The 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. One local 4-H member had the chance to experience it.
Dillon Romero, 17, of Cody journeyed to Grand Island, Neb., to compete with more than 1,000 other competitors from around the country. The event ran from June 23 to June 30. Competitors are only allowed to enter in any given discipline – archery, rifle, shotgun, etc. – once in their career. Romero went for shotgun, shooting for the Park County Sharpshooters.
“I’ve been shooting since I was 8 years old,” he said. “I started when I joined 4-H after we moved from Utah.”
Competitors are selected by applying to their state 4-H council and demonstrating previous success in project, community involvement and a desire to learn from the experience. Romero made the cut.
He was part of a team of four Wyoming shotgun shooters, made up of Remington Feree, and Jeffrey and Will Clark, all of Thermopolis. Once at the shoot, the teams were split into random groupings with shooters from other states.
“I shot with kids from Virginia and Colorado,” Romero said.
More than 30 states were represented at the shoot, which covered skeet, trap and sporting clays. His scores were 95/100 targets in skeet, 94/100 in trap and mid-70s in sporting clays.
“It was a positive experience, but I didn’t shoot near as well as I wanted to,” he said.
Romero did wind up in a four-way tie for seventh place in skeet, a position that added a lot of entertainment value for the audience.
“I wound up in a shoot-off with this kid from Virginia who I had gotten to be pretty good friends with,” Romero said. “It was pretty surreal because we had 50 or 60 people behind the line watching us. I had the chance to close the door on him but didn’t so he wound up knocking me out.”
Despite a finish he was less than thrilled with, Romero still valued the experience.
“I wanted to soak it all in,” he said. “You’re there to compete, but it’s so much more than that. You get to connect with people from all over the country.”