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franklin county times

Smokin’ Guns have good showing

Contributed Pictured left to right are Caleb Mays, Tristen Stephens, Mason Bragwell, Cheston Tucker and Landon Hill of the Cedar Hill Smokin’ Guns first Presub team. The group won first place in Divsion 2 at the AIM Competition in Sparta, Ill., earlier this week.

SPARTA, Ill. — After the success the Cedar Hill Trap Range Smokin’ Guns had at the state competition in Montgomery, it was time to move on to the national competition, held each year in Sparta, Ill.

The Aim (Academics Integrity Marksmanship ) Competition, which focuses more on group events, took place on Monday and Tuesday. The Grand American (or Grand National) Trapshoot, which has more individual competitions, started on Wednesday and is still ongoing.

After the two-day AIM Competition was over, the Smokin’ Guns had one group and three individuals that had won accolades.

“We shot our AIM program, which was Monday and Tuesday,” sponsor Wade Willingham said.

“They had a carnival for the AIM Saturday and Sunday, then our group event was the next two days.

Our Presub (11 and Under) won first place in the second division, Mason Bragwell won second place in high overall Presub and Hunter Smith won third place in Division 2.

Logan Taylor won second place in handicap (shooting targets farther back than the first line at 18 yards) in the carnival on Sunday.

That sums up the AIM program. Wednesday started the preliminaries for the Grand National.”

Having that kind of success at the national level can be difficult considering how many opponents a shooter will find at such a large competition.

“It’s pretty hard to place with that many people competing against you,” Willingham said.

“The competitors are really good.

You always have the good with the bad, but everyone seems to be shooting really well up here this year.

There have been some good scores posted up here this year.

We had 21 kids compete throughout the AIM. I believe they really enjoyed it. There were 926 AIM shooters this year competing from across the U.S.”

Taylor, a 14-year-old who found himself the winner of $100,000 at last year’s Grand American after defeating adult opponents, has yet to repeat that success, but the competition is not over.

“Not yet,” Willingham said with a laugh. “That competition started on Wednesday, but he’s still in it (as of Thursday).”

With the success that Cedar Hill has had at the state and national levels, the group has no plans to stop competing in the events any time soon.

“I really enjoy it,” Willingham said. “I feel like the kids enjoy it.

It’s a time to get away from things and enjoy yourself for awhile, other than it being so hot.

We’ve been doing this for four years now, and we’re planning on continuing to go to it.

Last year our Presub came in second place at nationals, and it was the same way the year before.

We’ve had several individuals win trophies, and overall I feel like we’ve done really well.

I’m proud of the boys so far.”

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