MOULTRIE -- The South Georgia Youth Shooting Club continues to have its members perform well in competitions around the state.

The club, which practices at coach Mike Simpson's range on the Dunn Road in Hartsfield, continues to grow, with nearly 40 youngsters learning to shoot clays.

The program started several years ago with Simpson working with daughter Emma Simpson, who has gone on to become a member of USA Shooting's National Team in trapshooting.

Others from the community also began to practice there and have competed successfully at national events, including Jim Hancock, Abel Eubanks and others.

Eubanks, Clark Burroughs and Jay Wingate all competed at last summer's National Championships and Junior Olympics held in Colorado Springs.

And Eubanks joined Simpson in winning a gold medal at the National Championships.

Now young shooters from Thomasville, Cairo and Douglas are taking part in the program.

And Mike Simpson is improving his training facility. Work is currently under way to build a full international bunker, which will have 15 machines.

The young shooters are able to practice at the Simpson facility at night under the lights.

Plans also are for Abraham Baldwin College to start a shotgun team, with Simpson as its coach.

The South Georgia Buckmasters chapter raised money at its September banquet to help the local club and also is helping sponsor a "Step Outside" event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Simpson's range to encourage youngsters to learn to use their shotguns to hit clay targets.

The event is open to boys and girls ages 12 to .16. Mike Simpson and others will help lead participants through the basics of trap shooting.

The Step Outside event is in keeping with the club's mission of encouraging and promoting safe and proper sport shooting techniques.

Club organizers also hope to educate and train members in the value of sportsmanship and conservation.

Club members compete in USA Shooting, American Trapshooting Association and Scholastic Clay Target Program events.

Also helping sponsor Saturday's event are the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The club is trying to raise money for improved facilities, competitive shotguns, travel expenses, quality eye and ear protection, shells and clay targets.

Shooters have been practicing with the one wobble trap machine and two fixed machines that Simpson installed on the property behind his home. Those facilities are being significantly upgraded.

Simpson and wife Gloria have taken club members to a number of 4-H and other events throughout the country over the last few years.

For more information about the club or the Step Outside event, contact Amanda Burroughs at 985-6680 or Mike or Gloria Simpson at 941-2810.

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