Relaxed and confident, local 4-Hers take aim at nationals | SteamboatToday.com

Relaxed and confident, local 4-Hers take aim at nationals

Kendra Halder takes aim while practicing to compete later this month at the 4-H shooting national championship event in Nebraska. She's one of four shooters heading to the event from the region.

Life, Kendra Halder explained, can be complicated.

The 18-year-old graduated from Soroco High School last month and is excited about what awaits her in the fall — class at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

An equine science program awaits, and she's excited.

Still, day to day, week to week, pressure mounts in the life of a teenager.

Nothing makes it go away quite like one particular hobby.

"Shooting, it de-stresses me," Halder said. "I know I can just go out and shoot, and it completely clears my mind of anything that's going on during the day. Then, I can come back to what I was doing."

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That said, she'll face just a bit of stress this weekend. Halder's one of four Northwest Colorado shooters heading to the 4-H Shooting National Championships.

She'll compete in small-bore rifles. Richard Hallenbeck, also from Routt County, will be on the state's shotgun team. Eli Ellis will shoot small-bore rifles for Moffat County, and Angela Hill will shoot air rifles for Moffat.

The four-some will head out Friday for the competition, set annually in Grand Island, Nebraska.

There are a series of competitions for each discipline including three for Halder and Ellis in small-bore rifles, where they'll shoot .22 rifles. One competition will challenge them to shoot from prone, kneeling and standing positions. Another requires they squeeze off five shots in 30 seconds. The last presents them with silhouettes at various distances, chickens at 40 yards, pigs at 60, turkeys at 77 and rams at 100.

Are the ram silhouettes, a football field away, in danger?

"Oh yeah," Halder said.

The biggest concern, she said, is a shooting jacket she wears. It's tight to minimize any shaking of her body, and because of that, and because it will all take place in June on the high plains of Nebraska, it will be hot.

She's not worried, however. She was 38th out of 91 shooters when she made nationals a year ago shooting air rifles. She was then first this year among Colorado shooters.

"This won't put much pressure on me," Halder said. "I've been there before. I'm a little nervous, but that comes with all big shoots.

"I just breath and relax and shoot. I know what I'm doing, so I just go for it."

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

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