Wyatt Reece, 19, of Tetonia, returned home from Nebraska last week after a successful run at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, where he was ranked 12th overall in the country in recurve archery competition.
It was Reece’s second trip to nationals; he competed in the 2017 championship as well, but that year he was in the compound bow discipline. 4-H competitors can only qualify for nationals once per discipline. In recurve, the bow has limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung, whereas a compound bow uses a levering system to bend the limbs.
“He’s been shooting compound since he was four or five years old,” said Reece’s mother, Christy James Moser. “To make the switch to recurve and do as well as he did is really good.”
Moser and her parents have led the Teton County 4-H Archery Club for around nine years.
“My dad put up a range on their property for the club,” Moser said. “We had between 35 and 40 kids this year.”
Reece was one of three Idaho recurve archers to qualify for the 2020 nationals, but the event was canceled, so his eligibility carried over to this year. Over three days he participated in three different events: field, in which the archer shoots at targets set along a roving course; 3-D, which has three-dimensional animal targets that create different shooting scenarios; and FITA, a classic target range. While FITA is his favorite event, he did the best in 3-D with an 8th place finish. Out of 56 competitors from 19 states, Reece placed 12th overall.
“It was very competitive, but also very supportive as a 4-H event,” said Moser, who spectated the competition. “For each shoot you pair with different kids from other states, and everyone showed such good sportsmanship, both parents and kids.”
Reece, who graduated from Teton High in 2020, aspires to compete nationally at US Archery Team qualifying events; the country’s Olympics archery team is selected from the ranks of the top-rated team members.
In other shooting news, Teton County sent three club members to this year’s state championship in Boise in June: Tyler Sasche, Tehani Bowman, and Trysten Bowman, all of whom competed in compound bow and shotgun. Sasche placed 11th in shotgun.
This was the first year that local 4-H members have attended the state championship in shotgun; the shotgun club was only formed two years ago, and the group has struggled without a practice range in the valley. (Teton County is currently working through the NEPA process with the Bureau of Land Management to establish a range on public land off Ards Road.)
“We had a big learning curve to overcome with those kids to learn to shoot skeet and trap because we don’t have a shooting range here, so we had to drive to Idaho Falls to get the kids on a proper range twice before competition,” said club coordinator Tammy Sasche. “I was very happy with the kids at state.”