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Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports Begins Another Record-Breaking Season

By Marvin Penncock, 01/28/21, 10:30AM MST


HURRICANE, UT – The Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports program (UTYESS), began its season with record-breaking attendance at the 2021 Season Opener, held January 23-24, 2021. The season opener had over 550 student-athlete entries in the 200-target competition, including Utah and Nevada participants. Statewide the UTYESS program has approximately 300 student-athletes spread across twelve teams.

Many of the student-athletes participate in UTYESS events for far more than just shooting opportunities. UTYESS is an academic program in the state of Utah offering a USAYESS independent high school lettering program. Last year, 97 high school letters were awarded. To earn a letter, athletes need to maintain a pre-determined GPA in high school, maintain attendance at practices and competitions, achieve the required scores in shooting, complete four service projects, and meet the other objectives outlined in the lettering program.

For first-year competitors, UTYESS offers the Utah Rookies of the Year award. The Rookie of the Year is awarded to a first-year competitor in each category: Novice, Intermediate, Junior Varsity, Senior, Collegiate, and Ladies. Besides attending the required number of UTYESS events, student-athletes must apply for the Rookie of the Year award and provide an athlete resume. Applying athletes are asked to submit information such as trophies, awards earned in UTYESS events and other shooting avenues, a brief description of what they enjoyed most during their first year of competition, and a short description of who inspires them to shoot and why.

UTYESS also offers a Utah State Team award. After attending the required number of UTYESS events, the athlete's scores are compiled, and the top five athletes in each category, a total of 25 student-athletes, are named members of that year's Utah State Team. The highest-scoring athlete in each category is named Team Captain. The earning this award have their photos taken and will be featured on posters in many of the gun clubs throughout the state of Utah, along with their name and shooting average in State Shoot literature. The winners of the Utah State Team and Rookies of the Year are also posted on the organization's website.

UTYESS is funded in large by fundraising efforts conducted by the teams throughout the year. Perpetual funding is also available through the MidwayUSA Foundation's Team Endowment Program. The MidwayUSA Foundation Team Endowment Program gives a community the ability to support a competitive youth shooting sports program financially. Teams grow their Team Endowment through fundraisers and donations. Thanks to generous contributions from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, 100% of each donation goes to the team endowment of a donor's choice.  Each team can then request a grant of 5% of their endowment balance once each year. At the close of 2020, UTYESS had $1,510,600 in endowment accounts held at MidwayUSA Foundation, providing an annual grant of $75,500.00 for Utah's youth shooters in the UTYESS program.

Support directly from Larry and Brenda Potterfield has also been outstanding. Between 2012 and 2021, Larry and Brenda Potterfield have given Utah just over $900,000.00.

Support for Utah's youth shooting teams also comes from numerous other sponsors and supporters. Some of these include the NRA Foundation, ACUI Clay Target Program, Vista Outdoors, Federal Premium, Browning/Winchester, Scheels, Sportsmans Warehouse, the ATA and AIM programs, White Flyer, and countless others that are supporting individual teams and, in some cases, individual athletes.

UTYESS announced some changes in the leadership this year. Brian Beard has been named President of USAYESS, the national organization overseeing each of the state YESS programs, forcing him to step down from being President of UTYESS. Brian will still have a very active role in UTYESS and continues to serve on the Board of Directors as the Executive Advisor. He will continue doing many of the high-level day-to-day tasks that he has adopted, including continue to serve as the Utah State Partner for MidwayUSA Foundation.

Mike Stuart has been named President of UTYESS.

Kyson Muhlestein has been named Director of Collegiate Shooting Sports and Events Scoring.

UTYESS Team and their head coaches are:
JR Nostrom, Cache Valley Crushers, Logan
Tony Campbell, Ogden Clay Dusters, Ogden
Steve Savage, Phoenix Clay Target Shooting Team, Farmington
Mike Stuart, Riverton Shooting Club, Salt Lake City
Kirk Horinek, Wasatch Wing & Clay Youth Shooting Team, Cedar Fort
Jenny McGowan, Skyline X, Spanish Fork
Richard Nielson, Trigger Therapy, Ephraim
Paul Niemeyer, Wild Goose Clays, Richfield
Dusty Wiseman, Milford Young Guns, Milford
Kyson Muhlestein, Cedar City Hot Shots, Cedar City
Kyson Muhlestein, Cedar Clay Breakers (Collegiate Team), Cedar City
Brad Jolley, Purgatory Orange Crush, Hurricane

An Executive Committee governs UTYESS. The program's success and progression have relied heavily on and will continue to rely on the Executive Committee and their oversight. Their combined experience in shooting sports and business management has proven beneficial in the growth of UTYESS. The UTYESS Executive Committee consists of five officers:

Mike Stuart, President,
Jenny McGowan, Executive Vice President,
Trent VanDam, Assistant Vice President,
Dusty Wiseman, Executive Director of Southern Utah,
Kyson Muhlestein, Director of Collegiate Shooting Sports and Event Scoring,

This year, the 2021 youth committee is led by Grayson Stuart and Haylie Peay, with support from Kaleb Horinek and Anthony Shearer.

For more information on how you or your student-athlete can get involved in a youth shotgun shooting team in the UTYESS program, visit

About Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports

Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports (UTYESS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in Utah about wildlife conservation and firearm safety and promoting youth shooting sports on a competitive and academic level throughout the State of Utah.  Our purpose is to provide training and guidance to the youth shooting programs of Utah to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, respect, personal discipline, responsibility, citizenship, teamwork, and sportsmanship through regular practice and competition at local, state, and national events.  For more information on UTYESS or to find a team near you, visit


About USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports

USAYESS is a non-profit organization and the nation's only all-inclusive youth program, which introduces, grows, supports, educates youth and their families on firearm safety, shooting sports, and wildlife conservation and habitat. For more information, visit

Riverton Shooting Club explores the Sporting Clays Course at Purgatory Clay Sports. Sunday, January 24, 2021.

Ogden Clay Dusters prepare for a day of shooting clay targets.

The Wasatch Wing & Clay Youth Shooting Team breaking clays on the Sporting Clays course