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State Tech hosts clinic for fast growing sport

State Technical College of Missouri recently welcomed 21 of Missouri’s youth for a Civilian Marksmanship Clinic held at the STC Activity Center on July 14-17. 

Young men and women from across the state participated in the three day clinic to improve their skills as a three-position air rifle shooter.   Three-position air rifle shooting, which is becoming more and more popular nationwide, is a sport where competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions – prone, standing or kneeling.

John Leinberger, Civilian Marksmanship State Junior Director for the state of Missouri, states that three-position air rifle shooting is the fastest growing form of shooting sport competitions for youth of high school age or younger.

“Young people are being exposed to air rifle shooting more and more through their involvement in organizations such as 4H and Boy Scouts,” said Leinberger.

Garrett Spurgeon, age 16 of Canton, Missouri, started shooting when he was in 4H.  Now, a Junior Olympics Gold Medal Air Rifle winner, Spurgeon has set his sights even higher.  “I’m hoping to do this in college,” he said.  “I love this sport.  It’s something I could do forever.”

Forever is no stretch of the imagination, according to Leinberger, who knows of shooters in their seventies.  “It really is a life time sport,” he stated. 

Leinberger also advocates that young women become involved in the sport as well.   “It’s a sport where women can be shoulder-to-shoulder competing with the men.”

According to Terry Thompson of Ozark, Missouri, air rifle is a suitable sport not only for young men but also for women.   Thompson, the coach for Ozark High School’s Army Junior ROTC air rifle team, has been teaching air rifle for years and has seen a number of young women do well in the sport.

Leinberger and Thompson both agree, depending on the type of shooting an individual engages in, the cost of the sport is very minimal.  

Sporter Air Rifle, which was the focus of the clinic at STC, is less expensive and designed for new competitors or those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense.  “Sporter Air Rifle is a great way for us to introduce young people to the sport,” said Thompson.

“It’s suitable for the young person who might have been introduced to it at 4H or some other organization and now they want to learn more,” said Leinberger.

During the STC clinic, shooters were taught by staff comprised of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes from the top college shooting programs in the country.

The clinic was directed by Natasha Dinsmore of West Virginia University and her team including Kasey Meyer of Murray State University; Paul Miller of West Virginia University; and Kellie Zurowski, University of Tennessee – Martin.

Dinsmore and her colleagues have been traveling all summer, all over the country facilitating these air rifle camps and clinics.   “It’s a lot of time away from home, but I love it,” said Dinsmore.  “I really do enjoy teaching kids about this sport and how they can make themselves even better at it.”

Dinsmore, as well the other members on her training team, started shooting at a young age and now compete on a national level with other collegiate shooters.  

STC President Dr. Donald Claycomb was honored to have the camp participants on campus this summer.   “These young people are an outstanding, very well mannered group of people who based on their behavior here are a credit to their schools, their families and to young people in general,” Claycomb stated. 

According to Claycomb, STC will be having an increase of air rifle activity on campus this year.

The CMP was established in 1903 by President Teddy Roosevelt to enhance the marksmanship skills of civilians through competition.  The camps and clinics were established shortly after the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and have expanded to reach over 500 juniors and their coaches across the country every year.

Visit www.odcmp.com for information about the CMP.  For information regarding shooting programs in Missouri contact John Leinberger, Civilian Marksmanship State Junior Director for the state of Missouri, at coaches02@gmail.com.

With more than 35 programs, State Technical College of Missouri is Missouri’s only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission.   STC has campuses in Linn, Mexico and Jefferson City.  STC prepares students for profitable employment and a life of learning.    

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