Saturday, July 26, 2008

Show-Me State Games 2008

The Show-Me State Games are underway in Missouri. This three week event began last weekend and covers pretty nearly the full spectrum of sports from cycling to shooting to archery to triathlon.

This year my son, who has enjoyed trap shooting for a couple years now, was encouraged by the owner of one of the local rod and gun clubs to enter the games this year. I was more than happy to help make it happen, and he shot in the Youth Male division (16 and under).

The trap and skeet events use the "Lewis Classes" in which all the contestants shoot, and when the final results are in, they are separated into classes by score. Each class has its own set of medals. The upside of this is that the top shooters don't take all the medals, allowing the less experienced contestants a reasonable hope of placing in their class. Ironically, though, this often leads to a situation where if a contestant broke one less target, then he or she would have taken the gold in the next lower class instead of not getting a medal in the higher class.

Well, Liam broke 35/50 targets which resulted in a bronze medal in the "C" class (there were four classes today) -- not bad for his first time in a structured competition. He was in a squad with four adults and they welcomed him and treated him as a equal. It's nice to see how all the shooters -- male, female, youth, adult -- competed together. The importance of adult role models cannot be overrated here or in any other aspect of life.

Liam has one more year in the youth division, and at age 17 he will be considered an adult for competition. We watched some of the other squads shoot and were impressed with the level of skill shown by the men and women. The "A" class for adult males had a 5-way tie for first, all having broken 49/50 clay targets. The tie-breaker is the longest string of broken targets, and the gold medalist had broken 35 in a row. If you do the math on this, the range of tie-breaking strings is 25-49, so the difference here is very slight.

The squad on the firing line.

He shattered the target, but out of the image frame...

A tired young man

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