There’s been a small explosion in Routt County’s 4-H shooting sports scene as a bevy of kids 9 and older head to state competition in a few weeks.
And it’s coaches like Deb Holmes in Steamboat Springs and Dave de la Mater in South Routt, who, despite their real jobs, make it a point to be there for kids.
“Sawyer (Vietanen) qualified for state, and he’s just a little bitty guy. He uses my hunting shotgun,” said Holmes of 9-year-old Sawyer, who is going to state during his first year in 4-H shotgun competition.
Shotgun consists of three types of shooting: skeet, trap and sporting clays.
Sawyer’s dad Darrin Vietanen helps Holmes coach the shotgun team, and Vietanen’s oldest son Mavrick is the junior Routt County overall shotgun champion.
“I started shooting when I was 5 years old,” said 12-year-old Mavrick. “I went hunting with my dad when I was 3. He used to carry me on his back through the woods.”
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Holmes said about four years ago there were just a few people on the rifle and shotgun teams, now there’s about 20. In fact, she often uses her own guns to teach the children and even lets them use her shotguns in competition.
“It’s a very expensive sport,” Holmes said. “The past few years the Routt County Rifle Club has generously paid for the rounds, but our squad is growing big.”
In South Routt County, archery coach Dave de la Mater and .22 coach Rick Kirby have also seen their teams take off. De la Mater’s son Chase won Routt County’s compound bow championship as a junior last year, and this year, he took the top spot as a senior member — those older than 12.
“It’s grown immensely,” said Coach de la Mater. “It starts with kids getting…
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