BY KARISSA MILLER
Just two years ago, Luke Chapin picked up a muzzle-loader rifle for the first time, simply aiming to have some fun.
Today, Chapin, 15, is a national champion in the sport, after winning the title at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship in Grand Island, Neb., this summer.
Not only did he represent Iredell County 4-H Trouble Shooters, but he was part of a 30-member team representing North Carolina along with fellow Trouble Shooters John Gray, 18, and Hannah Loftin, 18.
The 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships consists of nine disciplines with three events each.
Luke’s mom, Amy Chapin, said that she enjoyed seeing the camaraderie among participants from other states at the national championship, which was held on June 20-25.
She’s also proud of her son and said he’s able to stay calm under pressure.
However, Chapin admits he got a little bit nervous on the second day of shooting
“I got nervous after I saw how good I shot at 25 yards,” he recalled. “I was like ‘Oohhh!’ Then I started getting the tingles.”
Chapin shot muzzle loader with his teammate Gray.
The first day is a practice day. Muzzle-loading events included 50-Yard Bullseye, 25-Yard Novelty “Bottles and Haffner Critters Combo” and Rifle Silhouette.
Day 1 Results: The team placed second in the 50-yard competition and Chapin was sixth individual.
Day 2 Results: The team placed third in 25-yard and Chapin placed second for individual.
Day 3 Results: The team placed first in Silhouettes and Chapin placed first for individual.
Overall results: The team placed first in Muzzle Loading and Chapin was first as the individual.
Teams from 13 different states that competed in this event.
“I was a little surprised,” Chapin said. “I thought someone out there would be better than me.”
Chapin said he enjoyed his first national championship. His favorite part was the fireworks and exchanging pins with other 4-H members from different states.
For Gray, this was his last year to compete at nationals and it was bittersweet.
“I have enjoyed it a lot. I plan on continuing shooting sports, probably just not competitively outside of 4-H,” Gray said.
His family made some good memories on the drive up to Nebraska, including watching the College Baseball World Series in Omaha.
Loftin, 18, competed in recurve archery at the national championship. Recurve archery events included field, F.I.T.A and 3D archery.
Day 1 Results: The team placed third
Day 2 Results: The team placed third.
Day 3 Results: The team placed second.
Overall results: The team placed second in Recurve Archery.
Teams from 13 states competed in this event.
The Troubleshooters placed second overall. This award recognizes states who have a three-person team that compete in each discipline.
Loftin said that the wind was a factor during competition. The winds were around 30 mph and gusts sometimes reached up to 60 mph, she said.
She’s proud of her team’s accomplishments this year.
“We were relieved and super excited when we beat Missouri. There’s a rivalry between North Carolina and Missouri,” Loftin said. “We always try and beat Missouri.”
Loftin said that it was fun to meet 4-Hers from different states, including Alaska, Colorado and Texas. She also helped take pictures of the top three teams each night as the national team ambassador.
Trouble Shooter team leader, national coach and national Recurve archery coach Neal Loftin summed up the experience in a few words.
“I’m proud of my young’uns,” he said.
About Iredell Trouble Shooters
Iredell County 4-H Trouble Shooters team was founded in July 2014 by Loftin. Loftin’s wife, Tonya Loftin, explained that it started out of a need to give kids an outlet who didn’t participate in traditional sports and it has grown from there.
Loftin’s daughter Hannah was a founding member, along with John.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/people/Iredell-TroubleShooters-Club/100008101515211/ for more information.