Competetive Target Shooting

OVER THE YEARS, the Junior and High School Rodeo Association has expanded their competitions beyond the mainstream rodeo events to include some not typically seen in a professional arena, ranging from competitions in working cow horse to cutting, reining, ribbonroping and the like.

The goal is to include as many boys and girls in bona fide rodeo sports and beyond. A national organization with state and provincial associations, the overriding mission statement for high school rodeo is to promote the sport, promote the highest type of conduct and sportsmanship, preserve western heritage, offer an opportunity for continuing education and maintain the highest regard for the livestock. As well, high school rodeo is a major source of scholarships.


Competitors in .22-calibre rifle target shooting (prone position) are, from left, Tate Beierbach, Trigg Pittman and Rylan Poirier

One of the more exciting off-grounds events attracting competitors is shooting. The competitions are run under the eagle eye of a Range Safety Officer. Target Shooting with .22-calibre long rifles requires a Zen-like concentration, with a strong focus on breathing technique, control, and follow-through. A singular sport, one of the more difficult techniques for a youngster (or an oldster, for that matter) to master is to learn to relax and focus, skills that are highly applicable to living.

Most provinces offer the top four qualifiers from the Jr. High and High School Divisions spots on the National Team. In some provinces and at the annual NHSRA Finals, there is also an added component of Trap Shooting or Skeet Shooting.

Western Canadian provincial school rodeo associations currently offer target shooting with .22-calibre long rifles and trap shooting with shotguns. So, if your kid can’t ride, can’t rope, but can shoot like Buffalo Bill or Annie Oakley, they can join the Junior or High School Rodeo Association in your province, compete on a national level and be eligible for life-changing educational scholarships.