Paper Punchers Prepare for State Competition

Jessica Gonzales has her sight set on a target.

"To make it to state and reach higher in my goals," Gonzales said.

Gonzales started shooting last year with the Potter 4-H Paper Punchers. In only one year, she has cultivated skills for the future.

"These kids will learn how to take orders, how to be disciplined in their events," said Jim Younger, range officer. "And that's the main key."

For more than 50 years, the organization has been teaching kids lessons in rifle safety and responsibility.

"It transfers to their school work and the way they interact with other adults. We just think it is beneficial for them all around," said Jeff Tormey, VP of Amarillo Rifle and Pistol Club.

The proof is in each score sheet.

"Two young men, last week, one shot a 97 and one shot a 92," said Younger. "And it's just great to see them just beam because they go 'wow, we hit this.'"

For Gonzales, hitting the bull's eye is the equivalent of achieving her goals.

"It makes me feel stronger, like a lot stronger, accomplished, and braver," she said.

Making the team

The Indoor Rifle Shooting Club welcomes anyone ages 10 through 18. The club meets every Thursday night at 6:00pm for practice at the Amarillo Rifle & Pistol Club.

In order to qualify for the state team, you must compete in a district shoot set for this May.

Coach Rachel Rodgers says there are other benefits for the teens. Several local organizations provide scholarships to graduating high school seniors for their accomplishments in the sport.