Joe Young chairman.
“But that is really what we like to see; youth getting involved early in the shooting sports. Young people like Krystal, and another young lady, Mick Blackburn, who finished second with 76 clays, and Dylan Howell, who finished third in the Youth category with 67 clays, are literally the future of shooting sports so we welcome it when they learn how to handle firearms safely – and when they beat us men who have been doing it for a long time.”
The Ashe County Wildlife Club features trap, skeet and sporting clay ranges, the 300-yard rifle range and a pistol range. Membership is $100 per year with lifetime memberships available. New members pay $125 to join, then renew at $100 per year.
The Club supports the 4-H Shooting Sports Club, and is the range used for practice by several area law enforcement agencies.