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Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports Closes Another Great Season

By Marvin Penncock, 06/09/21, 10:45AM MDT

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PLEASANT GROVE, UT – The Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports program (UTYESS) ended another season this past weekend with the annual Utah State Youth Championships. This year’s event saw over 1,400 entries and threw over 137,000 targets.

In a similar format to last year, this year the program’s consisted of a 100-target Skeet tournament, a 100-target preliminary Trap tournament, 100-target Doubles Trap tournaments, a 50-target 5-Stand tournament, a 200-target Championship Trap tournament, and a 100-target Sporting Clays tournament. In addition to the Utah student-athletes, participants this year also came from Nevada, all excited to compete alongside Utah’s student-athletes. Today, UTYESS reports that it is tracking scores for 370 youth in the program statewide, continuing to make Utah the largest USAYESS program in the nation.

In addition to the preliminary and championship events, UTYESS brought back a battle of the coaches and sponsors, night games and music on Friday night, and a banquet Saturday night in honor of those earning high-school letters in shotgun sports. Due to this year’s event falling on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday’s awards banquet also included a special bagpipe tribute to past and present military and first responders.

Following the Sporting Clays and the final Trap competition on Sunday, the youth and their families gathered for lunch provided by UTYESS, and then a finale award and recognition ceremony where over $11,000 in trophies were awarded.

UTYESS is not only a shooting sports program for youth but also encourages and motivates the youth in the program academically. This past weekend 125 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 achieve pre-determined scores in tournaments.

The UTYESS program also awarded the Utah Rookies of the Year award and the Utah State Team awards.

The state team athletes had 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 within the next few weeks. The winners of the Utah State Team and Rookies of the Year are posted on the organization’s website. Images of the Utah State Team poster will also be available online when the poster is finalized.

Two scholarships were also awarded by UTYESS at the Utah State Youth Championships, as part of the ACUI Clay Targets Challenge.

On hand was also vendors and supporters of UTYESS. Robbi Vincent, CEO of FutureU Athletics was signing student-athletes up in College Shooting Sports Recruiting. This tool allows students to enter their academic and shooting profiles and gain exposure to over 100 colleges with shooting programs. Onsite was also a recruiter from a college out of Missouri.

 

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 financially support a competitive youth shooting sports program. Teams grow their Team Endowment through fundraisers and donations. Thanks to generous donations from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, 100% of each donation goes to 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 first quarter 2021, UTYESS had $1,674,556.03 in endowment accounts held at MidwayUSA Foundation, providing an annual grant of $83,727 for Utah’s youth shooters in the UTYESS program.

To help grow endowment accounts, three cents from every competition target thrown in the UTYESS State Youth Championships will be donated to endowment accounts held at MidwayUSA Foundation.

Support directly from Larry and Brenda Potterfield has also been outstanding. Between 2012 and 2021 Larry and Brenda Potterfield have given Utah just over $1,000,000.00. Additionally, Larry and Brenda Potterfield have provided over $90,000 in endowment matching and awards. More has come from non-cash grants that are issued via the MidwayUSA Foundation. In 2021 Larry and Brenda Potterfield have announced a donation of $25,000 for operating costs and team endowment matching.

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

None of the leaders of UTYESS are paid. They do what they can for the love of the sport and especially for the love of the youth in our program. UTYESS coaches are sometimes putting in more than forty hours per week to ensure the future of Utah’s youth.

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
  • Jon McKeon, Wasatch HS Claybusters, Heber
  • Jenny McGowan, Skyline X, Spanish Fork
  • Richard Nielson, Trigger Therapy, Ephraim
  • Dusty Wiseman, Milford Young Guns, Milford
  • Paul Niemeyer, Wild Goose Clays, Richfield
  • Kyson Muhlestein, Cedar City Hot Shots and Cedar Clay Breakers, Cedar City

UTYESS is also governed by an Executive Committee. The success and progression of the program 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 four officers:

  • Mike Stuart, President, rivertonshootingclub@gmail.com
  • Jenny McGowan, Executive Vice President, skylineshooters@gmail.com
  • Trent VanDam, Executive Advisor, trent@diamondtreeexperts.com
  • Brian Beard, Executive Administrator, brian@utyess.org

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

 

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 scholastic level throughout the State of Utah.  Our purpose is to provide training and guidance to the youth shooting programs of Utah, with the goal of developing 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 utyess.org or call (385) 323-0815.

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, and educates youth, and their families to firearm safety, shooting sports and wildlife conservation and habitat. For more information, visit www.usayess.org

About The MidwayUSA Foundation
The MidwayUSA Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) charity, founded by Larry and Brenda Potterfield, working to sustain the shooting sports industry by providing permanent, long term endowment funding to over 3,000 youth shooting teams. Every donation made is 100% tax deductible and supports the mission to help communities and organizations raise funds to support their youth shooting team. For more information about the MidwayUSA Foundation and the Team Endowment Account Program, please visit midwayusafoundation.org or call (877) 375-4570.