- Last Updated on 07:49 AM 10/03/12
- BY Tiffany Hudson
Most parents’ cringe at the thought of their children holding a firearm. Robert and Elizabeth Hudson embrace it.
Siblings Robert and Jessica Hudson recently competed and won in a national competition of the National Rifle Association Civilian Marksman Program.
The two compete often, nearly every weekend using mostly high-powered rifles, although every now and then they use a pistol or shotgun.
Robert spends at least 12 hours each week at the shooting range, and his sister spends a little less time due to other obligations like soccer.
“I started when I was 12 years old,” said Robert.
His father collected rifles, but when they had Robert, he put all of them away.
“When he was about 7 years old he became fascinated with guns…We found a 4-H program because they are heavy in, and we would eventually use it as a tool to raise our kids,” said Robert’s father.
With the strong structure and discipline of the program, Robert’s little sister, Jessica, would soon join. Jessica, 13, began competing when she was 11 years old.
“They were brought to the range in 4-H and began in 4-H,” said Robert’s father.
Robert however practices more because he is trying to get his scores up for a scholarship, according to his father.
During a competition, each person is given two minutes to get ready and is judged depending on the type of event.
A typical day of competition begins at 4:30 a.m. when the Hudson clan wakes up, having everything they need already packed and by the door. They depart around 5:30 a.m. and usually get to their destination around 6:30-6:45 a.m. The young shooters then find out with whom they’ll be partnered, and the day long event gets under way.
“It’s a tremendous physical event that turns into mental, the focus has to be tremendous,” said Robert’s father.
According to Robert, in local competitions approximately 40 participants compete, where at the national competition over 1,000 participants compete.
The now 16-year-old Robert, who in 2010 was named the youngest civilian sharp shooter, proclaims the organization has helped him with problem solving and organization.
“If a problem comes up, you try several different things and look at different aspects to overcome the problem,” he added.
The rifle competitions are usually held as all day events on or near a military base.
“We’ve met some Vietnam veterans and heroes with some remarkable stories,” said his father.
According to Robert, the more experienced shooters will offer their assistance during a competition. It’s not much of a spectator sport; if you’re there, you are volunteering to do something.
The competition is not kept by score but rather the personal best or the high shooter of the day, who will leave with bragging rights.
“They give out medals of some type, state competition gives a plaque, but it’s mostly for bragging rights,” said Robert.
The Hudson family believes the program isn’t advertised enough and is currently working with 4-H to bring more people and education to the program in Southern Virginia.
The father-son duo are both coaching at the new clubs in Boydton and Chatham.
“We have an active program here, we just need volunteers,” said Robert’s father.
For more information on how to volunteer for the 4H-shooting club, contact Sonya Furgurson at the 4-H extension office at 476-2147.