Shooting star

By Ron Burtz

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Recent Custer High school graduate Jesse Mills will compete in the 2019 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in two events shooting .22 caliber pistols. Here on the shooting range, Mills wears shooting glasses designed to block the vision in his left eye, which helps him keep both eyes open while focusing his dominant eye on the target.

Eighteen-year-old Jesse Mills of Hermosa has been pretty busy lately, what with graduating from Custer High School and all, but he says he needs to hit the range in the next few weeks to prepare for the last big shooting competition of his 11-year 4-H career. 

Mills qualified for the 2019 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships to be held June 23-28 in Grand Island, Neb., where he will compete against other shooters from around the nation with his .22 caliber pistols. 

Two years ago when Mills competed at Grand Island against shooters from 32 states, he placed third overall for air pistol.

“I’ll be shooting two different kinds of pistols down there,” said Mills, “a semi-automatic one for paper targets and a single shot for silhouette.”

Mills comes by his talent naturally, as he comes from a shooting family. His parents, Larry and Vickie, competed nationally and internationally in shooting sports before he was born and his older sister, Sarah, has been shooting archery since she started 4-H at the age of 8. 

Inspired by Sarah’s success in 4-H archery, Mills started shooting bow and arrow when he began 4-H at the age of 8. 

Mills graduated from archery to air pellet pistol about three years ago and more recently moved up to .22.

He says with graduation and all the bad weather recently, he hasn’t spent as much time on the target range as he probably should have, but he hopes to step up his practice time between now and when he leaves for Nebraska. 

This is Mills’ last year of shooting with 4-H, but he hopes to participate in shooting sports well into the future.