The Louisiana State 4-H club captured its third shooting national championship in the last four years.
The group won its championship in Nebraska in June, less than a week after LSU Baseball captured its national title in Omaha.
In 2022, Louisiana 4-H came less than 2 points short of another national title.
“I’m the shooting sports coordinator for Louisiana in 4-H. I’ve been doing this for 16 years,” said David Bolt. “It’s been rewarding. It’s not been about winning because it’s taken us many years to reach this point. So many years, we could go up there, and we wouldn’t win a lot, but the trip is a good experience, and we’ve tried to build our program here after the national championships. It’s benefited us, and the kids are having a good experience.”
Bolt said 35 kids took the eight-day trip to Nebraska for the national championship. He said 33 of them earned either an individual or team medal.
Throughout the season, the team honed its skills at Bridgeview Gun Club in Port Allen.
“In each parish, all those kids come here to practice,” said Heath Morris, owner of Bridgeview Gun Club. “EBR is so big that they have to have a tournament here to fill their team. We hold the southern regional event in March. We typically have around 1000 kids for the event. They’re shooting archery, shotgun sports, etc. At Lamar Dixon, they do air rifle and BB and other competitions that are elsewhere. At our facility, during the whole week of the qualifying event, we will have close to 1,000 kids come here. It is a wonderful program that teaches these kids discipline, responsibility, and something they will use in the future. Whether it be hunting, fishing, or self-defense later in life.”
Morris said having kids use the facility was one of the biggest reasons he and his father opened the gun club.
“Having these kids come through just to use our facility and be a part of it and see them mature and learn something is so rewarding for us,” he said. “To see these kids and the parents put in the hard work. Many states compete in Nebraska for this championship. Louisiana, up until a few years ago, never won a championship. We’ve successfully won two back-to-back, finished second last year, and won this year.”
Bolt said another critical component to the team’s success is the volunteer coaches who give their time to help.
“They’re giving up their time and countless hours year-round and work with these all-star kids we are putting together,” he stated. “They formulate their own little plans, and they are successful. It’s rewarding to me that someone is willing to do that as a volunteer and spend those hours and days off their real job and come up there and experience those. situations.”