By Daniel Thompson

Dead Eye Shooters Team takes aim at national hardware in Arkansas


Jacob Misener

Hunter Boydston takes aim at a target last week during one of the Dead Eye Shooters’ final practices before their departure for Arkansas this week.

The Kimball Dead Eye Shooters are no stranger to the National Competition. This week, they will return their with their eyes on the prize.

“The Daisy competition takes place in a convention center in Rogers, Arkansas, which is the headquarters of the Daisy manufacturing company. They have this in a hotel, and it takes place over about four days. We have families that are attending. There is no entry fee for the competition. Daisy provides us the entry fee, and they actually give us $1,000.” Nicole Snyder, Dead Eyes Coach, said.

According to Dead Eye Shooters’ Jaren Winstrom, the road to nationals took a lot of effort on the kids’ part.

“We had to go to state. We qualified second in state for the BB gun, and our air rifle team also qualified second in state. We’ve done about six months of shooting to practice for this,” Winstrom said.

For the BB gun competition, the shooters use a Daisy 499 model rifle which needs to be cocked with each shot in order to reload. According to shooter Brody Copeland, this method serves to help participants with their concentration.

“It’s not like some BB guns where you load it in the side and then you just keep on firing without loading it. You actually have to take your time and load it and concentrate on your target,” Copeland said.

For the air rifle portion of the competition, which is a little more advanced than the BB gun portion, the shooters use a sporter rifle as opposed to a precision air rifle, according Madie Snyder.

“The sporter rifles are more basic. They don’t have a higher cheek plate. They don’t adjust. They go off of CO2 and compressed air,” –Madie said.

However, the Dead Eye Shooters do not only focus on learning to shoot well, but they also spend a great deal of time learning about gun safety, according to Nicole Snyder.

“One of the things they are required to do is to take a test on gun safety. That is part of the competition. It counts as much as one of their targets. In addition, every year I require the kids to go through a two night safety program,” Nicole said.

This portion of the competition and the program appears to be the most important to Snyder.

“When we get the opportunity to go to nationals, it really gets some other kids pumped up to get in there. One of my philosophies is that if we can get them in there at the beginning, and they can get those two days of gun safety then we’ve done our job,” Nicole said.

The safety aspect of the program also seems to translate to the kids in a way, allowing for the experience to not only serve to keep them out of trouble by giving them something to do, but also to give them confidence in their ability to defend themselves, according to shooter Hunter Boydston.

“I shoot a .22, and before I started this, I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. It feels really good. I feel safer. When we go to my house, there are a lot of coyotes and all kinds of stuff, and coyotes will rip my dogs to shreds. It makes me feel like I can better protect them and provide for my family,” Boydston said.


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