Nebraska Youth Air Rifle Team Places Runner-Up At Nationals, Wayne Native Takes Second Individually

Nebraska Youth Air Rifle Team Places Runner-Up At Nationals, Wayne Native Takes Second Individually
Left to right: Kaitlynn Pavel (York), Shelby Carr (Alliance), Wyatt Hebbert (Ashby), James Simpson (Wayne) and Coach Karel Hebbert (Ashby)

GRAND ISLAND – A member of the Wayne County Sharp Shooters joined three others representing the Nebraska air rifle team at nationals this past week.

The 2019 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships began last a week ago on Sunday, June 23 with registration and equipment check-in while the following day on Monday was made for practice, team pictures and opening ceremonies.

James Simpson of Wayne; Kaitlynn Pavel of York; Shelby Carr of Alliance along with Wyatt Hebbert and coach Karel Hebbert of Ashby represented the national team. James is the son of Jeff and Colleen Simpson of Wayne. The air rifle competition featured 31 different states being represented from across the country.

Competition lasted from Tuesday, June 25 – Thursday, June 27 with final awards being handed out last Friday. Events were held at the Heartland Public Shooting Park; Pinnacle Bank Expo Center at Fonner Park; Heartland Events Center and Cowboy Action Range at HPSP in Grand Island.

The Nebraska team placed runner-up overall in the nation with 29 points right behind Louisiana with 30 points in the air rifle category as James Simpson took second place individually across all competition in the aggregate score following all three days.

Simpson recorded 2.8815% points; Carr took fourth with 2.8195%; Pavel finished 14th (2.6429%) and Hebbert 36th (2.2628%).  Cole Cook of Georgia placed first with 2.8886%.

Louisiana won the air pistol, air rifle and smallbore rifle on their way to winning the overall championship sweepstakes with 249 points over North Carolina with 233 points.

Other categories that Nebraska had a team compete in were shotgun (10th – 21 points); smallbore pistol (14th – 17 points); muzzle loading (16th – 15 points) and compound archery (21st – 10 points).

The air rifle competition included three-position shooting on June 25 for 20 shots prone, 20 shots standing and 20 shots kneeling where the Nebraska team placed first. On June 26, the competition was all standing for 40 shots and the Nebraska team placed first again in this discipline. The last day of the competition was Silhouette shooting of metal targets of chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams at varying distances and the team placed 2nd.

The national team would like to thank Elkhorn Valley Bank and Trust and Corby Schweers as well as State Nebraska Bank and Trust and Matthew H. Ley for supplying the team shirts for the entire competition and believing in them.

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming all had teams represented.

The 2020 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships will be held June 21-26. Visit for more information.