Nestled among the foothills of Mount Rainier, you'll find the scenic town of Eatonville, Washington. The population is nearly 3,000 strong, with some of the best sharp shooters in the state.
The Upper Nisqually Sportsman Club has become a second home for Eatonville High School students Dylan Corey and Chace Loudin. This past May, they competed in the Washington State 4-H shooting championships.
"When you are competing, and you see all the other shooters on the line, your heart is racing. You really don't want to miss any birds, you really get focused and your blood starts running,” said Chace.
After shooting rifles for 5 years, both boys switched to shotguns, where they compete in skeet, trap and sporting clay.
"I like the competitiveness, lots of good shooters that you go up against, and they always make you be on top of your game to win. It's a lot of fun to shoot with friends. Come out here, have fun, and it's also rewarding to watch the target break when you hit it,” Dylan said.
At the state championships, Dylan was in position to bring home the title.
"It was nerve-wracking, because you’re going up against people you've never seen, so you don’t know if they are good or not. And then you get up to the line, and it's you against yourself at that point and your nerves are running, which makes it even harder,” he said.
But the tension didn't seem to bother Dylan. He shot a perfect round of trap and skeet. By the end of the day, he took 198 shots and hit 160 targets.
He won the state championship by just one clay pigeon.
"It was a great feeling. I knew I was near the top, but to hear my name called in front of everyone, was a great feeling,” Dylan said.
Chace finished 5th and both qualified to compete at the national championships in Nebraska.
"It was great placing 5th in State. I totally didn't expect that during my first year of shotgun,” he said.
Instructor Stan Hudson said skeet shooting is about much more than good aim.
"It's not only teaching the kids how to be good marksman, it's more than that. It's about responsibility and it's about safety. Safety with firearms of any kind and it's about respect. Respect for the firearm and the sport.”
Hudson said the 4-H shooting teaches his students valuable life lessons and helps them connect with nature.
In just over a year, the 2020 Summer Olympics get underway in Tokyo. Skeet shooting has been an Olympic event since 1968, and now Dylan and Chace are taking aim at representing their country on a global scale.