ELLERBE — Forbush High School and a Stanly County middle school took top honors at the 2016 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament on Saturday.
The annual pre-collegiate tournament, sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Hunter Education Program, allows youth to showcase outdoor skills and demonstrate safety techniques they learn in the program. The state tournament is held annually at the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex in Richmond County.
Forbush High School won the senior division with an overall score of 3,843 out of a possible 4,000 to win the tournament for the second year in a row. North Stanly Middle School won the junior division with an overall score of 3,658.
Youth competed in team and individual categories for rifle, shotgun, archery and orienteering on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.
About 600 students from 60 teams participated in this year’s state tournament. They advanced from their regional tournaments, held in March in nine districts across the state. Total attendance, including spectators, staff and competitors, at the state tournament was estimated at 2,000.
“It was another great show of competition, safety and sportsmanship from competitor to coach,” said Tim Lemon, the commission’s shooting sports coordinator. “It’s great to see the months of hard work and dedication to a skill-set come to fruition on such a beautiful stage. Everyone involved deserves to be congratulated.”
Western Harnett Middle School was awarded the Fred Rorrer Trophy for sportsmanship. The trophy honors its namesake, a longtime hunting education instructor with the commission who passed away in 2010. Rorrer is remembered for his dedication to conservation and leadership in the youth tournaments. He helped North Carolina teams and individuals to reach the top levels of national competition.
Teams are organized within public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA. More than 3,000 students from 330 schools across the state competed in nine district tournaments held in March. For more information, call 919-707-0031 or go to www.ncwildlife.org.