AP NEWS

South Dakota student to join shooting sports team in college

February 25, 2019

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (AP) — Belle Fourche High School senior Emma Singer recently signed a letter of intent to compete on the Concordia University shooting sports team.

The Seward, Nebraska, college’s Lutheran roots first attracted Singer’s attention. Opportunities to earn a degree, grow her faith and continue in shooting sports factored in her decision. She plans to study biology and go on to become a veterinarian.

Singer sets her future goals one step at a time. They include focusing on becoming a better shooter, seeing where she is and competing against others.

“From there, I’ll make bigger goals, hopefully. I just want to make sure to have fun, and keep my head up no matter what,” Singer told the Black Hills Pioneer.

This is the next step on a journey that started in Yuma, Arizona. Her brother started in this endeavor a year before she did.

“I saw that he was having a lot of fun shooting, and I’ve grown up shooting my whole life, pretty much,” she recalled.

Singer was an eighth-grader when she began in shooting sports.

“I wanted to compete in that because I love competition,” she said. “I’ve been in competition sports for most of my life.”

The Singer family moved to Belle Fourche the summer of her sophomore year. She recalled it was initially difficult to continue shooting here, because there were not any clubs.

Living in Arizona enabled her to shoot year-round. She went out to shoot in South Dakota when the weather permitted and joined 4-H shooting sports.

Singer joined the Bronc Bird Busters club in Belle Fourche last year, when she was a junior. This group represents the high school and was in its first season.

“It was pretty amazing being able to help get that program up and started,” Singer said. She added the club is teaching many youngsters about gun safety, having a good time shooting and creating friendships.

Last year’s national competition stood out for Singer, who recalled team members rented a cabin in Michigan. She said it was also fun to spend time with teammates and cheer them on during competition.

Singer has shot pistols but prefers shotguns and rifles. A CZ All-American Over/Under 12-gauge is her gun of choice. She purchased it at 4-H nationals and used a Mossberg Over/Under shotgun before that.

The biggest challenge for her centers on the mental side of things, especially while competing. She said she tends to find herself counting her hits and misses.

She said she quickly learned the shooting sports basics, as she has shot for most of her life.

The Bronc Bird Busters season is a nine-week program, with two trap-shooting sessions per week. Shooters may also qualify for state and national events.

A shooter calls out “pull” to release a brightly colored clay pigeon into the sky. The shooter takes aim and fires a shotgun in hopes of breaking the disc.

“Outside of that, I just go when I can to shoot,” she said.

Her competition goals are to do her best every time. If she struggles, she tries to put that behind her and get a clean slate for each target.

“I try to adopt the mindset of, once it happens, to forget about it,” Singer said. “I can look at the score afterward, so I try to not think about the score at all while I’m shooting.”

She doesn’t worry about how others are doing and focuses only on each target ahead of her.

Singer calms herself and stays quiet when she is almost ready to shoot. She stays away from others so she can clear her mind and focus on the upcoming task.

Her mood at an event is a combination of nervousness and quiet confidence.

“I know I have to have confidence going into it, or else I will not do good,” Singer said. She added she has had days, like at large shoots, where confidence has been lacking.

“I enjoy the chance to be able to go out and shoot guns. The fact that I can go out and do that with friends and family: it’s just a good time.”

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com