I grew up in Macon, Georgia where hunting and fishing has always been a way of life. I was introduced to shooting sports by my father at a very young age. He taught me about ethics and gun safety as we chased quail and dove in South Georgia. My love for the outdoors grew as I learned to enjoy the outdoors and all it has to offer. My father inspired me to love everything about outdoor sports – the sport itself, the challenge it involved, and the fellowship with fellow hunters. After losing him in April of 2009, my goal is to be and advocate for the outdoors and pass the tradition on to younger generations. My father’s love for the outdoors sparked my interest in shooting sporting clays. It doesn’t have seasons and the targets are always there.
In 1997, a friend took me to a local skeet range for the first time. I shot a 23, 24, and 25 straight his first three rounds. My friend thought I might have a knack for the sport, and needless to say, I was hooked. In 1998, I joined the NSCA shooting 400-500 registered targets. In 2003, I started shooting again in Hunter’s Class. I won the Quail Unlimited in Savannah, Georgia, where they awarded me an NSCA membership. I was placed in A Class after my first 300 targets. In 2004, I won the National Wild Turkey Federation shoot in A Class punching in to AA. In 2005, I won the National Wild Turkey Federation shoot punching into Master.
In 2006, I had a major reality check, and he learned that if you want to compete at the Master Class level you have to take it seriously, practice often, and learn from your mistakes. Never having taken formal shooting lessons, I resolved to take this sport as trial and error. If you miss, try something different. If you break it, remember what you did. I try to keep it as simple as possible. When you are not smiling, remember you’re supposed to be having a good time.
Several years ago, I made the switch from a Beretta automatic to a Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter. The transition was pretty easy because my Beretta shotguns were set up with high ribs. The K-80 also has a high rib which I think helps you see the target clearer. Three weeks before the 2009 Tennessee State Championship is when I got the new gun. I shot about 500 rounds through the gun before the tournament. I shot a 99 in the preIim. I think two chokes makes a world of difference. I shoot Pure Gold chokes, and they are as good as any chokes I have ever shot.
I practice and shoot Wednesday afternoons at my local gun club. They have a 50-target tournament each week called “Skeet and Eat.” It is a great time getting together with friends shooting and eating steak. I also shoot every Saturday and Sunday whether it is at a tournament or practice rounds. Keeping a gun in your hand as much as possible and being familiar with that firearm is one of the keys to success in shooting sporting clays. You have to have the desire and perseverance to want to win at a higher level.
I am very fortunate to have a loving wife who understands my passion for the sport and supports me every step of the way. She doesn’t get to travel with me to every tournament because she is at home with our daughter Kade. When I win big tournaments, they make signs and post them in the front yard to show me support. Hopefully, my little girl will also love the outdoors. She just recently took her first fishing trip and caught her first fish. I can tell she is going to love outdoor sports!