Syren pro-staffer Emi Smith (pronounced Amy) had just arrived home to Montana, fresh off an Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) competition in Tucson, Arizona, and we caught up with her to chat about what she’s doing these days and also, about 4-H Shooting. Emi is passionate about two things, it appears: improving her own scores and helping others to learn how to shoot.
She’s looking forward to stepping back on the range to compete in Montana in March – when the thaw begins. She said, “There’s an opportunity to shoot registered targets every weekend here, but I like to shoot every other weekend. Then I have some recoup time in-between and I can do some other things that I like, such as camping or golf.” She also just signed on as a team member with Rhino Chokes. “They are working wonderful in my Syren Tempio,” said Emi.
When April rolls around, you will find her teaching a six-week course on shotguns for 4-H kids in her community. This component of her life started back in 2009 when she was working as the youth development coordinator for the Montana State University Extension Office. At that time, her interest piqued for shotgun sports. She attended 4-H state leader training on shotguns, which included safety (#1), cleaning, ammunition facts and tips for how to teach. The training also included time on the range, which included stance, mounting a shotgun, point of impact and more basic fundamentals for the shotgun sports.
“I wish I’d had this opportunity to learn more about the shotgun sports when I was young. It’s a lifelong sport, and it’s a sport anyone can do. I just want to give that opportunity to youth,” she said.
4-H Shooting Sports
In the series that she teaches, ages range from 12 to 16. For some of the kids, it’s an annual refresher course and some have taken the instruction at least three times. “We always go through the safety portion from day #1. Even though they may think it’s repetitive, you can’t be too cautious when it comes to shotguns, and for two weeks we’re in the classroom. Then, we go out to the trap club [only type of shooting in her area].” Last year, she took her students to a skeet club that recently opened.
“Some of the kids might not be good at sports at school, and some are, but it’s a chance for them to be good at a sport, and in a sport that they can do forever. It’s great to see their excitement. My thrill is to see them succeed at something that is special,” added Emi.
She said that in her travels, in the ATA world, she has seen youth striving at a fast pace. “I wish I could go back 30 years!”
In her community there are a dozen kids involved in 4-H Shooting. Emi remarked, “The kids in our community are doing this for recreational purposes. For the kids that come to participate in my series, it’s something else they can do and they don’t have to think about school. They just come and enjoy it.”
As for support, she said, “Most of the time, it’s the dads that help. For the kids in our group, their parents shoot in the local trap league. Hopefully, later on, maybe the kids will start going to the league with their parents.”
Emi and the Tempio Trap Gun
As for Emi, she’s moved on to train and compete with the Syren Tempio Trap combo, which arrived after her match in Tucson last year. Previously she competed with the Syren Elos Elevate and the L4S semi-auto. She said, “The opportunity came to shoot this combo. It took a little while to get used to it, but it’s been the most amazing experience, switching over to the Tempio Trap combo.”
She added, “I’ve achieved with this gun several goals that I didn’t think I’d achieve so quickly. I credit some of it to the gun, because of the consistency of it.” She said that earlier, she chose to shoot the other Syren guns because she also wanted to shoot some sporting clays. She is glad, though, for competition purposes, she is now on the Tempio Trap gun.
Teaching Older Shooters, Too
“I probably came on the Syren pro staff at the worst time, in the spring of 2020 when the world started going crazy with COVID. But, in the past year, I’ve helped with several ladies’ clinics with the one of the Syren/Caesar Guerini dealers. It’s been a new experience meeting ladies of all ages – some of them had never even held a shotgun, and some might be upland bird hunters and had never shot at targets before. It’s been a really great experience, knowing that there are so many people out there wanting to learn other disciplines of shotgun shooting.”
“I love seeing the excitement in the shotgun world. I love to see other people have success.”
Discover more about 4-H Shooting Sports here.
Learn more about youth shotgun sports and what’s available in this country.
Discover more about Syren shotguns.
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*This article was originally posted in our column on WomensOutdoorNews.com written and edited by WON Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird.