For the second time is as many years, the Bandera County 4-H Shotgun Team was crowned state champions at the Texas 4-H State Games, which was held this year at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.
This year, the team had 24 competing in six different disciplines of competitions, shooting at a total of over 10,000 targets and hitting over 80% of those targets.
This year’s event started out on a sad note when it was learned our longest tenured coach, Mr. Mark Bonner, was hospitalized with a severe case of COVID-19.
Mr. Bonner is the only adult in the group who doesn’t have a child on the team and was a founding father of the team. However, everyone will tell you in all reality he has hundreds of children on the team as each and every current and former shooter gladly call themselves one of Bonner’s Kids!
His impact on the youth of Bandera County is beyond measure as he has literally made the difference for so many of our youth.
This year’s team adopted the hashtag #BustingClaysforBonner in his honor and had stickers made of one of his main sayings, “One Bird at a Time,” for their shotgun barrels.
Individual state champions were as follows:
Elle Vanderzee, in her first year shooting, brought home the Texas State Championship buckle in Junior Ladies American Trap.
Hayden Drefke in his first ever State Games beat the entire state of Texas to earn the Texas State Championship in Junior Open American Trap.
Clayton Lewis won the State Championship in Senior 2 Open International Skeet.
Kayli Beckham won two State Championship buckles in Senior 1 Ladies American Skeet and also in Senior 1 Ladies American Overall.
Individually, our other shooters were able to accomplish amazing results.
In the Junior age division, which features third through fifth graders, there were 62 shooters.
In this age group, our shooters were all first-time state competitors, and our shooters easily won.
Brody Moore shot a personal best 38 out of 50 in American Sheet to finish tied for ninth with Hayden Drefke. Drefke also shot his personal best scores in multiple event, taking second place in both Modified Trap and International Skeet.
Malcolm Black shot his personal bests in both American Skeet, 28 out of 50, and Sporting Clays with a 54 out of 100.
Colby Gonzales had a very strong week and finished ninth overall in International Skeet, his first time ever shooting it!
Jag Smith was an important part of the team and shot his personal best in American Skeet and Sporting Clays.
Elle Vanderzee really brought home the points, earning second in multiple categories: Ladies American Skeet, Ladies Whizbang, Ladies American Overall, Ladies Whizbang, and Sporting Clays.
In the Intermediate level, which features sixth through eighth graders, there were 116 shooters competing.
Billy Browning shot a 71 out of 75 in American Skeet to place 10th, and he placed 13th in Whizbang.
Ashton Robinson won second place with a 69 out of 75 in American Skeet and was 16th overall in International Skeet.
Lauren Meier took third place in Ladies American Skeet, third in Ladies International Skeet, third in Ladies Whizbang, sixth in Ladies American HOA.
In his first year of shooting, Brody Culak shot several personal bests, including a 26 in Whizbang and a 68 in Sporting Clays.
Also shooting in his first year was Cody Osborn, who shot his personal best of a 73 in Sporting and 52 in American Skeet.
In the Senior 1 division, which features freshman and sophomores, there were 141 shooters.
Longtime team member Presley Dorries took third in International Skeet, fourth in American Skeet, sixth in Modified Trap, and second in Sporting Clays.
First-time state competitor Mack Robinson shot several personal bests, including an 88 out of 100 in American Trap and a 70 in Sporting Clays.
Garrison Thomas also was competing in his first state games and shot personal bests of 85 in both American Skeet (85) and American Trap.
Coelton Trenklebach also is a long time member of the team, and he took second place in Modified Trap with a 48 out of 50 and tied for third in Sporting Clays with an 88.
Kayli Beckham had an amazing week finishing in second for Ladies Whizbang, Ladies American Skeet, and Ladies International Skeet.
In the Senior 2 division, which is comprised of juniors and seniors, there were 126 shooters.
Clayton Lewis tied for fourth in American Skeet with a 99 out of 100, and placed fourth in Sporting Clays with a 91.
Garrett Meier, who recently won the National 4H Shotgun Individual Championship in Nebraska, placed sixth Modified Trap with a 47, tied for ninth in American Trap with a 97, placed tenth in Whizbang and third in Sporting Clays with a 92.
Lukas Jackson placed fourth in Modified Trap with a 48 and fourth in American Trap with a 98.
Wyatt Lewis went out in his last State Games, taking fourth place in Whizbang with a 40 on a very tough course.
Ross Reynolds shot the best American Trap event of his life, hitting 92 out of 100 targets.
Tanner Kaples earned a tenth-place finish in Whizbang.
Long-time member of the team and new president Cooper Dorries shot a perfect round in American Trap, hitting 25 out of 25.
At the Texas State Games, Bandera County has won back-to-back state championships twice now: 2013-14 and 2019-21! The future is bright for these young shooters.
If your child is interested in joining this great group, please come to the 4-H kickoff August 31 to sign up!
Contact the Bandera County 4-H office for more information at 830-796-7755.
Jeff Jackson is the Adult Leader for the Bandera County 4H Shotgun Team.