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Cedar Hill does well at state

MONTGOMERY —  It may have a Russellville address, but Cedar Hill Trap Range is nestled deep in the backwoods of Belgreen.

The range has been around for a few years now, and local parents and youth have come together to form the Cedar Hill Smokn’ Guns trap shooting team.

“Overall we’ve been here five years,” said Cedar Hill coach Wade Willingham.

“Some of the kids have been shooting for eight or nine years. Logan [Taylor] started shooting at the age of five.”

The team competes at the local, state and even national level, and between the different members trophies and other accolades have been brought back at each level of the sport.

Cedar Hill was once again in competition last weekend when they travelled to Mathews, a small community on the outskirts of Montgomery.

The group competed in different competitions sponsored by the American Trap Association (ATA) at Dixe Trap Range, but on Saturday the AIM (Academic Integrity Marksmanship) event was held.

“AIM is a part of ATA,” Willingham said.

“It is set aside just for the children anywhere from old enough to shoot to college. It goes through the age of 23.

“They have four categories: pre-sub, sub-junior, junior and senior. It all goes by age group. 11 and under is pre-sub, 12 to 14 is sub, 15 to 19 is junior and 19 to 23 is senior.”

Cedar Hill may have only been around a few years, but already they have put together teams that are the favorites to win certain age groups in the state AIM competition.

The Smokn’ Guns all told had seven shooters place in the AIM competition.

In the sub-junior age group Logan Taylor took first, Levi Hargett was second (a shoot off was needed to decide the placement) Cole Willingham came in third and Caleb Mays took fifth.

In the pre-sub age group Mason Bragwell came in first and Landon Hill got second.

Hunter Smith came in third in the junior age group, and Caleb Mansell finished fifth.

As a team the group is put in the age division as its oldest shooter.

Taylor, Hargett, Willingham, Mays and J.T. Morrow combined to take first in sub-junior, Bragwell, Hill, Smith, Cheston Tucker and Porter James came in first in juniors, and Mansell, Tristen Stevens, Mac Booth, Jace Gallagher and John Isaac Wilson finished second in the junior age group.

“It makes you feel good, it really does,” Willingham said.

“We have a good group of kids, and I can’t take the credit for it because they pretty much do it on their own. “A lot of it is to do with their parents. I sent out a thank you letter for the kids after we finished at state thanking them for wearing the name Cedar Hill Trap Range, and I thanked the parents for getting them to practice on time.

“This is a very good group of kids.”

The Smokn’ Guns have worked hard to get o the level of ability the shooters possess, and now with the AIM state shoot under their belts, the kids will now look forward to the national shoot at the Grand in Sparta, Ill.

“It takes a lot of practice,” Willingham said. “We practice every Tuesday night.

“Each shooter goes through two boxes of shells at a time (50 shots), and Mr. [James] King and I watch them, and they know if they need any help to raise their hand up and we’ll come out and see how we can help them.”