Local team competes in National BB gun shooting competition

Sam Richardson of Helena fondly remembers his trip to the national BB-gun championships in 1978.

Richardson set two national records as a 13-year-old in his first trip to the national competition.

Richardson, now coach of the Brock’s Gap Training Center BB-gun team in Hoover, shares his memories with youthful gun enthusiasts, including his son Sammy.

Richardson led a seven-member team into the 45th annual Daisy National BB-Gun Championship Match, held July 2-4, in Rogers, Ark. The group, which qualified for the national competition after winning the Alabama 4-H state tournament, included Shelby County natives Sammy Richardson, Selina Curren, Andrew Ham, Rose Levine, James Kenright, Sam Shroyer and Gage Caine.

The Brock’s Gap team finished 23rd out of 43 teams in the national match.

“We did real well,” Richardson said. “That puts us in the middle. That’s pretty good for us.”

Five out of the seven shooters set a new personal record in either a set position or overall score, Richardson said. Ham had the highest individual finish with his silver medal in the prone position. Ham had a near-perfect score of 99.073 in the prone position competition.

A team under the leadership of Richardson at the Brock’s Gap Training Center has won the past eight state tournaments and competed in the national tournament in seven of the past eight years.

Richardson said most team members mostly come to Brock’s Gap for gun safety training and end up gaining an interest in competition.

“It’s really about teaching gun safety,” Richardson said. “Some of them stay on and develop marksmanship skills. Some have even gone on to shoot in college.”

The national competition also featured a gun safety competition. In addition to marksmanship skills, the team was also graded on a written gun safety test.

Richardson was pleased with his team’s results on the written test. The highest individual score was a 98 and the lowest was an 88, which Richardson said was an improvement from last year.

The championship match included a practice day and opening ceremonies on Friday. The team competed Saturday and Sunday before closing ceremonies wrapped up the festivities on Sunday evening.

The age limit for competition at the national tournament is 8-15. The youngest member of the Brock’s Gap team is 9-years-old and the oldest member is 14-years-old.