5,000 shotgun shells put Hayden 4-Her on track to national competition | SteamboatToday.com

5,000 shotgun shells put Hayden 4-Her on track to national competition

It's two or three boxes every night he has an official practice, Hayden 4-H teenager Richard Hallenbeck said, so that's 50 or 75 shotgun shells expended in one day on his quest to make it to the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship.

Then, he often will shoot two more boxes by himself working when the club doesn't have practice, so 50 more shells.

What's it add up to?

"Oh wow," he said Thursday, a day before heading out to compete at the national championships in Grand Island, Nebraska. "I'd say I've gone through well over 5,000 this year."

That's a lot of shooting, but Hallenbeck said it paid off earlier this year when he qualified for nationals for the first time.

"I'm very excited. It will be a good time," he said.

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He’s one of four Northwest Colorado shooters to make the trip. Eli Ellis will shoot small-bore rifles for Moffat County, and Angela Hill will shoot air rifles for Moffat. Fellow Routt County shooter Kendra Halder will also shoot small-bore rifles.

Hallenbeck qualified in shotgun and will compete in three different disciplines with that gun. There's trap, skeet and sporting clays.

They all have their perks, he said, but skeet, featuring a low target and a high target thrown from either side to cross in front of the shooter, is his specialty.

"I'll definitely try at the other disciplines," he said, "but skeet is my best. I sure hope I can win it. Our team is going to be really good this year."

Hallenbeck, 17 years old and heading into his senior year at Hayden High School, has been shooting shotguns with the 4-H club for about six years. He just missed a chance to advance to nationals a year ago. That's what sparked his intense training this season, those 5,000 shells.

He didn't want to miss his chance.

He pointed to some help from local sponsors, including Neste Auto Glass, Custom Color, Bear River Valley Co-op and individuals in Steamboat, Hayden and Craig.

"I play football and really like to go hunting," he said. "That's about all I do."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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