By Pat Jenkins
Dylan Corey thrives on the competition of competitive shooting. And he’s doing it at some of the highest levels of the sport.
Corey, a 14-year-old Eatonville resident, is among the competitors in the 2017 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships June 25-30 in Grand Island, Neb. at Heartland Public Shooting Park. Youth from across the country will test their skills against the best in the U.S. in archery, air rifle, air pistol, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, shotgun and muzzleloading.
The journey to the nationals began for Corey in the 4H shooting sports group hosted at the Upper Nisqually Sportsman’s Club. He and other kids 8 to 19 years old who gather there twice a month learn to safely handle a firearm while gaining the experience of shooting a .22 rifle.
The club has hosted the state tournament in May each of the last seven years. This year, he earned a trip to Nebraska by finishing third in the senior level in his first season of competing at that level. The top four finishers advanced to the nationals. Another Upper Nisqually shooter, Jordan Golphenee of Rainier, qualified as the state champion.
Like his fellow competitors, Corey made the grade through dedication and his love for the sport. His usual practice routine of every other Sunday recently increased to two times a week as he prepared for the nationals. Competition and camaraderie go hand in hand in making all that practice worthwhile for Corey, who has been a competitive shooter for four years.
“I love the competitiveness and how challenging it is to perfect my technique to perform to my highest level,” he said. “I enjoy meeting kids my age at competitions and talking about our love for the sport. I also like the benefits when all my hard work pays off.”
One of his instructors is his father, Gordon, who with one of the five other instructors, Randy Garoutte, lead the group that includes Corey and Golphenee.
Gordon notes Dylan’s success has come from drive and hard work.
“He is goal-driven,” Gordon said. “Each year he has placed in the top three,” including first place in the intermediate category last year.
Described by his dad as “fairly shy unless he’s on a sports field or shooting range,” the honor student plays on youth baseball teams, was on the track team in middle school, has begun turning out for the Eatonville High School football team, and is looking ahead to college. He wants to attend Michigan State University, hopefully on a scholarship from shooting or sports. His career goal is to work in sports medicine or as a forensic scientist specializing in ballistics.
“I love spending time with my dad. He’s the person who taught me everything,” Corey said.
4H officials say the goal this week in Nebraska, as with all of the organization's programs, is the development of youth through leadership, youth-adult partnerships, and community connections.
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