Donation offers scholarship to top shot in Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program

Student athletes considering participating in this year’s Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program have a new reason to sign up and build their shotgunning skills: the chance to claim a $1,250 scholarship as top gun in the Champion of Champions shoot that will be held in conjunction with the program’s state championship event.

The additional scholarship opportunity is possible thanks to the Homebuilders Association of Greater Little Rock. In November, they signed a five-year agreement to donate $2,500 each year to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation to support the scholarship. The remaining portion of the donation will be held in an annuity to continue funding the scholarship in the future.

AYSSP is a competitive trap shooting program created by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2007  for any student in grades 6-12. Teams practice on their own beginning in February, and then compete in regional tournaments held each weekend from the end of April through May. Teams and individuals who qualify through regionals advance to the annual state championship.

Jimmy Self, AYSSP coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says the contract will renew at the end of its five-year term unless either party opts to cancel it at that time, so the donation may very well support young shooters’ college goals for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve always been able to provide a scholarship to the top teams in the senior division at the state championship, but this will be the first time we can offer the top overall shooter a scholarship as well,” Self said.

According to Self, before this donation it was entirely possible for the best shooter in the whole program to get a trophy and a pat on the back, but no scholarship like the top overall team. In some cases, individual shooters have come to the state championship’s “Champion of Champions” competition from teams that didn’t even show up to the final weekend’s shoot.

“Usually the top shooter is on a qualifying team, but there are cases when the entire team could not make it to the competition day,” Self said. “We hope the added incentive helps motivate some of our young outdoors-oriented students to take up the sport and compete.”

Visit www.agfc.com/ayssp for more information on the program.

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