Brady Cardwell knows he’s a good shot. The 17-year-old got to test just how good when he recently competed at a national shooting event for 4-H.
A senior this fall at Morris Area High School and a member of the Rendsville 4-H group in Stevens County, Cardwell competed in the 19th 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships June 24 through 29 in Grand Island, Nebraska. Minnesota 4-H youth were selected through an application process after competing in the 2017 Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational, said the University of Minnesota Extension office.
Cardwell was selected with 21 other Minnesota 4-H youth to compete at nationals.
“It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before,” Cardwell said of his first time at nationals. “There were many other kids from Minnesota in different divisions. We traveled and stayed as a Minnesota team in Nebraska. I met a lot of new people from many different states, too.”
One new person that Cardwell met was a teen from Texas.
“I told him up in Minnesota, we go ice fishing. We go out on the ice, drill a hole, and catch fish. He was so shocked with the thought of even walking on ice,” Cardwell said. “I told him we pull fish houses out there with our trucks and he couldn’t believe it.”
There were about 115 participants per shoot and Cardwell participated in sporting clays, skeet, and trapshooting. Cardwell finished in 74th place and hit 67-out-of-100 targets in sporting clays on day one. On day two, he shot skeet and finished 80th with 80-out-of-100 targets hit. On day three Cardwell participated in trapshooting and hit 94-out-of-100 targets to finish in 14th place overall.
“Skeet was the hardest for me and very challenging. I’ve never done it before,” Cardwell said. “Sporting clays was also new to me and pretty (challenging), but I could get used to it because of the hunting I do.”
The easiest shoot was definitely trapshooting, Cardwell said.
“Trap is like second nature for me,” Cardwell said. Cardwell has been on the high school team since seventh grade and will be a senior next fall.
Cardwell’s love for shooting sports comes from his love of hunting. The two go hand-in-hand, he said.
“Sporting clays and skeet help tremendously (with hunting),” Cardwell said. “Sporting clays simulate different hunting situations, it helps you be more prepared in the field. Skeet is really fast and challenging. It would help the best in morning dove hunting and occasional teal while out duck hunting. Those birds fly really fast and these shoots help you by keeping you quick.”
Cardwell plans on competing at nationals again, but not in trap, skeet, or sporting clays.
“You can’t do the same thing twice. I’m planning on going (to nationals) two more years, once in hunting skills and once in archery, if I’m chosen,” Cardwell said.
Hunting skills competition includes shooting sporting clays, archery, .22 rifle and a written portion about land management, Cardwell said.
Cardwell will compete in hunting skills in early September at the 2018 Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational in Fairmont.