It isn’t everyday that someone from our area places first in the nation.
But that’s exactly what Colton Pierce and his family were smiling about at the Troy Junior Sportsmen 2019 Annual Banquet held on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Troy Sale Barn.
Colton was honored as the 2018 Individual Champion of the Senior Division during the 2018 National Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). He placed first in the muzzleloader and hunter safety examination events and second in the hunter safety trail event. His team finished overall second in the nation.
“Our grandson, Colton, has been in the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge for several years,” said Gary Pierce. “Most every year he comes out on top of the events. This past year’s event was in Mill Cove and at the awards ceremony he kept getting recognized for events. Then when everything was done they announced the overall winner of all events – Colton!”
“I’m overjoyed to have been involved with this program (YHEC),” said Colton. “It’s taught me many life skills.”
Colton went on to tell of his appreciation for all those who have helped him over the years he was involved with YHEC, including Jeff and Laurie Castle, Darin Rathbun and Tim Wilcox, among many others.
The Troy Junior Sportsmen event on Saturday started with a welcome and blessing followed by a dinner catered by the Northern Tier Center Food Production and Management Class.
Representative Clint Owlett then presented the awards, including a House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Citation and an American flag to Colton for his outstanding achievement.
“He is to be commended for his continuing commitment to athletic excellence,” said Owlett. “And he has truly become an invaluable member of his school, his community and this Commonwealth.”
All participants in the 2018 YHEC were recognized as well as the “Shooting Stars” – those who gave their service and support behind the scenes.
The banquet ended with a gun raffle. The Henry Golden Boy single shot 45-70 was purchased from Up in Arms in East Smithfield.
“They’re great working with us,” said Darin Rathbun, president of the Troy Junior Sportsmen board.
Laurie Castle was the lucky winner of the Golden Boy, which was laser engraved with the Troy Junior Sportsmen logo on one side and the American flag on the other.
In addition to the gun, jars of Ray’s Gun Wax, donated by Dick Walsh, was raffled and won by Chuck Plant, Derek Beach and B.J. Robson.
Walsh had also donated a Savage 22 rifle with scope to the Troy Junior Sportsmen.
The Troy Junior Sportsmen should not only be commended for their skills, but also for how they represent themselves in the community.
“I have talked to the manager of the Mansfield McDonald’s,” said Gary Pierce. “He always recognizes YHEC kids because they’re so polite.”