Franklin County students compete in sporting clays
By Brandi Miller for the FCT
Camron Burks and Colyn Humphres like a good challenge. Burks, an eighth grader at Vina High School, and Humphres, a freshman at Red Bay High School, both rise to the challenge academically at school, making good grades and being exemplary students. Both young men have taken the challenge of being the best in a sport that is being hailed as one of modern shotgun history’s most popular sports – sporting clays.
“Sporting clays is one of the hardest shooting competitions there is,” said Humphres. “Generally, the hardest part of any competition is trying to shoot at the skeet into and through the brush and trees.”
Burks and Humphres recently competed in a sporting clays competition at the NWTF Palmetto Shooting Complex in Edgefield, S.C., on a team with Walsh Nelson of Covenant Christian, seventh grade, and Peyton Flanagan of Muscle Shoals, seventh grade. It took the young men and their families six to seven hours to make the trip. Once there, they were given their shooting numbers, shooting times and course maps. They were also given the opportunity to shoot some practice rounds and view the courses, which consisted of 30-40 shooting stations on the south and north course areas.
The actual competition began Saturday, and each team member shot 100 rounds.
“The entire shoot was exciting,” said Burks. “Shooting targets and watching my team shoot is exciting. I loved watching the scores change and looking at my position on the scoreboard and seeing how our team placed. They had an app and a web feed, which kept you up to date on scores, which was the first we had experienced of live scoring.”
The course Burks, Nelson, Flanagan and Humphres competed on took around two and a half hours to shoot.
Both Burks and Humphres would like to see the sport grow and perhaps even, one day, be recognized by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, just as any other competitive high school sport.
A highlight for the trip for both Burks and Humphres was getting to meet an Olympic gold medalist in the sport, Vincent Hancock.
“I got to meet an Olympic sporting clay shooter, watch him shoot and hold his Olympic gold medals,” said Humphres. “He just returned from Rio and came out to support the National Wildlife Turkey Federation shoot.”
When the competition was over, the team had cash prizes and a donation for their endowment fund to show for their efforts. Burks also won a Mossberg 500. Scholarships are also widely available for shooting sports, including sporting clays.
“You can quickly gain from and make a career within the shooting sports realm if you are determined and make the effort to work hard and stay dedicated,” Burks said.
Burks and Humphres both said they would tell anyone interested in beginning the sport to not get discouraged and give up because this is a sport that requires a lot of practice, but to remember to have a good time.
Anyone interested in making a donation for this team can contact Tim Burks at email@example.com. Tim Burks said he would also like to invite any youth who might be interested in learning about sporting clays to contact him at the same email address as listed above.